How Your Parenting Style Affects Your Kids


Do you love your kids? Do your actions show you love your kids? How do your kids know? The way your love comes out in your parenting may actually be hurting your kids. So, what kind of parent are you?

I’m reading a great book on parenting called, Parenting with Love and Logic. In the book, effective and ineffective parenting styles are explored, as well as the three types of parents who use these styles. I have to admit what I have read so far has been very humbling, a little scary, but also very encouraging.

The parenting manual

I’ve heard people say there is no parenting manual. That when you become a parent there is no written resource that tells you what to do, how to do it, and why to do it. This implies that parenting is just one continuous shot in the dark. I disagree.

The parenting manual exists. It exists in in various sources of written and unwritten principles. The Bible is my go to source. In addition, there are tons of books (written resources/manuals) to provide insight into parenting principles. Parenting with Love and Logic is one of these resources.

Three styles of parenting

According to the book there are three main types of parents. Helicopter parents, drill sergeant parents, and consultant parents.

  1. Helicopter Parents. This parent revolves their entire lives around their kids. Like a helicopter they hover and then rescue their kids anytime trouble is near. They protect them from everything, including experiences their kids need which could lead to growth.
  2. Drill Sergeant Parents. This parent acts like a power hungry drill sergeant. They feel the more they bark and control things, the better off their kids will be. They want disciplined kids. The way they try to achieve this is constantly telling their kids what to do, and what not to do.
  3. Consultant Parents. These parents act as consultants to a degree. They ask their kids questions, and offer choices. They place the burden of decision making on the kids. While doing so, they establish options within limits, and explain the consequences (both good and bad) of their choices.

How each parenting style affects your kids

I don’t know if it is possible to be one type of parent all the time. You may be using pieces of each style, using one style more than the others. In doing so, being aware of each style’s impact on your kids is important. Let’s take a look.

  1. How helicopter parenting affects your kids. The helicoptered kid may appear to get certain “advantages” based on everything they received, and were protected from by their parents. But when they become adults the covering is removed, and they are unprepared to face those challenges themselves. Helicoptered kids will lack the character that is developed through struggle and perseverance.
  2. How drill sergeant parenting affects your kids. These kids may appear to know how to act. But it comes from constantly being told what to do versus choosing what to do. When they become teens they will be susceptible to peer pressure because they are used to someone else making decisions for them. Drill sergeant kids become followers and have difficulties making wise decisions.
  3. How consultant parenting affects your kids. These kids have developed strong character through dealing with challenges. Making good choices, bad choices, and facing the consequences has been a good teacher. They have experienced many learning opportunities when the “cost” was low. As the “cost” increases they will be better prepared. Consultant kids become responsible and self-confident kids prepared to face challenges waiting for them in the world.

No guarantee, but a better chance

Nothing in life is guaranteed. No parenting style, strategy, or method can guarantee your kids will be responsible, successful, or everything you hoped they would be. That is the ugly to parenting. However, intentionally choosing your actions and words when parenting your kids will help you and them.

No matter your current style or method, be intentional about your parenting. Ask yourself questions, seek answers, and give your kids the best chance to be responsible and successful when away from your parenting cover. Start by honestly answering this, what kind of parent are you?

Question: How can you be a better parent? Please share in the comment section below.

photo credit: Kate Dreyer via photopin cc

Jun 5, 2013