How should children be raised? Over decades and across cultures, the popular answer to this question has been found to vary wildly. However, even with this variation, developmental psychologists are finding that some methods of raising children may prove more successful than others. Today, psychologists have categorized all parent-child dynamics into three general styles of parenting: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative.
In authoritarian parenting, parents feel the need to control their child through strict regimen that do not allow for much personal exploration or independent growth. As a result, the children do not feel as if they are able to speak openly with their parents, leading to a low-self esteem and difficulty communicating or forming strong relationships later in life. This dynamic hinges on the parents’ belief in control, making them likely unobservant, according to the principles of IMT and KSM. It is likely that their children will, as a result, feel they have no control over their lives, leading them to live with the anxiety, confusion, and frustration that their parents experience as a part of the unobservant environment.
While it appears to be the opposite of authoritarian parenting, the permissive parenting also exhibits unobservant behaviors. The permissive style encourages parents to avoid conflict with their children through bribes and appeasement when their children are unhappy. While they are quite nurturing, they do not establish a deep, reliable connection with their children, as they lack the leadership skills to assist their children’s transitions into adulthood. As a result, many of these children grow up lacking motivation, responsibility, and self-control. These children are not taught accountability, likely because their parents believe in the unobservant mentality of chance. With this form of unobservant parenting, these children will grow up with a small likelihood of success, and will probably experience little personal growth. Like their parents, they will also be more likely to blame their lack of personal motivation on the existence of randomness.
Unlike either of the former styles, authoritative parenting seems to be the most beneficial form of parenting, leading to the highest levels of achievement and accountability. In authoritative parenting, children are expected to be capable of controlling their own behavior at a certain age, leading them to be found accountable for their own actions. Also, these parents act more like advisors as the children grow older, maintaining healthy communication at all times. Authoritative parents, who respect the thoughts and experiences of their children, are the most likely to be observant. Not only are they likely to set a wonderful example for their children of how living with accountability will lead to success, but their children are also more likely to grow into adulthood with the self-confidence and humility needed to be successful as well. Research from developmental psychologists support the principles of IMT and KSM in this regard, concluding that this form of parenting leads to the most success in adulthood, both in academia and in employment. Through the establishment of autonomy throughout childhood, authoritative observant parenting is most likely to lead to high achievement and satisfaction.
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Steinberg, L., Elmen, J. D., & Mounts, N. S. Authoritative parenting, psychosocial maturity, and academic success among adolescents. Child Development, 60, 1424-1436 (1989).