The rock or ‘authoritarian’ style of parenting is mostly hard and inflexible involving strict rules, and a focus on unquestioning obedience and harsh punishment.
Parents often take this approach because they feel they need to be tough on their kids for them to learn important family values and to succeed in life.
But the downside of the rock style is that children can grow up to:
The tree-or ‘authoritative’ style uses a firm and fair approach. Limits are set in advance and stuck to – but can be discussed with kids and adjusted over time. 'Tree' parents listen to their children’s views and respond to their needs. These parents set clear expectations, have reasonable and related consequences, and praise good behaviour.
The upside of this parenting style is kids are more likely to grow up to:
'Paper' or ‘permissive’ style parents tend to give in to kids' demands to keep the peace, and like to rescue their kids from anything unpleasant. They’re also known as ‘jellyfish’ or helicopter parents.
Parents may take the ‘paper’ approach because they don’t want to be 'rocks' (especially if that’s how they were parented and they want their kids to have a happier childhood than they did).
The downside of the paper style is that children may be:
Most people use a mixture of the three styles, depending on how they’re feeling. For example if you’re particularly stressed out, you might be tougher on your kids because you feel like you need to be in control. Or if you’re exhausted, you might let things slide a bit. Somewhere in between is what works best for kids. Being flexible but staying consistent about what's important.
Here are ten tips for a firm and fair (tree) approach:
We saw early on that our different ways of parenting our son really affected his behaviour. We agreed to be more consistent, more united and we've never looked back.