Parenting books abound. You might visit your local bookstore and find a whole area dedicated to teaching you how to become a better parent. You could visit the library to find a handful of aged books on how to be a more-action oriented parent, rather than an emotionally-aware parent. However, the truth that emerges in all of the above is that parenting styles are subjective. 

Parenting books attempt to normalize strategies on how to support your children. The limitations that come with these books are found in the fact that each book is a product of its time, a product of the author’s own personal experience and defined by the values of its culture.

“Children should be seen and not heard” is a well-known phrase that springs from the Victorian era, where children were viewed as helpless and lacking the ability to reason. It is also important that this way of thinking went well into the 20th century.

Today, books now explore the role of the child as a mirror to issues from within the parent. This is due to the fact that we are reorienting ourselves on what it means to be a supportive parent who is present for the development and growth of the child. 

An analysis was performed on the many different ways to parent. Parenting tends to fall into four major categories:

Perceived parental warmth was positively associated with active coping and negatively correlated with trait anxiety in adolescents. A cluster analysis revealed four types of parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and indifferent. The group with the authoritarian parenting style showed higher scores on depersonalization and anxiety. The groups with the authoritative and permissive style of both parents showed the highest score on active problem coping.”

Although these are quite general in their assessment, parents tend to rely on one method over the other, and/or a mix of them to get them through the day. The issue with these categories is that they are simply just that — limited definitions — they do not take into account the individual needs of a child. This is one of the many responsibilities of a parent — to discover the exact emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs of their children and work with them to ensure that they are given skills to guide them to long-term growth and happiness. 

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