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October 14, 2020 Wednesday 02:25:09 PM IST

Parenting Styles Can Trigger Conflicts

Parent Interventions

In modern societies, parenting seems to be the most difficult task a human being has to undertake in his life. Parenting is nothing but moulding the most helpless infant in the world into a very capable responsible human being who is capable of contributing his best to the progress of society, nation and the world at large. There are different models of parenting usually practiced by people. Some of the functions are dysfunctional models while some others are attractive, useful and practical models.

Instinctive Parenting

The commonest model of parenting is to bring a child exactly in the way they were brought up as a child by their own parents. This is called Instinctive Parenting. If a father believes that he received the best in life due to a punitive way of life, he would transmit the exact style to his child. He would beat up his child, give him severe punishment to discipline him in a better way. The advantages of instinctive parenting is that the values which were transmitted to you by your parents can be conveyed to the next generation too. But times have changed. A generation ago when joint family system was in vogue in households, even after getting corporal punishment from the parents, it did not affect the psyche of the children as they had lot of cousins, friends and neighbours with whom they could share their stress. Availability of similar aged children to play and have fun used to alleviate the suffering associated with corporal punishment.
In modern families with only one child or two children, the psychological impact of physical punishment is much more severe. Children don’t have anyone to share their sorrows. As such even a slightest punishment can make the children contemplate or attempt suicide. So Instinctive Parenting may not be the best model for present times.

Attachment Parenting
Here one parent may not be able to be in contact with the child on a day to day basis as they may be employed in a foreign country or distant place. Once in a year he gets a chance to see his child. When he is at home, he indulges the child to such an extent that he pampers the child really bad. The difficulty arises when the parent goes back to his workplace and the other parent who is always available at home is unable to meet the expectations of the child. The pampering parent will justify his behaviour saying that he only sees the child for a short span of time. He cannot tolerate the child suffering at all. So, he would do anything to alleviate the child’s pains. This type of parenting creates a situation of conflict between the two parents. In the mind of the child, the indulgent parent has a positive image while he second parent tries to impose restrictions has got the position of a villain. This type of inconsistent parenting is likely to affect the psychological development of the child.

Helicopter Parenting
Here the parent does not trust the child, intrudes into his privacy, checks the bag, room, phone conversations. He or she hovers over the child just like a helicopter. Child feels the parents are not trusting and in due course the child will also have distrust of others. This inability to establish and maintain relationships on mutual trust is going to have long lasting adverse consequences in future It may impair his relationship with peers, his teachers and adversely affect family relationships. Unless you trust others it is difficult to sustain relationships.

Narcissistic parenting
Such parents are obsessed with himself or herself they are not willing to listen to the child at all. He always brags about his achievement, paints the picture that he is somebody very great and he is not willing to accept any criticism. This is one of the most dysfunctional types of parenting. Child dislikes the parent and feels that the parent is incapable of understanding him. On a long-term basis, the child may develop an animosity or antagonism towards the parent. By adolescence the conflict with the parent may have become full blown.
Authoritarian Parenting
Here the parent dictates the terms to the child and the child just has to obey. The child does not have any freedom. The absolute basis of this type of parenting is disciplining the child. After sometime the child may not be comfortable obeying the parent as such. They may start revolting against the parent. This type of parenting can be effective only till the end of schooling. Once the child moves out of home and remain in a hostel for higher studies, this style of parenting will have a negative impact as the child has not enjoyed freedom. He is incapable of using it judiciously. He would indulge in what ever activities he couldn’t do at home. They may turn to drugs, free sex, or even become totally irresponsible.

Permissive Parenting or Indulgent Parenting

Child is the boss at the house and absolute freedom prevails at home for the child. The child demands things and parents satisfy them so that the child complies with their instructions or the child studies. Such children become incapable of accepting ‘No’ for an answer. In such situations the child will raise his voice and get his demands accepted. When the child moves out of the house, such behaviour may not be accepted by others. He will have conflicts with peers, teachers and relationships in future. Such people can end up refusing to accept a ‘No’ for a romantic proposal. And as a result of their anger, they try to annihilate the other person.

Neglected parenting
Here both parents are least interested in the affairs of the child. They are busy with their own work, official responsibilities or business. The child is not guided in any proper way. There is no freedom and no responsibility nor affection. No body to supervise the child. In such cases, the child may go into bad company, start unhealthy habits.

Authoritative Parenting
This is considered the best method and is a mixture of freedom with responsibility. There are certain boundaries that everybody has to maintain in the family. Parents set the example or become role model for the child following non-negotiable rules. For eg, one non-negotiable rule is that all members should come home by 6 pm. This gives the child 2 hours of play or socialising after school. The parents also reach home by 6 pm and if they are unable to do so the members will be informed. Reasons will be intimated. This gives the child freedom to go out, socialise and

Avoid Parental Conflicts


If parents have differences of opinion and if they quarrel in front of the child, the child will lose the respect for them. In double bind communications, both parents exhibit diametrically opposite views of a particular matter. For eg. On a child’s birth day, the father gives an instruction to child to go out and meet friends and distribute sweets while the mother tells the child to remain at home. So this will create a confusion in the mind of the child about whom to obey or not to obey. If this leads to a major fight between the parents, it will leave a poor impression on the child. The child may start becoming defiant towards both parents. Parents should not exhibit differences of opinion in front of the child. Parents should keep separate time to discuss such things in the absence of the child and reach a consensus. Only the consensus decision should be conveyed to the child. Abusing each other, physically fighting and shouting at each other doesn’t create positive impressions about the parent in the child.


Dr Arun B Nair

Psychiatrist, Govt Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram Read more articles..
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