The Parenting for the Brain website was set up to help parents promote healthy brain development in their children based on neuroscience research. On that website, I found a blog with this heading: What is your Parenting Style?
The article presents findings of years of research by developmental psychologists. Their research identified four parenting styles. They also investigated the effect each parenting style has on children’s social and mental health and growth.
The four parenting styles that were identified and studied are:
Permissive parenting; and
Your parenting style is the approach you take to creating and cultivating an environment for the growth of your children. You cannot control the physiology of their brains, but you can through your parenting supply personal and environmental input that feeds and nurtures their minds, with their thoughts and emotions and choices.
The four parenting styles identified by the research were distinguished by two dimensions – the dimension of “demanding” and the dimension of “responding”.
Neglectful parenting is a style of parenting that is not demanding but is also not responsive to children’s needs and avoids getting to be too closely involved with their day to day lives.
Permissive parenting is a style that similarly rarely makes any demands but is responsive to their child’s needs; in fact so much so that they are often responding to the child’s demands, not their needs, and it can also be described as indulgent parenting.
Authoritarian parenting is a parenting style that presents high demands but does not provide personal responsiveness and connection. Such parenting can be cold, distant, unaccepting and judgmental.
Authoritative parenting is a style that presents children with a higher level of demands and expectations but at the same provides children with a higher level of responsiveness and connection with them. These parents set boundaries and standards for attitudes and behaviours and enforce consequences for poor behaviour, but they also provide loving acceptance, emotional warmth and personal closeness.
Of these four parenting styles, the research demonstrated that the “authoritative” parenting style produced the best growth and development, with better outcomes for mental health, social skills, school performance and less likelihood of delinquency.
Through all these weekly videos I am urging parents who are permissive or neglectful to wake up and start parenting. Some parents are simply not parenting. They are not shepherding their children. Their kids are saying and doing things that require intervention and they are watching them without saying or doing anything to correct, admonish or guide their children. Children don’t parent themselves, and they need training and coaching and disciplines and routines, and structures to grow and flourish in good and healthy directions.
The art of parenting is to provide these things, to present demands and expectations but in the context of a loving and deep connection. The authoritarian parent does not provide that necessary deep connection. They want their expectations met and withhold personal warmth and closeness as if that must be earned or obtained at some later date. Sadly for most kids raised by authoritarian parents, that day of being loved and accepted never comes.
If we look at God’s parenting style, we see that he models authoritative parenting. God enters a covenantal relationship with us, whereby he assures us of his acceptance and love, and of his faithful commitment to being our God who will always be with us in the good and the bad, in the dark valley and in the celebration times. And in that context, he presents instructions and directions, sets family rules and behavioural rules.
Many people say that God provides unconditional love and Christianity is a relationship and not a set of rules. I think that such statements misled people and misrepresent God’s style of leadership or parenting.
There is no biblical evidence for God giving unconditional love to everyone and anyone. He loves us but his love comes with conditions and demands. His grace is freely given because of Jesus’ death and resurrection for us, but it is offered according to the apostle Paul to lead us to repentance and submission to Christ responding to him with trust and obedience. Christ says that his disciples are to obey whatever he has commanded. Our relationship with God has rules, expectations and demands, and we thank God for those rules because they train us to value the relationship that we have with him.
So, parents develop an authoritative parenting style. Be an active parent who proactively leads your child, instructs your child, coaches and trains them in good and healthy ways to respond to a difficult and challenging world. But remember that you are to be a good shepherd, providing them with the security and safety of a deep connection and an enduring commitment to their growth and development as an individual who belongs to God and is entrusted to your care, on his behalf.
Let me conclude with the words of the apostle Peter to church elders (1 Peter 5:2-4) which I have reworded to apply to parents and for developing the leadership style you should practice in your homes.
Parents, care for the children God has entrusted to you. Watch over them willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t act like you are some type of superior lord with the children assigned to your care, and don’t neglect them or let them do whatever they want. Instead lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honour.
That’s great parenting and a great parenting style.
 4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Effects (parentingforbrain.com) [accessed 26 April 2021]
26 April 2021