Nov 15, 2012

The Problem with Authoritarian Parenting

crazydad.jpgAs a sequel to our last post (and newsletter) about the problems with permissive parenting, now couldn't be a more perfect opportunity to summarize the problems with strict parenting. Much has been published about the negative affects of authoritarian styles of parenting, so I'll aim to outline as many broad-spectrum points about the subject as possible.
If permissive parenting is described as lackadaisical, lenient and submissive in the context of conflict, then it's safe to say that strict parenting promotes iron-fistedness, aggressiveness and dominance above all. Strict parents will often "win" or "get what they want" in any given conflict, but the visible and emotional affects on the child include much (if not all) of the following:
  1. Externally compliant, but internally depressed and defeated
  2. Compliant but internally enraged, build-up of aggressiveness
  3. Feigned sycophancy in aims to manipulate
  4. Fear of trying/Fear of failure
  5. Lying
  6. Forming "groups" in order to fight back in numbers
  7. Rebelling/Outlashing - especially after long periods of submission
  8. Withdrawing from parents and social interactions
  9. Tendency to seek out adult relationships that are controlling (acting as the controlee)
  10. Increased probability of developing anxiety disorders
  11. Tendency to forfeit and ignore their own needs
  12. Self-imposed, impossible attempts at perfection

Although this list is dismal, many of these points resonate with adults who are the product of authoritarian parenting in their childhood. It is often the case that when parents realize the affects that their childhood had on them, that they realize it is not something that should be continued through the next generation.

More on the effects of punishment and parental power can be found in Chapter 10 of the Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) book.

by: Selena C. George

Nov 8, 2012

The Problem With Permissive Parenting

Permissive Parenting StyleThe most common misconception about Parent Effectiveness Training is that it encourages parents to "give-in" to their child's every desire. The idea that permissiveness is the alternative to power is a false dichotomy in itself. While permissiveness is, by definition, the opposite of strict, these options are not the only two that parents have. Moreover, the idea of meeting somewhere in the middle (i.e. compromise) falls on the same Strict-to-Lenient continuum, of which P.E.T. does not endorse. 

Much is to be said about the negative outcomes of using parental power, but the effects of permissive parenting are just as damaging.

In any win-lose relationship, the unbalance of power takes form in a multitude of ways. Depending on the relationship and degree of power used on the parent, the side effects on the child can include:

  • Lack of consideration for the needs of others
  • Resistance in cooperation in group dynamics
  • Lack of empathy toward others
  • Inability to adapt to new environments
  • Lack of problem solving skills
  • Difficulty maintaining healthy adult relationships
This style of parenting has effects on the parent as well:
  • Resentment/Passive Aggressiveness toward the child
  • Lack of affection toward the child
  • Emotional distance toward the child
Permissiveness can also show up in the form of becoming falsely accepting toward your child and his or her behaviors. False acceptance is a common method for parents who "don't want to deal with it" and submit to their children's demands, while simultaneously bearing resentment. One of the most serious symptoms of false acceptance is a lack of trust toward the parent which results in constant questioning, uncertainty and delinquency  It's usually quite easy for children to pick up on the non-verbal signals that their parents send them, leaving them in a perpetual state of confusion about what their parent really feels and wants. 

With permissive and authoritarian styles out the window, there lies a need for an alternative. P.E.T. teaches parents the communication methods and skills used for decades by many psychologists. By neither winning, losing or compromise, the P.E.T. method is unique in that it is the only (yes, I said only) approach that is on an entirely different spectrum—one that relies on influence, respect, and true fairness.  

Inconceivable? Check out the Parent Effectiveness Training book or find a workshop near you.

By: Selena George, P.E.T. Program Manager