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Parenting can be a unique and rewarding experience. Many of us love and enjoy our time with our children and cannot imagine life without them. Despite great sense of joy and satisfaction, parenting can be difficult. For those of us who come from backgrounds which we disagreed, felt hurt, or even traumatized by our parents’ childrearing practices, now is the time to do it right with our own children. It is exciting to have a chance to parent in more helpful ways, but it is can also stressful experience.

Most parents would like to do a better job with their children not only because of the standards they set for themselves but also what is expected of them. Society often defines who is good and bad parent and are rewarded accordingly. Sometimes these definitions can be inflexible when they clash with human capacities and vulnerabilities. Modern parents and their roles are not the same as it was a century or a decade ago when fathers were breadwinners and mothers were homemakers. Roles and responsibilities are now more complex and demanding on both parents.

However, despite all the pressure that today’s mothers and fathers are going through, parenting is the most important job for its psychological impact on children. To be an effective parent means to be patient, understanding, and respectful while acting firm, demanding, and assertive. Walking the middle path can be challenging but it is essential and beneficial for children. Diana Baumrind identifies three types of parenting:

• Authoritative parents are high in warmth but assertive in control and in adolescence have high expectations. They are kind, sensitive, and yet firm and they respect and encourage child’s inner motivation, control, and freedom through logical dialogue. However, children are also held accountable for their actions and they respond immediately to inappropriate behaviours.

• Authoritarian parents are low in warmth but they are high in conflict and use coercive and punitive control attempts. It is problematic type of parenting because acting aggressively and disproportionate to the situation can affect children negatively. Baumrind found that children who are punished at the wrong time and more severely than the act itself develop maladjustments like hostile behavior, classroom deficiencies, personality problems, and dependency.

• Permissive parents are high in warmth that is combined with low control attempts but sometimes they are neglectful and disengaged with low warmth and control. These parents permit their children to have full freedom to whatever they desire. The problem is when a child misbehaves the non-interfering parent unintentionally teaches the child that a bad behavior is okay. Later in life, these children lack self-discipline and control and they often have difficulty following rules and conforming to societal norms.

In sum, parenting is not easy but regular self-care and putting one’s psychological health first can help fulfill those duties. If you are going through parenting stress, book your appointment with your therapist today.

Khobi Attai, MA, specializes the areas of abuse and domestic violence, as well as a variety of other subjects. For more information on Khobi and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.