A family member introduced us to the Modern Family TV Series and also gave us taped episodes of the first and second seasons.
We enjoy Claire and Phil Dunphy’s relationship but have felt that the children must be confused about who to listen to and which one of the Modern Family parenting styles they might prefer.
As a child, my parents had a solid front of what they expected of us and what they wouldn’t tolerate. I think this was the Authoritarian parenting style and was probably the method used by their parents.
When it was my turn to be a parent, I enjoyed spending time with my daughters and encouraged them to express their opinions and become independent thinkers. I would classify my style as Authoritative parenting style. I hoped they would learn how to live a happy, sharing and supportive lifestyle from my example.
Anyone who watches the TV comedy “Modern Family” has probably noticed that Claire and Phil Dunphy approach parenting their three teens in two very different ways. In a recent episode, Claire, attempting to be the strict and responsible parent, tried to set and maintain realistic yet fair rules, while Phil, trying to be the “cool” dad, discounted his wife’s rules and permitted the kids to do whatever they wanted.
In their minds, they both felt as if they were being the best parents that they could be. However, they both approached parenting in very different ways, with Claire being the authoritative parenting style and Phil being permissive parenting style.
When it comes to parenting, this is not unusual, as parenting styles often fall in the spectrum between responsive or demanding, and parenting styles, much as a pendulum, often swing back and forth from one extreme to the other.
Since the 1920s, developmental psychologists have been interested in how parents affect and influence the development of their children’s mental and emotional health. Psychologist Diana Baumrind asserts that parenting styles are determined based on the assumption that the main role of parents is to “influence, teach and control their children.”
According to many developmental psychologists, including Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin, categorizing parents based on whether they are high or low on parental control and responsiveness creates a typology of four parenting styles:
Authoritarian: This parent sets strict rules and punishes his child when the rules are broken. Many children raised in these kinds of families feel as though their voices are not heard and their feelings are not validated.
Permissive: Parents like this often place higher value on being their children’s friends rather than parents. They tend to avoid confrontation with their children at all costs and rarely discipline their children for wrongdoing.
Authoritative: This is a combination between the authoritarian and permissive parent. Rules and guidelines are established, and children are expected to follow them, but these parents use a disciplinary approach that is supportive rather than punitive. Children from these families usually feel like their ideas and concerns are heard and validated by their parents.
Uninvolved Parenting: This type is neither demanding nor nurturing, and minimal rules or expectations are established in the household. Although the basic needs of the children are met, very little emotional support is offered, often causing the parents to feel detached from the children’s lives.
While no parenting style is right or wrong, research consistently shows that some parenting styles are more helpful in creating happy children with high self-esteem. Take a moment to choose which parenting style you think typically creates the happiest child. If you guessed the authoritative approach, you are correct.
In contrast, authoritarian parents tend to raise obedient children who rank lower in happiness and self-esteem, while the uninvolved and permissive approaches rank the lowest in the overall happiness of children. Take time today to evaluate your parenting approach and decide which one or which combination is best for your child. Your child’s happiness — and your relationship with him or her — is counting on it.
Like the TV series your modern parenting styles may differ from your spouse’s, but it is important to understand modern family parenting styles and be the best parent you can be.
May you children be blessed with a childhood that provides them with the tools they will need to be productive, caring adults. Share your parenting style with us by commenting on this article.