What Parenting Styles Are Best?
Look around—you can quickly identify different parenting styles. Some parents are warm and receptive, while others are stern and structured. In some homes, boundaries are set and strictly enforced, and in other homes, there are few rules and little discipline. Figuring out what is best is a struggle every parent faces.
It can be challenging when you and your spouse were raised in entirely different environments or had different experiences growing up with similar parenting styles! It can feel completely overwhelming to try and merge your opinions and experiences into one cohesive plan. But that’s where we are here to help!
The truth is, regardless of the number of articles you read, parenting tips you consume, or podcasts you listen to, every couple will parent their kids differently. Every family is different, each with its own unique struggles, priorities, and values. Not to mention, we live in an age that makes it increasingly difficult to know what children are exposed to and how they act online, and it is up to parents to teach their children decent digital citizenship.
So rather than tell you how to parent your kids, we will give you parenting tips that benefit families of all varieties.
Incorporate these parenting ideas mindfully into your daily life and you will see positive changes!
Table of Contents
Consider implementing the following tips for parents.
Tip #1: Solidify Your Relationship
One of the most profound needs of every human—but especially kids—is stability. Feeling safe and secure in their home allows for kids to develop and grow into their full potential. You may think this is done through homemade meals, new clothes, and a roof over their heads. But this has much more to do with the relationship between you and your spouse than you might think.
Perhaps you feel you have created a nurturing environment for your kids. That is great! However, if you criticize your spouse or fight openly in their presence, it’s time to make a conscious effort to improve your marital relationship. Kids sense instability between parents, and it can become extremely stressful—even if they do not verbally express it. Improving your relationship with your spouse will directly enhance your relationship with your kids, regardless of parenting styles.
It is important to note, your relationship with the other parent is important regardless of marital status. Working through or setting aside resentment to unify yourselves has a significant impact on your child’s well-being. Speaking unkindly of your co-parent benefits no one, and in fact, can be detrimental to your kids.
So you know it’s important, but how do you strengthen your marriage or relationship? Luckily, we’re experts on that topic. First, click over here to find out why your spouse should come first. Prioritizing your relationship will get you on the same page and create a harmonious environment. That is the foundation for raising great kids. It also opens you both up to communicating about different parenting styles in the most productive way. Importantly, when identifying necessary changes and improvements, you will be calm and unified.
Tip #2: Act in Unity
Kids notice so much more than we give them credit for. They are so resilient and don’t hold grudges the way adults do. However, just because they can move on doesn’t mean they don’t take note for later. If you are constantly correcting your partner’s parenting style, your kids notice. They see potential areas of weakness and use those loopholes to their advantage.
You know the strategy: your dad said no, so you slyly try again by asking your mom. In homes where the parents are not on the same team in decision-making, boundaries are pushed—lack of unity results in more arguments and more behavior issues.
So how can you create a unified front? First, never correct your spouse in front of your kids. If you don’t like the way they handled a situation, you need to choose to have that conversation in a private place at a later time. This is such a common dynamic, but undermining your spouse in front of your kids breeds a lack of respect. As hard as it is, if no one is in danger, let your partner handle things in their way, hold your tongue, and have a discussion later.
Second, when your kids complain about your spouse or their decision, be clear about your support for your partner. Even if you would have made a different decision or understand their frustration, show your kids that you move as one with your spouse. Show them that you work together, trust each other, and come to conclusions together.
Tip #3: Watch Your Words
We’ve covered why it’s important to support and build up your spouse, and you know we never support husband bashing. But it’s also important to hold your tongue when it comes to your kids.
It is such a common dynamic to find parents venting about their kids. Whether it’s the chaos they create, the poor decisions they’ve made, or a behavior they’re struggling with. But this does more harm than good. The words you speak have power. You can choose to use your words to build up and encourage them, despite their shortcomings, or you can rip them apart because of their weaknesses.
Never speaking poorly of your kids is easier said than done. Kids tend to push buttons and test patience in such an exhausting way. But think of it this way: how would you want them and others to speak of you behind your back? When you fall short, do you hope they can acknowledge all of the good you have done? How would you feel to hear them calling you names and describing how hard it is to be around you? One of the best parenting tips we can give: show your kids respect.
The things we say affect how we feel. If we are constantly complaining about our kids we will feel irritated with them more often. Choose to see the good in them, and choose to say good things about them. You will notice big positive changes.
Set your kids up for success by speaking words that will lift them up and give them confidence. Even if they cannot hear you, your words matter.
Tip #4: Look at Your Own Behavior
Of all the tips for parents that you have heard, this one may be the most uncomfortable. However, one of the best tips for parents that we can offer is to evaluate your own behavior. Kids mirror the actions of their parents. The words they use, mannerisms they adopt, and how they handle their emotions all stem from what they observe around them.
For better or worse, our kids learn how to deal with people and situations from what they see us doing. Therefore, it is worth doing a deep dive to evaluate how you deal with disappointment and frustration. Do you yell, deal passive-aggressively, or let it affect your mood for prolonged periods? Acknowledging our own negative tendencies and dealing with those can help us understand and better parent our kids.
Examining our own behavior helps us relate to our kids better when their behavior is less than ideal. It can also provide us the opportunity to show our kids how to make things right when we mess up. No one is perfect. One crucial skill for kids to learn is how to make amends when they have fallen short. Luckily, just as children mirror our negative behaviors, they also learn from our positive efforts.
So the next time you lose your temper, act rude, or make a mistake, model the appropriate resolution. Apologize and make things right. All parenting styles have one thing in common: kids are always watching their parents. How you act and how you react will shape the behaviors of your children.
Tip #5: Teach Before Tensions Rise
Whether you and your spouse have parenting styles that are structured and firm or loose and relaxed, this tip will help. Before the misbehavior or mistake occurs, your family should set aside time to talk through common issues that often arise in your home. Whether that is speaking disrespectfully in an argument or hitting when angry, addressing what is and is not appropriate before you find yourself in the heat of the moment is crucial.
When you talk through different scenarios beforehand, you set your children and yourself up for success. When everyone is calm, it is easier for your children to sort through what is and is not productive when tensions rise, and they are feeling angry or disappointed.
For example, if your child commonly yells mean words when upset, find a time when you both are calm and talk about why those words are not appropriate. Explain how their actions harm them and the other person. Next, help them find a different way to resolve the issue that doesn’t involve the negative action. In this case, you could say, “When you yell that you hate your brother, those words make him feel sad. Even though you feel very angry at him, it’s not okay to use those words. The next time he is bothering you and you feel yourself getting really mad, what is something you could do instead of using mean words?” Then lead your child to a solution that resolves the problem in a better way.
Allow your child to talk through their feelings, and find a solution when they are removed from the situation and its emotions. In the heat of the moment, a child is unable to calm themselves and think rationally. Their nervous system is in fight or flight mode and they tend to act impulsively. This is not the time to lecture or teach—it will not be productive. However, if you have used these parenting tips and decided to teach before tensions rise, you can remind your child of your conversation and the solution they found.
Not only will this strategy help you feel more in control when issues arise, but it will also equip your kids with life skills of problem-solving and handling uncomfortable feelings in a productive way.
Tips for Parents
These tips for parents are helpful regardless of parenting styles. However, they also take practice. Choose one tip and intentionally apply it in your family for a week. Gain practice and learn through trial and error. Then, move on to each of the other parenting tips, and over time you will notice a huge improvement in your confidence and your ability to resolve family issues.
Having kids and raising them with your partner is one of the most important things you will ever do together. It is a great adventure and can be dividing or unifying. Take on this challenge together as a team! Use these parenting tips for all types of parenting styles to get more out of your family relationships and create a happy and healthy family environment.