Illustration for article titled It's Not Too Late To Change Your Parenting Style And Maybe You ShouldPhoto: Stijn Dijkstra / EyeEm (Getty Images)

If you reassess your parents in the past year, you are hardly alone. What seemed to work in pre-pandemic times doesn’t necessarily mean you’re suddenly home with your kids and partner every minute of every day for more than a year. But when we emerge from the depths of COVID hell vaccinated, it may be a good time to take stock of how we used to be parents, how we were parents last year, and how we want to be parents in the future.

What are the four main parenting styles?

“Parenting styles” are often broken down into four basic categories: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and indifferent. Some of them have obvious negative connotations without diving in, but let’s talk a little about each of them that are detailed by Very good family.

What is Authoritarian Parenting?

An authoritarian parent makes the law. The children can be seen and not heard. You should do what you tell them “because you told them to”. They are not particularly concerned about their child’s opinion or feelings – these are not things for an authoritarian parent to consider. These are strict parents who are more likely to “punish” than “discipline”.

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What is Authoritative Parenting?

Authoritative parents make rules and consistently enforce those rules (and the consequences for their violation), but they also take into account their children’s feelings. Authoritative parents want to have a positive relationship with their children and usually focus on reinforcing good behavior in order to contain the bad behavior before they even start.

What is Permissive Parenting?

Admissible parents may make rules, but enforcing them isn’t really a priority. “Children will be children” is the mantra of the permissive parent who tends to be fairly straightforward and forgiving of undesirable behavior. You are the parents who act more like a friend.

What is Uninvolved Parenting?

The innocent parents are exactly what they sound like – these parents don’t really know what their children are up to. They may be overwhelmed with other problems or simply lack a basic understanding of what children need, but they are often neglected even when that neglect is unintentional. Uninvolved parents don’t spend much time with their children, and the children mostly raise themselves.

Post-Pandemic Parenting

I would bet most of us reflect ourselves in the “authoritative” category (although I know there are some authoritarianists out there too). But I’ll be the first to admit that the words “because I said it” came out of my mouth in a particularly frustrating moment or two, and I haven’t always been perfect at enforcing the consequences of which I say that I’m going to enforce.

But I don’t think we have to identify with one style or the other either. As long as you’re pretty consistent overall, there may be moments when the law needs to be established and moments when you look the other way won’t kill anyone. If the past year has taught us more, this is ours Parenting style can – and should – be liquid. Just because we always have a particular type of parenting doesn’t mean we always have to have such a parenting. We can learn and adapt as we walk.

We currently have the unique opportunity to re-enter our “normal” life with a perspective that we never thought we would have. It is possible to see our priorities mixed up before 2020 – maybe we didn’t spend enough time with our children, or we were too strict on some things and too lenient in others. We may have leaned too “authoritarian” beforehand, and then the pandemic made us the epitome of the “permissive” parent or vice versa.

That’s okay! The kind of parent you are is never set in stone. We can click “reset” as often as necessary and use what we’ve learned to raise our children better – and now is the perfect time to do so.