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How to Understand How Your Parenting Style Affects Your Child

Do you sometimes feel like you're just not reaching your kids? Examine different ways your parenting style might better influence outcomes.


  • TIP: Children of alcoholics and victims of domestic violence often marry the same sort of people.
  • Step 1: Parent with mature restraint, listening to and nurturing your kids. Allow your children to make and own their choices and mistakes -- and deal with the natural consequences.
  • FACT: The USDA reported in 2008 that children born in 2009 to a middle-income family were expected to cost nearly a quarter million dollars to raise. Child care, housing, and education comprised 64 percent of that cost.
  • Step 2: Stay clear of using physical intimidation to maintain order. Fearful children may become teens and adults who are depressed, insecure, unable to express emotions, and vulnerable to abusive relationships.
  • Step 3: Avoid instituting a strict reward system. Like trained animals, the kids learn to "act" for a payoff, rather than internalizing the reasons for good behavior. Try reasoning with them to avoid having your children lose motivation to be independent.
  • TIP: Some kids learn orally or visually, and others by doing. Be flexible before concluding what effect you are having.
  • Step 4: When it comes to doling out consequences for bad behavior, be consistent and don't be overly punitive. Consistency on your part helps build stronger relationships: you're kids will trust you because they know what to expect.
  • Step 5: Teach respect for others instead of letting your children do as they please. Trying to be a friend instead of upholding expectations can create hostile, defiant, angry, and selfish children who have trouble getting along with peers.
  • Step 6: Set goals and clear expectations without becoming emotional or pitting your children against another parent. Be sensitive to how the children take in and understand information individually to improve communication.

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