Becoming a parent is an incredibly exciting and overwhelming experience. The sheer amount of decisions you have to make can seem daunting, especially if you are new to parenthood. One of the most important things you can do before your little one arrives is to establish your parenting style. Understanding what type of parent you want to be and making sure that both parents are on the same page will set you up for success when baby arrives.
An important tip for finding your parenting style before baby arrives is being flexible. No matter how much research you do, no two children are alike—and they won’t necessarily respond in the same way to different types of discipline or rewards systems. It’s important to recognize that what works for one child may not work for another, and that’s okay! It's important to be open-minded and willing to adjust on the fly if necessary.
Before deciding which parenting style is best for you and your family, take some time to really think about what matters most to you as a parent. What values do you want to instill in your child? What kind of environment do you want them growing up in? Do you envision yourself being more of a reactive or proactive parent? Answering these questions will help guide decision-making down the line—from discipline strategies all the way up through college preparation—and ensure that any decisions made are true representations of who you are as a person and parent.
There are four main parenting styles that most parents fall into—authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. Each style has its own pros and cons and it’s up to each family to find which works best for them.
Authoritarian parenting is focused on enforcing rules strictly while expecting children to obey without question. This style prioritizes obedience over communication and often relies heavily on punishments as a means of discipline. While this style may work well in some households, it can lead to a lack of trust between parent and child.
Authoritative parenting seeks balance between strictness and leniency by providing clear expectations for behavior while still allowing for flexibility when needed. Communication is key in this style, with a focus on problem-solving rather than punishment as a means of discipline. This approach encourages autonomy while still maintaining parental control over certain situations.
Permissive parenting follows more lenient guidelines with fewer rules in place than authoritarian or authoritative styles. Parents typically use reasoning rather than punishment when their children misbehave, but may not set clear boundaries or expectations due to fear of being too restrictive or judgmental towards their children’s interests or desires.
Uninvolved parenting is characterized by minimal parental involvement in the lives of their children, often leaving them with minimal guidance growing up which can lead to feelings of abandonment later on in life. Uninvolved parents provide basic needs but don’t actively engage or foster relationships with their children beyond providing physical care such as food or shelter.
Ultimately, there isn’t one “right” way to parent; each family must find what works best for them through trial and error (and plenty of patience). It’s important that both parents are on the same page about how they want to raise their child so that rules remain consistent from home-to-home if there are two primary caregivers involved in the upbringing of your child(ren). Establishing your parenting style before baby arrives will help you navigate parenthood more successfully once your little one does arrive!