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"Discovering Your Parenting Style: What Every Parent Should Know"

Updated: Apr 10



Parenting Style, Emotional Intelligence parenting, Emotionally healthy child

INTRODUCTION


Understanding and responding to our children's emotions is vital for establishing a strong and enduring bond with them. This not only influences our current relationship harmony but also shapes their future well-being and success. As parents, our objective is to foster a secure and nurturing connection that aids in their physical and emotional growth. The capacity to empathize with and regulate our children's emotions is crucial for achieving this goal, as it cultivates a supportive atmosphere that enhances their development and self-assurance. Conversely, neglecting emotional connections can strain the relationship and hinder their progress. Developing self-awareness is the first step towards mastering emotional guidance.


WHAT IS PARENTING STYLE


Parenting styles are complex and deeply rooted in our own childhood experiences and the coping mechanisms we developed. These instinctive reactions to stress—whether to avoid, submit, or confront—can influence how we respond to our children's needs and behaviors. Recognizing and understanding these patterns can be the first step towards more mindful parenting, where we consciously choose responses that foster healthier emotional development for both ourselves and our children. This self-awareness can lead to breaking cycles of behavior and opening up new possibilities for nurturing relationships.


IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING OUR PARENTING STYLE


Recognizing and reflecting on our parenting approach is crucial for fostering a nurturing environment for our children. It allows us to respond to their needs with empathy and support, guiding them through their emotional development. As we become more attuned to our interactions, we can enhance our bond with our children, creating a strong foundation for their growth in emotional intelligence and resilience. This conscious effort in parenting not only benefits our children but also enriches our emotional understanding and well-being.


4 TYPES OF PARENTING STYLE


John Gottman and Joan Declaire's research on parenting styles provides a fascinating insight into the emotional development of children. They identified four distinct parenting styles: Dismissing, Disapproving, Laissez-Faire, and Emotion Coaching. Each style has a unique impact on a child's ability to regulate emotions and develop healthy relationships. For instance, Emotion Coaching, which involves guiding and understanding a child's feelings, is linked to better emotional and social outcomes for children. Understanding these styles can help parents foster a nurturing environment that promotes emotional intelligence in their children.


1. Dismissing Parent Style

Tendencies


  • May lack awareness of emotions in oneself and others.

  • Treat a child’s feelings as insignificant.

  •  Disengages from or disregards the child’s feelings.

  • Wants the child’s negative emotions to disappear quickly.

  • Usually uses distraction to shut down a child’s emotions.

  • Make fun of or devalue a child’s emotions.

  • Believes children’s feelings are irrational and therefore don’t count.

  • Shows little interest in what the child is trying to communicate.

  • Feels uncomfortable, fearful, anxious, annoyed, hurt, or overwhelmed by the child’s emotions.

  • Fears of being out of control emotionally.

  • Focuses more on how to get over emotions than on the meaning of the emotion itself.

  • Believes negative emotions are harmful or toxic.

  • Believes that focusing on negative emotions will “just make matters worse.”

  • Feels uncertain about what to do with the child’s emotions.

  • Sees the child’s emotions as a demand to fix things.

  • Believes negative emotions mean the child is not well adjusted.

  • Believes the child’s negative emotions reflect badly on their parents.

  • Minimizes the child’s feelings, downplaying the events that led to the emotion.

  • Does not problem-solve with the child; believes that the passage of time will resolve most problems.

Effects of this style on children:


Children might internalize the notion that their emotions are incorrect, unsuitable, and insignificant. This can lead them to think that they are flawed just because of how they feel. Consequently, they may struggle with low self-esteem and face challenges managing their emotions. Disregarding or suppressing children's emotions can create an environment where they feel unsafe sharing their thoughts openly and authentically. This can lead to pent-up emotions and bitterness, causing a sense of detachment and weakening the bond between children and parents.


2. Disapproving Parent Style


Tendencies


  • Displays many of the Dismissing Parent’s behaviors, but in a more negative way.

  • Judges and criticizes the child’s emotional expression.

  • Is overly aware of the need to set limits on their children.

  • Emphasizes conformity to good standards or behavior.

  • Reprimands, disciplines, or punishes the child for emotional expression, whether the child is misbehaving or not.

  • Believes expression of negative emotions should be time-limited.

  • Believes negative emotions need to be controlled.

  • Believes negative emotions reflect bad character traits.

  • Believes the child uses negative emotions to manipulate; this belief results in power struggles.

  • Believes emotions make people weak; children must be emotionally tough to survive.

  • Believes negative emotions are unproductive, and a waste of time.

  • Sees negative emotions (especially sadness) as a commodity that should not be squandered.

  • Is concerned with the child’s obedience to authority.

Effects of this style on children:


Same as the Dismissing style but more emotionally damaging.


3. Laissez-Faire Parenting Style


Tendencies


  • Freely accepts all emotional expression from the child.

  • Offers comfort to the child experiencing negative feelings.

  • Offers little guidance on behavior.

  • Does not teach the child about emotions.

  • Tolerant and does not set limits.

  • They solve problems for children rather than helping them solve problems.

  • Does not teach problem-solving methods to the child.

  • Believes there is little you can do about negative emotions other than ride them out.

  • Believes that managing negative emotions is a matter of hydraulics; release the emotion and the work is done.

Effects of this style on children:


They do not learn to control their emotions; therefore, they have difficulty concentrating, developing friendships, and getting along with other kids. Because parents handle the majority of the problem-solving, children do not learn the skill and grow dependent or inattentive when faced with failures. Lack of boundaries and self-regulation capacity frequently results in a one-way connection in which parents are constantly and exhaustingly satisfying their children's needs.


4. Emotion Coach Parenting


Tendencies


  • Sees the world of negative emotions as an important arena for parenting.

  • Is sensitive to the child’s emotional states, even when they are subtle.

  • Is not confused or anxious about the child’s emotional expression; knows what needs to be done.

  • Respect the child’s emotions.

  • Do not poke fun at or make light of the child’s negative feelings.

  • Does not say how the child should feel.

  • Does not feel he or she has to fix every problem for the child.

  • Uses emotional moments as a time to:

    • Listen to the child.

    • Empathize with soothing words and affection.

    • Help the child label the emotion he or she is feeling.

    • Offer guidance on regulating emotions.

    • Set limits and teach acceptable expression of emotions.

    • Teach problem-solving skills.


Effects of this style on children:


Children learn to trust their feelings, manage their emotions, and solve difficulties. They have great self-esteem, learn quickly, and get along well with others. Because they feel accepted and safe, they are comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings. This allows both children and parents to connect and develop a strong relationship.


CONCLUSION


Many parents want their children to succeed in life and do this by pressing them to change. However, this technique frequently does more harm than good to the child's self-esteem and relationship with his or her parents. If a parent wants their children to have high emotional intelligence, they must first improve their emotional intelligence. The first stage is to be aware of one's parenting style.


References

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman’s

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett


Resources

 

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