Are you a parent who takes the time to explain “why” when your child asks you questions? Are you more of the “do what I say” parent of somewhere in between. Parenting styles are important as they play a large part in forming your child. Why do parenting styles matter more in the digital age? It is because as digital natives our children can find an alternative world online.
Parenting in the Digital Age
Parenting in the digital age is different because our children are exposed to a digital world. This world offers them information, answers and virtual worlds than parents cannot navigate or get inside. You know the good ol’ days of because I said so no longer exists? right? Nowadays any information your child needs is just a click away and available 24/7 too. I joke and say that Uncle Google has moved into our lives and homes and is always ready to provide an answer to our children.
What are Parenting Styles?
There are just as many parenting styles as there are a number of parents. However there are some basic parenting styles that fall into these: authoritarian, permissive, authoritative and neglectful.
Authoritarian Parenting Style and the Digital Age
The authoritarian parents are like army commanders. They prefer to issue commands and orders to their children and fully expect their children to carry out their orders without questioning them. They do not welcome nor appreciate any feedback from their children. and live by set and defined rules in a structured environment. These are the parents who say “Because I said so” or ” I am your mother don’t ask me why”
These children have more of a fear than a love for their parents.
Children are naturally curious and want to know why you have issued a particular order, or want to understand why they cannot do something. For children of authoritarian parents, when they do not have an enabling environment to express themselves and ask questions, they tend to retreat even more to the online world to find answers. In and of itself, using the internet to get information is not bad…what is disturbing is when these children tend to rely on this because they cannot talk to or reason with their parents.
When it comes to the digital age, these parents might simply ban their children from getting online. his will only work for sometime as the children are likely to get on behind their parents back. It is better to explain to them and be open to discussing their questions.
Permissive Parenting Style and the Digital Age
The permissive parents are generally lenient. They let the children look after themselves and avoid confronting them at all costs. These parents practice parenting by default. This means they take virtually no action in parenting their children.
For these parents they are more concerned with being seen as their child’s friend or to be a cool parent and therefore let their children engage in actions that they otherwise shouldn’t. These parents tend to get their children access to the internet, smart devices and even open social media accounts for them; because this is what everyone is doing or worse their child throws a tantrum if the parents say No.
In the digital age, this parenting style exposes children to online dangers. The children have a false sense of security because after all their parents allowed them to get online. They are also allowed to spend long periods of time online. These children are allowed to have their devices in their room at night and have little or no control put in place. They are also left to figure out how to navigate the digital world by themselves, as their parents don’t spend time to discuss the pros and cons of the online world.
Authoritative Parenting Style and the Digital Age
The authoritative parents are both demanding and responsive at the same time. Authoritative parents while expecting their children to behave in a certain manner, don’t impose their authority. In addition, they welcome a certain amount of questioning. Their children appear to be more lively, their self-confidence is more developed and they seem to be more sure of their abilities. These children also show better emotional control and are more adept in their social skills.
As a result, when these children get into the digital world, they are better equipped to deal with the good and bad. Children of authoritative parents are able to ask their parents questions. They understand why their parents say no when it comes to using social media and other rules because their parents explain to them.
Generally, the authoritative parenting style is agreed as the most ideal because it raises more balanced children. These children tend to be the happiest, most confident and self assured of all the parenting styles. This is the style of parenting closely linked to intentional parenting.
Neglectful Parenting Style and the Digital Age
The neglectful or the “uninvolved parents” are simply uninvolved. They are neither demanding of nor responsive to their children; neither are they interested in any questions from their children. These parents do not engage with nor communicate with their children.
The neglectful parents do not know what their children are up to. These parents might hide behind a busy lifestyle, demanding work and travel. They would relegate majority of their parenting roles to domestic staff or other adults. These children will look for love and acceptance and this might lead them to the online world; where they might get involved with things they should not. These children might even get cyber bullied and their parents wouldn’t know, because they do not notice any changes. Generally parental involvement is very low.
I hope this has helped you to see how the different parenting styles can help or hinder your child in the digital age. With so much pressure and external influence from the digital world, children need an enabling home environment to navigate it all.