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Juanita Harb, Ph.D.

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Teletherapy is now available for clients who meet outpatient therapy
criteria. Please call for a 20-minute free consultation.
Let me know when you've made the changes so that I can check them out.

Parenting Andre Parenting

How you parent or were parented has an influence on how you and your children develop. Parenting styles can impact self-esteem, happiness, and long-term success in life.

In thinking about four different parenting styles, there are character traits that are reflected beyond childhood when a little person is raised by a parent or parents who use an authoritarian, permissive, neglectful, or authoritative style of parenting. In today’s world where the divorce rate is 51% according to the 2014 Census, blended families are becoming common, creating situations where children many times experience a mix of the four parenting styles when they are moved from home to home with differing parenting styles.

Looking at how you were parented and how you parent can bring awareness to what works best to produce healthy, well-functioning human beings who have a secure sense of themselves and are productive. As you look at these four parenting styles, think about how you were parented and by whom and if you have children yourself, how you parent.

Remember that alcohol and drug use past or present has and does affect how you were parented and how you parent today. What you experienced and saw modeled is generally what is carried over to the next generation.

Authoritarian Parent(s):

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Authoritarian parents have the following way of dealing with their children:

  • Many rules and expectations, at times unreasonable expectations.
  • Lack of responsiveness to their child’s feelings or emotional needs.
  • Lack of warmth or comforting to children.
  • Parent is controlling
  • Lack of bi-directional communication
  • Emotional cutoff when their child does not meet the parent(s)’ expectations.
  • Corporeal punishment or outright abuse, which could range from pervasive to random acts, or both.
  • Harsh, cold, punitive treatment that is physical, verbal, or emotional.
  • Manipulation and deceit to have the child conform.
  • The parent rules and the child’s needs, feelings, and wishes are unacknowledged.
  • Instills a sense of fear and dread in the child

What can happen when one is raised or is being raised by an authoritarian parent? Depression and anxiety can result, along with an inability to take action and move forward with life in productive ways. Think of an animal who is raised from birth by an authoritarian master and how that animal might cringe in a corner or freeze when the owner or someone like the owner approaches…

Permissive Parent(s):

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Permissive parents are on the opposite end of the spectrum from authoritarian parents and parenting style. Some characteristics of a permissive parent are:

  • Guidelines and rules are lacking.
  • Generally loving and warm parenting
  • Parents view their children as their friends and do not model good boundaries.
  • Low expectations of children
  • Lack of structure and schedules
  • Low to no consequences for misbehavior
  • Children are permitted to figure things out for themselves

Children need structure and healthy boundaries to develop and mature. Some effects of permissive parenting can result in poor academic achievement or low motivation to excel, along with poor time management. A child raised by a permissive parent can also display poor decision-making skills, have decreased emotional intelligence, and could involve themselves in substance use. What type of animal represents a permissive parent to you? Perhaps a mother bird who sees the fledgling get too close to the edge of the nest, but does nothing to intervene. Or the mother who sees their child ready to fall but does not rescue the child, so the child can figure it out themselves -- a lack of appropriate guidance and modeling.

Neglectful Parent(s):

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Neglectful parents are emotionally distant from their children. The parents’ wants and needs come before their child’s wants and needs. Some characteristics of a neglectful parent are:

  • Ignoring the emotional and developmental needs of their child
  • Emotional distancing from the child
  • Lack of warmth to coldness
  • Child is left alone to fend for him or herself
  • The parent is not present to care for the child
  • The parent is distant emotionally and or physically

A child raised by a neglectful parent may long for emotional attachment as a child and later in life, but has difficulty forming emotional attachments throughout their life. The child who becomes the adult is left with the feeling that there is no one they can depend on in their life. Children and adults who were raised by neglectful parents might not do well in school and can exhibit physical and mental illnesses. Think of an animal who is not given the proper nurturing, care, and skills through modeling by their parents, and is left to fend for itself… They question, “What do I do? Where do I go?” There is a sense of “Something is missing, but what is it?” It’s like a kitten that is abandoned by its mother at birth and with its eyes still closed that searches in the dark alone and helpless but cannot find its mother’s milk to survive.

Authoritative Parent(s):

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According to many researchers, authoritative parents are “the just right parents.” Some traits that authoritative parents have are:

  • Setting reasonable rules, boundaries, and guidelines that are developmentally appropriate.
  • Provide a healthy structure for their child.
  • Exhibit warmth, caring, and nurturing for their child and others in society
  • Remain flexible in their expectations, and are able to adjust their response to individual circumstances
  • Create a sense of healthy structure that fosters growth and exploration for their child to develop and mature
  • Allow for creativity and exploration

Authoritative parents raise children who are generally more self-reliant and independent. Children raised by authoritative parents generally are securely attached, have confidence, and move in their life with others with a sense of confidence and self-assurance through productive social interactions. This is the lioness who licks her cubs and allows them to hunt freely and lets them return to the lair and lay by her side after the hunt. The cub is allowed to grow at its own pace and return for comfort after it has strayed to learn new skills. This cub has a secure home base, feels supported, loved, and accepted.

Have you figured out how you were parented and how you parent your children or yourself?
Have you seen a movie that reflects how you were parented?
If you are experiencing the after-effects of a parenting style that did not meet your needs or enhance a stable sense of Self or do you want to change how you parent. Therapy can help with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression for children and adults.

To schedule an individual appointment or to obtain additional information about any of these counseling services, please call me at (916) 225-6311 or send an email to [email protected].

I offer an initial 20-minute phone consultation. Please include your name and personal phone number that you can be reached at or where I can leave a message, if you are not available, when I return your inquiry. Please call today to start moving toward a brighter tomorrow.

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