How Much Influence Do I Have On My Child’s Personality?

For centuries parents thought that their behavior had no influence over their child’s personality, but now that science has proven that it does, we should rethink our ways to be a better influence on our kids. Every child is unique, with their own set of personality traits. A person’s personality is indeed shaped by the life experiences that he encounters, but it’s also shaped by upbringing. Parents play a major role in influencing the personality of a child and their academic performance. Here’s how our parenting styles shape the life and personality of our children? And how does bad parenting affect the children psychologically and emotionally?

Babies are not born with a fully developed personality. In fact, they enter the world with a raw personality that’s later shaped into a personality by their upbringing and life experiences. The relationship between a child and a parent has a major influence on most parts of a child’s development. Specific beliefs, thoughts, and feelings of parents have a very powerful effect on children, whether they realize it or not. Parental attitudes like love and acceptance or coldness and rejection play a significant role in developing a child’s personality and attitude towards life. Not all children get affected the same way by good or bad parenting. Some children, regardless of having grown up in very different environments, can have very similar personalities. While other children, regardless of being raised in the same environment, can have very different personalities. This is because every child has a unique way of responding to the environment they are brought up. Researchers have found that specific parenting styles have specific effects on children, and sometimes these effects are carried over into adult behavior. Psychologists researched 4 parenting styles common among parents, authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting, permissive parenting, and uninvolved parenting. All parents follow at least one of these parenting styles, which shapes the personalities of the children. Authoritative parenting plays a positive role in a child’s development, while authoritarian parenting gives rise to obedient children but unhappy with lower self-esteem. Permissive parenting also results in children who lack self-regulation and have problems with authority in their lives. The worst of all parenting style is uninvolved parenting, for such children have no self-control and minimal competency than their colleagues. One of the main reasons behind depression, anxiety, and aggression in children, is bad parenting.

Types of parenting styles and their influence on personality development of children

Dad talking to his son about something he did wrong. The dad is using one of the 5 parenting styles to teach his son a lesson.

In the 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschoolers and found that most parents displayed one of the three parenting styles. Later, other researchers, Maccoby and Martin, observed another personality style (uninvolved parenting) and added it to the list.

All four parenting styles were developed based on the following parental characteristics:

  • Disciplinary strategies
  • Warmth and nurturing
  • Communication styles
  • Expectations of maturity
  • Control

Authoritarian parenting

This parenting style is dominating and involves a lot of control. In authoritarian parenting, children follow the strict rules established by the parents, and failure to obey their rules results in severe punishment. Such parents do not feel the need to explain the reason behind a certain rule and expect their children to obey them endlessly with no questions asked.

These parents expect a lot from their children but provide very little guidance or advice. They want their children to be good at everything with little or no help at all. Children under such parents are often punished very harshly and are never given a proper explanation behind the punishment.

Children raised by authoritarian parenting grow up to be authoritarian themselves, both socially and professionally.

Authoritative parenting

Authoritative parents, just like authoritarians, like to establish rules and regulations within a household and expect their children to follow. This parenting style is much more democratic.

Such parents are responsive to their children and willing to answer their questions. Though these parents expect a lot from their children, they also provide emotional and physical support during the way. Authoritative parents are more forgiving of the mistakes made by their children, providing more emotional and moral support.

They encourage children to be independent and self-regulated, along with boundaries and limits. This parenting style leads to better leadership traits and highly developed social skills within the children.

Permissive parenting

Permissive parents are also known as indulgent parents. These parents do not expect much from their children and rarely discipline them for breaking the rules. They do set out rules but rarely enforce them and are lenient in punishments. They are generally nurturing and communicative with their children. Such parents act more like friends than parents and understand that their kids are immature and are bound to make mistakes.

Children under such parents are more likely to struggle academically and are less likely to follow the rules later in life. They can also suffer from health problems as their parents do not forbid them from eating junk food.

Uninvolved parenting

A stubborn toddler is acting naughty, with his mother passively smiling in the background. This uninvolved parent is not supporting her toddler by teaching him a lesson.

Uninvolved parents rarely have an idea of what their children are up to. This parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness, and little to no communication. Such parents expect their children to grow on their own with no emotional or moral support.

They do provide the basic needs of their children but are generally detached from their lives. In extreme cases, these parents might even reject or neglect the needs of their children.

Most parents that suffer from substance abuse or mental health issues come under this category. They are physically and emotionally unavailable to their kids. This is why such children grow into adults with very low self-esteem and poor social and behavioral skills.

Impacts of the different types of parenting

Different parenting styles have different effects on a child’s development.

These effects are as following:

  • Authoritarian parents generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient. But they suffer emotionally, are unhappy and less competent, and have lower self-esteem.
  • Authoritative parents have happy, capable, and successful children because they are available to their child’s needs and provide the moral support and guidance that they need along the way.
  • Permissive parenting results in children that are unhappy and unable to regulate themselves in life. They experience problems when in authority and tend to perform poorly in school.
  • Uninvolved parenting is the worst parenting style and deeply affects a child’s personality. These children lack self-control, have low self-esteem, and are very less likely to succeed in life. These children are also most likely to drop out of school because they lack the confidence and support that other children do.

Advantages of authoritative parenting

As authoritative parents are reasonable, just, and fair to their children, their children are most likely to comply with their parent’s rules and regulations. Such parents explain the rules and their needs to their children, which helps their children adopt these lessons for the future.

Instead of blindly following the rules for fear of punishment, the children of authoritative parents can see the reason behind the rules and understand their importance. They also tend to strictly follow the rules themselves because they know that these rules are in place to help them differentiate right from wrong.

Effects of bad parenting on a child’s personality

Toddler girl crying because of arguing parents in the background. Bad parenting is creating stress on the child.

Children that go through bad parenting suffer from relationship problems, anxiety, depression, and aggression, among other negative outcomes.

Here are the effects of consistent criticism or physical violence on a child:

Negative self-perception

According to a psychotherapist, Dana Dorfman, “Parents who consistently name-call their child deeply impact their child’s sense of self and contribute to long-standing self-narrative and self-fulfilling prophecies.”

Such children start harboring negative feelings towards people around them and become harshly self-critical.

Control issues and rebellion

Children who are made to strictly follow the rules or are strictly punished for disobedience can have control of others, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other anxious behaviors.

Some children grow rebellious and fight with their parents, break the rules and engage in negative behaviors.

Emotional and behavioral problems

Harsh parenting like verbal and physical threats, yelling, and hitting can result in children having emotional and behavioral issues, such as aggressiveness.

Takeaway

Parenting itself is challenging both emotionally and mentally, but it’s a burden that parents must bear with tolerance, consistency, love, empathy, and understanding.

Listen to your child’s concerns and frustrations, validate their feelings and explain that they are right to feel the way they are feeling. Teach them how to control their emotions and not to act out.

Never neglect your child emotionally and physically; always be there for them. Hitting your child to discipline them is never the solution and can only result in resentment, anger, emotional and behavioral issues. Also, avoid ignoring your children when you are angry, for it will only confuse them. Instead, explain to them why you are angry and tell them that you still love them.

Let me know what advice you have for other parents, in the comments below!

Hajira is a certified editor, an experienced and thoughtful writer, and a mother of two. Her deliberate passion for writing convinced her to become a writer along with her mom duties. Driven by her passion for writing, she takes pride in providing the best possible. She aims to incite and provoke enthusiasm in her readers.

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