Every year over 4 million children are born in the United Sates alone. As a result, this means that each year there are millions of new parents as well. It is important to realize that with each set of new parents, each will have their own opinion on how to properly raise their children. More specifically, parents tend to have different views on how to effectively discipline their children. When it comes to discipline, one of the most common parenting styles today is Authoritative parenting. I recently came across an article that displayed how one parent used the Authoritative parenting style in an ineffective manner. It is my goal to highlight the fine line between how authoritative parenting can be effective versus the way it can be detrimental to both a child’s mental and physical health.
Before examining a specific case in which this method is used, it is important to understand what can be classified as Authoritative parenting. Authoritative parents typically establish rules and guidelines and in return expect their children to follow them. However, this method is more lenient than the concept of “what I say goes.” When a child doesn’t meet the expectations and rules of an authoritative parent, the parents tend to be more nurturing and forgiving. The goal of these parents is to be assertive but not restrictive. Also, when is comes to discipline it they choose to support rather than to punish.
This topic caught my attention when an Australian teenager and her mother caused quite a buzz on social media. The incident began when the teen allegedly preformed a streak of disobedient behaviors that sent her mother off the deep end. Enraged at her daughter’s actions, the mother sought out to punish her daughter by selling her “One Direction” concert tickets that she had received as a gift. Most readers agreed that this was an appropriate example of Authoritative parenting; however the mother’s description that accompanied the tickets on eBay is where some questioned her intentions. The mother, quite frankly, set out to inform all interested buyers of the disobedient behaviors of her daughter by posting,
“YOU all LIED to us about sleep overs so you could hang like little trollops at an older guys HOUSE????? Pffft!! I find it HIGHLY amusing that you girls think you invented this stuff. Tricks like this on OUR parents is how HALF of you were conceived…”
Later in the post she goes on to state that she is not meant to be her daughters friend, but rather her mother. She also mentions that it is her job as a parent to provide her daughter with proper boundaries that enable her to become a responsible adult. These boundaries that the mother mentions are similar to those of an Authoritative parent. However, the attitude in which she sought out to discipline her child crossed the fine line between what defines effective and ineffective Authoritative parenting.
When examining this specific case it is easy to relate to the mother and understand her frustration. In the same sense, it is easy for me as a teenager myself to sympathize with the daughter because of the public humiliation that was involved with her mother’s post. Regardless of the mother’s intentions, it is questionable whether she was aware of the possible repercussions of her actions. According to Journal of Family Violence, “Parental use of aggressive discipline, specifically psychological aggression, has been shown to increase the risk for a number of problem behaviors in children and adolescents later on in life.” In other words, this means the aggressive manner in which the mother sought out to enforce her boundaries could increase the likelihood of “problem behaviors” in the future. These same problem behaviors could lead to actions that could affect the child for the rest of their lives in both a mental and physical aspect.
In retrospect of this situation, I am certain that the teenager’s mother regrets some of her actions. If she were faced with this situation again, there would be several ways for her to be a more effective Authoritative parent. When it came to the mother enforcing her boundaries with her daughter, it would have been more effective for her to sell the tickets without venting on the eBay post. The mothers choice of making the inappropriate post will not only lead to more behavior issues with the daughter, but also the mother has lost all sense of maturity and sagacity with other adults. Another way that she could have been a more effect authoritative parent would have been to supportive of her daughter rather then to shame her on the web in front of millions of viewers.
As and adolescent myself, I can appreciate the approach that my own parents have taken when it comes to disciplining me. I think in many cases, such as the one discussed here, parents can often lose track of the influence they have on their children. Regardless of a parent’s opinion on discipline, it is important to acknowledge the fact that parents can have a positive or negative impact upon a child’s life. One of the most common parenting styles, Authoritative parenting, has a fine line that can determine how to effectively use this method. This is a significant factor when it comes to affecting a child’s physical and mental maturation and should be evaluated whenever disciplining a child.
For my original blog post on this story click here.