Your child may not have come with a handbook on how to be a good parent, but you can learn nevertheless. Many factors determine how you choose to parent. The best parenting, like everything else in life, is about balance.
The idea of authoritarian, authoritative and permissive parenting styles was introduced by Diana Baumrind about 1966. In the 1983 edition of the "Handbook of Child Psychology," Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin added the fourth: neglectful parenting.
• Very strict
• High expectations, to the point of over-achievement
• Little dialogue with child about their feelings
• Less responsive to child's needs
• Less socially competent kids because they are used to being led by their parents
TV Authoritarian Parents: Red Forman ("That '70s Show," 1998-2006); Rochelle Rock ("Everybody Hates Chris," 2005-2009) and Bree Van De Camp ("Desperate Housewives," 2004-present)
• Limits with fairness and consistency
• Most recommended type of parenting
TV Authoritative parents: Mike and Carol Brady ("The Brady Bunch," 1969-1974); Howard and Marion Cunningham
("Happy Days," 1974-1984) and Cliff and Claire Huxtable ("The Cosby Show," 1984-1992)
• No warmth and unsupportive
• Provides basic needs only
• Children often don't get to be kids because they have to learn to be independent beyond their years
TV Neglectful Parents: Peg and Al Bundy ("Married with Children," 1987-1997); Victoria Davis ("One Tree Hill," 2003-present); Parents from the "Peanuts" cartoons (1950-2000)
• Involved, but few demands or boundaries
• Can produce "spoiled brats" or impulsive adolescents, prone to drug and alcohol abuse
• Children never learn to control their behavior
TV Permissive/Indulgent Parents: Roseanne Conner ("Roseanne," 1988-1997); Nancy Botwin ("Weeds," 2005-present); Homer and Marge Simpson ("The Simpsons," 1989-present)
• Attachment parents: introduced by Dr. William Sears (former pediatrician, author and parenting expert) places emphasis on emotional bonds and less physical punishment. (http://www.askdrsears.com)
• Christian parenting: uses biblical principles to parent, can take on characteristics of authoritative and/or authoritarian (http://www.focusonthefamily.com)
• Concerted cultivation: introduced by sociologist Annette Lareau in "Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life" (University of California Press, 2003, $24.95); focuses on fostering talents; seen a lot in the middle to upper class
• Helicopter: also known as over-parenting or hyper-parenting; coined by Dr. Foster Cline and Jim Fay in 1990 book "Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility" (NavPress Publishing, updated and expanded edition, 2006, $24.95); occurs when parents are overly involved in every aspect of the child's life, not allowing them to mature or develop in a healthy way; smothering
Slow parenting: Hallmarks of this style is planning and arguing less; childhood is for exploration (http://www.slowmovement.com)
Ten Commandants of Parenting
Psychology professor and author, Dr. Laurence Steinberg, boils it down in "The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting" (Simon & Schuster, 2004, $13)
1. What you do matters. Always ask yourself: what effect will my decision have on my child?
2. You cannot be too loving. Show genuine expressions of warmth and affection.
3. Be involved in your child's life. Be there mentally as well as physically.
4. Adapt your parenting to fit your child. Make sure your parenting keeps pace with your child's development.
5. Establish and set rules. The rules your child has learned from you are going to shape the rules he applies to himself.
6. Foster your child's independence. Setting limits helps your child develop self-control. Encouraging independence helps her develop a sense of self-direction.
7. Be consistent. Your most important disciplinary tool is consistency. Identify your non-negotiables. The more your authority is based on wisdom and not on power, the less your child will challenge it.
8. Avoid harsh discipline. Spanked, hit or slapped children are more prone to fight with other children. They are more likely to be bullies and use aggression to solve disputes with others.
9. Explain your rules and decisions. What is obvious to you may not be evident to a 12-year-old. He doesn't have your priorities, judgment or experience.
10. Treat your child with respect. The best way to get respectful treatment from your child is to treat him respectfully. Children treat others the way their parents treat them. Your relationship with your child is the foundation for her relationships with others.
Books on Parenting
• "Honoring the Child Spirit: Inspiration and Learning from Our Children" by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (Vanguard Press, 2011, $22.95)
• "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua (Penguin Press HC, 2011, $25.95)
• "How We Love Our Kids: The Five Love Styles of Parenting" by Milan and Kay Yerkovich (WaterBrook Press, 2011, $14.99)
• "Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting" by Carl Horne (HarperOne, 2009, $14.99)
• "The Idle Parent: Why Laid Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids" by Tom Hodgkinson (Tarcher, 2010, $15.95)
• "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids" by Bryan Caplan (Basic Books , 2011, $24.99)
• "Raising America: Experts, Parents and a Century of Advice About Children" by Ann Hulbert (Vintage, 2004, $15)
• "Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)" by Lenore Skenazy (Jossey-Boss, 2010, $14.95)
• "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross (Ballantine Books, 2010, $15)
• "The Power of a Praying Parent" (Deluxe Edition) by Stormie Omartian (Harvest House Publishers, 2007, $16.99)
• "Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan, 2001, $14.99)
• "Grooming the Next Generation for Success" by Dani Johnson (Sound Wisdom, 2009, $16.99)