Art by Sarah Rietz
Transparency Item: The Perspectives section of the Graphic is comprised of articles based on opinion. This is the opinion and perspective of the writer.
Each child-parent relationship is unique. However, in this day and age in the United States, the new-age style of parenting allows for appreciation of other cultures and adapting to the current world while maintaining core values.
This gives children the opportunity to grow without being forced into a specific achievement and are more well-rounded and cultured, as shown in “The Parent Test.”
“The Parent Test” is a competition show that explores the relationship between parents and their children, how parents navigate raising a family and ultimately discovers which parenting style is best through various challenges.
At the heart of “The Parent Test” is the concept of parenting styles, which are the patterns of behavior parents use to raise their children. Psychologists have identified four main parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the effectiveness of a parenting style can depend on a variety of factors, including the child’s personality, the parent’s personality and cultural context.
In this show, these four psychological parenting styles are broken down into more specific categories.
Disciplined Parenting Style
The disciplined style is structured with an emphasis on consequences for bad behavior, according to the show. Unfortunately, this method isn’t the best for all children. Some become antisocial or have behavioral problems such as rebellion, anger, aggression and delinquency. In addition there can sometimes be a lack of communication from the parents to the child about why they are being punished.
Traditional Parenting Style
The traditional style works when the parents are in charge, and kids are expected to obey, according to the show. This can lead to rebellious and sneaky children if they choose push back against obedience.
Intensive Parenting Style
The intensive style showcases parents who expect their kids to make good grades and excel in sports and activities, according to the show. Tying self-worth to achievements can cause burnout and a stunted self-esteem.
Natural Parenting Style
The natural approach sees families enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle, mostly outdoors, according to the show. However, it can lead to a child not understanding the rest of the world isn’t like this –– feeling of isolation and not being open to differences.
Child-led Parenting Style
Child-led parenting style looks to the kids to set boundaries for themselves in an effort to develop self-sufficiency, according to the show. It may remove the parents in situations where they are needed.
New Age Parenting Style
In new age parenting, parents focus on becoming their kids’ friend and mentor instead of being a bossy or imposing parent, according to the show. In addition, this style advocates for appreciation of the various cultures in the United States and being more open-minded and flexible.
Routine Parenting Style
The routine approach adheres to a strict structure to help kids feel safe and know what to expect, according to the show. However, if something interrupts the schedule, the kids may not know how to react and adapt.
High Achievement Parenting Style
High achievement parenting, like the intensive approach, is a method that pushes kids even further out of their comfort zone to ensure they achieve their full potential, according to the show. This can limit the child’s fun time and the best aspects of childhood.
Helicopter Parenting Style
Helicopter parents value supervision over independence for their children, according to the show. This can lead to the children never experiencing adversity and becoming bubble-wrapped.
Free Range Parenting Style
Free range style parents are the opposite of the helicopter parenting style, with kids being allowed to explore and self-supervise, according to the show. This could allow children to be too trusting of strangers.
Strict Parenting Style
Strict parents focus on rules, and those outweigh anything, according to the show. There is more to parenting than just rules, though; too many restrictions may not let children experience mistakes and have growth.
Negotiation Parenting Style
Lastly are the negotiation style parents, where the parents and kids are equals and discuss their feelings and needs so that everyone in the family feels supported, according to the show. However, as seen in the show, negotiation boarders a fine line with bribery.
Understanding Parenting Styles
In “The Parent Test,” parents are put to the test to see how well they know their children and how well they can predict their behavior. The show highlights the importance of understanding your child’s personality and needs, and tailoring your parenting style accordingly.
An authoritative parenting style, which is characterized by clear rules and expectations but also warmth and support, may work well for some children, but may be too restrictive or demanding for others.
Parenting is an area of interest and research in psychology, and there are many factors that can influence a child’s development and well-being. As a Psychology major, I learned in my classes some of these factors include the quality of the parent-child relationship, parental warmth and support, consistent and appropriate discipline and effective communication.
In the show “The Parent Test,” these factors are evaluated through the challenges presented to the parents. Challenges that involve communication or conflict resolution assess the parents’ ability to effectively communicate with their children and handle conflicts in a positive way. Challenges that involve teaching or guiding their children assess the parents’ ability to provide appropriate guidance and support.
Additionally, the show highlights some common parenting challenges, such as balancing work and family life, dealing with behavioral issues and promoting positive behaviors in children. These challenges provide insights into the complexities of parenting and the various factors that can influence a child’s development.
Another important concept in psychology that is relevant to “The Parent Test” is attachment theory, which suggests the bond between a child and their caregiver is crucial for the child’s emotional and social development.
Parents who are responsive to their child’s needs and provide a secure base for them to explore the world are more likely to foster a healthy attachment, which can have long-term benefits for the child’s well-being.
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