The way that people have to educate their children can vary widely between them, although educational styles have been classified into four groups: democratic, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful. The use of one style or another may have a significant impact, not only on the behavior of children, but also on issues such as the relationship between parents and children and classroom performance.
Educational styles are measured taking into account two dimensions: on the one hand, affection and communication that parents show towards their children, and on the other hand, the level of demand and control their behavior.
They are parents whose educational style has a high level in both dimensions. That is, show affection to their children, are sensitive to their needs, are interested in their business and their lives, speak with them, promote dialogue in the family and explain things to children. While also they exert a high level of requirements and control. That is, they impose clear rules that children must comply and which are adapted to their abilities, as well as schedules and routines.
These standards are maintained over time and children are explained whenever necessary. compliance with those rules firmly but not absolutely rigid is required. When children misbehave, these parents explain to them why they have done wrong and what is the correct way to behave.
The democratic style is best suited for all educational styles. The children of these parents have higher self-esteem, exhibit greater social competence, have more self-control and better tolerate frustration. They are more able to postpone immediate gratification of their desires (ie, are less picky eaters) and are more independent. They also have higher academic achievement.
Parents who use this style of education show low levels of affection / communication and high levels of demand / control. They communicate less with their children, are less predisposed to be interested in their lives, desires or interests and express little affection for them. They establish standards that are based on the idea that they know what is best for children and give no explanation, exercising control the child’s behavior based on their authority.
These children have lower self-esteem and depend heavily on parental control, so that when parents are not present, can have a bad behavior. That is, they have not learned to internalize the rules, but only to comply by external constraint or fear of punishment, since these parents do not explain to their children why it is right or wrong to do something.
These children often also have difficulty delaying gratification of their desires, being more impulsive. That is, if they want something, they want it immediately, which also reflects the lack of internal control.
They are parents who have high levels of affection and communication but low levels of demand and control. Therefore, they are the parents of typical children “darlings”. These parents are loving, talk to their children, give them explanations (often more than necessary, because they want not only the children know why the rules, but also agree with them and wish to fulfill them in all times, which is often impossible).
They are parents that they tend to adapt to their children. They are mainly concerned about meeting the needs of their children and give them everything they need, but just impose some rules and monitor their compliance.
Since it is very important for the proper development of children that have adequate discipline and enforce clear rules to structure their lives and help them acquire an internal control of their behavior, these children will also present problems. Although they tend to be happy, creative and life, they have trouble tolerating frustration and delay the satisfaction of their desires. They are capricious, difficulty controlling their impulses, not usually persist in the tasks they tend to give up easily, expect everything to be easy for them and can appear angry if it is not.
These parents have low levels in both dimensions. Just get involved with your children, do not show affection, and sensitivity to the needs of their children is very low or zero. As for the rules and supervision, they can go from one extreme to another, from the absence of standards and control the behavior of their children, to reactions of violent control generally motivated because the behavior of children make them some inconvenience to them .
These children are those with more problems. They have low self-esteem and identity issues, problems and conflicts in their relationships with others and self-control problems.
In a study led by psychologist George W. Holden, of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, audio recordings were made to 37 families for six days to know when and how to beat their children. It is the first study that provides real-time data on the physical punishment of children.
The recordings captured between 12 and 36 hours of activities that mothers usually performed with their children, and bathe them, give them dinner, etc.
The researchers found that physical punishment is widely used, reaching sometimes for reasons as absurd as a child tries to turn the page of a story while his mother is reading used. In another recording, a mother hits her daughter eleven times 3 years for fighting with his sister.
The study participants came from various social classes, were of different races and agreed to bring the audio recording apparatus every evening for six days.
The reactions of children to physical punishment ranged from them: they could mourn, have tantrums, whine and a few did not seem to react.
When meeting with investigators, mothers had no problem talking openly of physical punishment, because they considered it a form of normal and necessary discipline. “Mistakenly believe it is an effective technique for getting children to behave well,” says Holden.
Between 70 and 90% of parents spank their children and it is a widespread practice in all countries.
The reason that is so often used is that it produces an immediate obedience from children. However, Holden explains, long-term effects are harmful. Children who are physically punished are more likely to be aggressive toward other children or adults and, over time, tend to be more difficult and less obedient, have different behavioral problems and problems can develop anxiety or depression. There is also an increased risk of physically abusing their partners in adulthood, of mistreating children or antisocial behavior.
Most cases of child abuse often starts with an attempt to discipline the child by physical punishment that was just out of control. “For that reason alone, it is not a good idea to use corporal punishment,” says Holden. Those who should be concerned are mainly those children who are physically punished frequently. “Children need discipline, but focused on mutual respect and love, without potentially damaging the child with physical punishment.”
No psychologist specializing in child psychology accepts physical punishment as an appropriate technique to educate children, especially considering that there are many more appropriate and easier to learn and use by parents alternative techniques.