Single Parenting Styles and Your Children’s Manners

Single Parenting Styles and Children’s Manners

Think your single parenting style impacts your children’s manners?

You bet.

The way we describe our interactions with our children could be quite different from the reality that exists. Research has shown there’s often a gap between intended behaviors and communication, and how they’re actually perceived and interpreted by our children.

Understanding our parental style and working to make it even better is crucial to providing a foundation for happier lives for the family. As solo parents, leveraging this knowledge is key to supporting our children in making intelligent, more socially conscious decisions as they grow and mature.

Our daily interactions cumulatively impact children significantly. As we all know, children mirror and mimic the behaviors of their primary role models. For solo parents, we’re it.

Manners in previous decades consisted of showing respect to elders, often being seen and not heard, keeping elbows off the table, and not embarrassing the parents. Today having “manners” means so much more.

The modern world consists of many different types of individuals, each with their own values, beliefs, and normative behaviors. Manners of today, doesn’t just reflect being polite to adults or having good dinner etiquette, it means being inclusive, exhibiting kindness, and showing respect to others who are not like ourselves.

Having such values not only creates conditions for children being more accepting of others, it firmly roots a solid foundation for traits such as adaptability, flexibility, and accommodation. Each are essential components for thriving personally, socially, and eventually professionally.

Is there a parenting approach supportive of prosocial behaviors?

Absolutely!

In an examination of longitudinal studies of youth and their parents from the United States, Taiwan, and New Zealand, researchers Human-Hendricks & Roman (2014) found negative parenting practices lead to a child’s antisocial behavior.

Poor Parenting Behaviors Reflect…

Lack of Consistency

Harsh Interaction Style

Conflictive Style

Low Child/Parent Attachment

Conversely, if positive parent modeling was exhibited, the opposite effect was created.

Prosocial Behaviors Stem From…

Engaging Together in Activities

Creating Child/Parent Bonds
Nurturing

Providing Emotional Safety

A child’s future is most often reflected by the combination of environment, genetics, and inherent disposition. While external influences are incredibly influential in a child’s life, particularly during adolescence, the main influence over behavior is the relationship they have with their primary role model—the solo parent.

While it may be a parent’s tendency to overcompensate for feelings of guilt from the child being raised within a single parent home, the key is to not lean too far on the scale of either being too strict, nor lenient. A secure balance of both family and external influences reflects higher self-esteem in children, and a decrease in deviant behaviors. These children also have better social skills and decision-making abilities.

According to Baumrind (1966, 1968, 1978) there are three parental styles: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative.


Authoritarian Parenting Style

A rule driven parent-child relationship style, this approach supports minimal autonomy of the child, nor individualism.

When a child disobeys the parent, the punishment is severe and swift.

This style is undoubtedly the least reflective of current times, as it doesn’t allow an exchange of ideas nor opinions. The only viewpoint that’s supported is that of the parent.

Permissive Parenting Style

Minimal rules and freedom to engage and explore reflects the permissive style.

While exhibiting great love for the child, the parental style of lack of boundaries or structures doesn’t necessarily teach children how the world works. Children must learn if rules are broken, there are consequences.

Authoritative Parenting Style

The most positive parenting style, this incorporates structure and rules, as well as consequences if they are not followed, however, also allows for autonomy and independence.

This style is highly involved and loving, encouraging, and accepting. It focuses on social competence and teaching the difference between right and wrong.

These descriptions for children raised in this manner are traditionally motivated, socially receptive, high self-esteem, and mature.

While the two styles of authoritarian and authoritative can sound interchangeably confusing, the distinctions are significant, as are the outcomes for children.

Children need structure, rules, safety, and love to thrive. It provides them with a more confident sense of self. When a child feels secure and confident, they are less likely to bully, engage in deviant behaviors, and lash out in disrespectful ways.

If you want your child to embrace kindness, compassion, and empathy for others, they must have a role model that exhibits these values.

Manners are something all parents strive for! We just need to be sure we ourselves live these values through our behaviors on a daily basis.


Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behaviour. Journal of Child Development, 37, 887-907.
Baumrind, D. (1968). Authoritarian vs authoritative control. Adolescence, 37, 255-272.
Baumrind, D. (1978). Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. Journal of Youth & Society, 9, 239-276.
Human-Hendricks, A. R., & Roman, N. V. (2014). What is the link between antisocial behavior of adolescents and parenting: A systemic review of parental practices to manage antisocial behavior. Journal Of Communications Research, 6(4), 439-464.

“While external influences are incredibly influential in a child’s life, the main influence over behavior is the relationship they have with their primary role model.”
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