Parenting to Improve a Relationship | Health Eagle

Parenting to Improve a Relationship

by Lori Sciame October 14th, 2022 | Relationships
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teenParents have a tough job. Raising a young child can be emotionally and physically tiring to say the least, but once a child hits the teen years, the task of being a parent becomes even harder.  However, in order to parent successfully, one must admit that the job of being a teen is also difficult.  At this age, a child must go through a seemingly endless stream of developmental stages. That’s not easy to do.  How, then, does a parent do the best job he or she can at this tumultuous time?

Kimberly Kopko, Extension Associate at Cornell University, provides tips on parenting teens in her 2007 article, Parenting Styles and Adolescents.  She suggests that parents become familiar with their parenting style, as well as how their style impacts the parent/teen relationship.

Kopko explains that four basic parenting types: authoritative parents who are warm but firm, authoritarian parents who are cold and highly controlling, permissive parents who are warm but undemanding, and uninvolved parents who are not warm and who do not place any demands on the child.

From these descriptions, one can easily surmise that the authoritative style is the one recommended by professionals, but in reality, a parent may use a combination of the styles for various reasons.  For instance, a permissive parent may actually require that his or her child attend a specific family function, such as a funeral, when usually they require nothing of the child.

What is key in Kopko’s research brief is that the authoritative parenting style lends itself to better relationships between teens and parents.  It follows that a parent who shows love and affection to his child, while still setting reasonable boundaries, will allow a teen to be independent, while still being protected by appropriate limits.  Think of it this way: a teen who has an authoritative parent will not be exposed to as many negative and risky behaviors.

On the other hand, parents who do not show warmth, those who do not remain involved, and those who are extremely controlling will not have strong relationships with their teens.  Imagine the parent who never says, “I love you.” The parent who says instead, “I don’t care what you do,” or “do it because I said so.”  In these instances a teen will not feel loved, and he will feel his opinions have no value.

The effects on the teen from three remaining parenting styles:

Authoritarian: Submissive/dependent children or overly rebellious children.

Permissive: Ego centric children who have trouble with peer relationships.

Uninvolved: Impulsive children who may act the same way with their kids when they become parents themselves.

I realize that there are no perfect parents. Even the most loving, most engaged parents can have weak moments.   Consider the mother who has just worked a twelve hour shift. She feels tired, hungry, and she has a headache.  She may not be in the mood to negotiate a curfew with her teen.

But, as Kopko asserts, being consistently warm and loving, and setting reasonable boundaries goes a long way in improving parent/teen relationships.


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