Why a Balanced Parenting Style Works

A Balanced Parenting Style is where love, discipline and respect intersect

A Balanced Parenting Style REALLY works.

Twenty-five years of study have shown that parents who have a strong, positive connection with their kids and who use a Balanced Parenting Style have teenagers that are better off overall.

  • Balanced parents are warm and involved, but firm and consistent in setting and enforcing limits.
  • Balanced parents have relationships with their teens that include trust, mutual respect, and strong and open communication.
  • Balanced parents also encourage and give their teenagers the freedom to express their own ideas, beliefs and individuality.

Balanced parenting works because it does three things.

Firstly, your warmth, love and involvement make your teen more open to your influence.

Secondly, by providing structure through limits and consequences, you help your teen develop the ability to regulate his behaviour and make good decisions.

Thirdly, an open, two-way communication in your relationship helps your teen develop the thinking and social skills needed to succeed outside the family.

Research has found that teens with parents who are overly harsh, or permissive and inconsistent, or lacking in warmth are MORE likely to engage in risky behaviours, including drug, alcohol or tobacco use.

Studies show that adolescents raised by Balanced parents do better in school, report less depression and anxiety, have higher self-esteem and self-reliance, and are less likely to engage in all types of risky problem behaviour, including drug and alcohol use, sex or violence.

Balanced parents have high, but reasonable expectations for their teens. While teens take risks for many reasons, including a need for excitement, curiosity or because of social pressures, parents can play a role by putting too much pressure on teens to perform in school, sports or other activities. Research shows that overly demanding parents can put their teens at risk of using drugs or alcohol. Too much stress can lead kids to seek an unhealthy escape from their high-pressure lives.

Every adolescent is unique.

That being said, keep in mind that one-size parenting doesn’t fit all. Every teen is unique and some may need more rules and discipline than others.

Circumstances change with teens all the time. There may be new risks, signs of trouble, or other reasons to have more rules, such as a less safe neighbourhood.

It’s up to you to understand what is best for your teen.

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Credits/Research

For Assessment:
Shoulder to Shoulder: Raising Teens Together. www.shouldertoshoulderminnesota.org
If Children Are the Future...Parents Hold the Key! Parenting Style Profile. RURAL
Steinberg, L. (2001). We know some things: Parent-adolescent relationships in retrospect and prospect. Presidential Address. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 11(1), 1-19.
Baumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. Journal of Early Adolescent, 1, 56-95; Baumrind, D. (1989). Rearing competent children. In W. Damon (Ed.), Child development today and tomorrow (pp. 349-378). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass;
Steinberg (2001); Lamborn, S., Mounts, N., Steinberg, L., & Dornbusch, S. (1991). Patterns of competence and adjustment among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglectful homes. Child Development, 62, 1049-1065
Steinberg, L., Lamborn, S., Darling, N., Mounts, N.,&Dornbusch, S. (1994). Over-time changes in adjustment and competence among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglectful families. Child Development, 65, 754-770
Steinberg, L., Lamborn, S., Dornbusch, S.,&Darling, N. (1992). Impact of parenting practices on adolescent adjustment: Authoritative parenting, school involvement, and encouragement to succeed. Child Development, 63, 1266-1281.
Hair, E.C., Moore, K.A., Garrett, S., Kinukawa, A., Lippman, L.,&Michelson, E. (2005). The parent-adolescent relationship scale. In L. Lippman (Ed.), Conceptualizing and measuring indicators of positive development: What do children need to flourish? New York: Springer.
Blum, R.,&Reinhart, P.M. (1997). Reducing the risk: Connections that make a difference in the lives of youth. Youth Studies Australia, 16(4), 37-50. Online at allaboutkids.umn.edu/cfahad/Reducing_the_risk.pdf;
Resnick, M.D., Bearman, P.S., Blum, R.W., Bauman, K.E., Harris, K.M., Jones, J., et. al. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278(10), 823-832.
Hundleby, J.D.,&Mercer, G.W. (1987). Family and friends as social environments and their relationship to young adolescents’ use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, 151-164; Blum, R.,&Reinhart, P.M. (1997); Resnick, M.D., Bearman, P.S., et al. (1997).
Whitbeck, L.B., Hoyt, D.R., Miller, M.,&Kao, M.Y. (1992). Parental support, depressed affect and sexual experience among adolescents. Youth and Society, 24(2), 166-177.
Borkowsky, J., Ramey, S.,&Bristol-Power, M. (Eds.) (2002). Parenting and the child’s world: Influences on academic, intellectual, and social-emotional development. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Umberson, D. (1992). Relationships between adult children and their parents: Psychological consequences for both generations. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, 664-674; Amato, P. (1994). Father-child relations, mother-child relations, and offspring psychological well-being in early adulthood, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56, 1031-1042.
Ary, D.V., Duncan, T.E., Biglan, A., Metzler, C.W., Noell, J.W.,&Smolkowski, behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 27(2), 141-150.