Friday, March 2, 2012

Middle Childhood and Parent's Influence on Self Esteem

Children's self-esteem is a very fragile and shapeable thing.

A parent's parenting style has a large influence on their children's self-esteem. There are four main parenting types: Uninvolved, Permissive, Authoritarian, and Authoritative. 

Permissive parents rarely discipline their children, but are very encouraging in their child’s endeavors.  This leads to a child whose self-esteem is unrealistically high.  Children with extremely high self-esteem tend to be aggressive and lash out when they meet a task that is challenging.

Authoritarian parents are the exact opposite of permissive parents.  Authoritarian parents frequently discipline their children, often harshly, and rarely praise or “love on” their children.  This type of parenting leads to children with extremely low self-esteem.  The children of these parents tend to need constant reassurance.  Children with low self-esteem have a higher likelihood of being anti-social.

Authoritative parents are considered the best type of parents.  Authoritative parents, like authoritarian, establish rules and expect them to be followed.  However, when the child is not compliant, the parent disciplines, but explains why they were disciplined and reasons with the child.  Children of authoritative parents feel good about themselves. They are taught to set worthwhile and reachable goals.

Before you begin to discipline your child, I think it is best to implement the stop light method of reasoning.
           Red light: Stop all actions.
           Yellow light: Think of your options, and how they will effect your child and the situation you are in.
           Green light: Decide on a solution and act on it.  If you see that it is not going to be a successful outcome, return to red light.

Holli Mason


  1. Holli,
    I have two daughters. My oldest daughter has a relatively low self-esteem and my youngest daughter has an extremely high self-esteem. After learning about the different parenting styles, I try to think back on what I did differently with each child. I really think we disciplined them both the same way. There was very little or no spanking at our house. I do believe the temperament of the child also has a lot to do with their self-esteem.
    Susan Davis

  2. I most definitely agree with you, Susan. As I am learning, there is no right or wrong answer, or one determining factor when it comes to the human species.

    I think it is important for parents to realize how their interactions with their children affect their self-esteem.


  3. I've never heard of or seen the stoplight approach. It's a good idea. Where did you get it from Holli?

    Katie Meehan

  4. I watch children become adults and notice them overcompensating for their parents mistakes by going in an extreme opposite direction. Instead of a healthy balance you get a pendulum that swings back and forth.

    I like the red, yellow, green light idea. It should be made into a bookmark distributed in parenting classes.

    Angela Johnson

  5. I think the stoplight method is wonderful and think more parents should use it. There are many times that I have seen where the parent gets upset and just spanks the child right there. Sometimes the parents need a time out themselves before they dicipline their children. You should never dicipline your children when you angry. As for the self esteem, parents play a huge role. Society has given us this false belief of what we should "look like" and kids now more than ever feel like they have to conform to this. We should encourage our kids to embrace what they were given.