If you've read my poem, To Spoil the Fertile Sod, you may have recognized the parenting style used by your own parents or by someone whom you love and respect. Authoritarian parents focus on "what is right" without getting a grasp on the dynamics in the child's heart that drives their behavior. They often discipline harsly and without regard for the tenderness of young child's heart. Most Authoritarian parents invest ample time and attention into the lives of their children, but their parenting is driven more by the need to see their children do well than the need to pour their love into them. They have done their best but missed the mark. This kind of parenting, though often well intentioned, will drive a child from the heart of their parent, and if their parent is religious as well as authoritarian, it may well drive the child away from the parent's God as well.
The second destructive parenting style is the permissive style. The parents may be intimately invested in the lives of their children, or on the other hand they may be neglectful of them, but either way they allow them to do pretty much as they please, within loosely defined limits. The permissive parent will either focus on making the child happy at the expense of good parenting values, or become so wrapped up in his (or her) own affairs that he (or she) simply doesn't take the time to parent the child properly. The scriptures address this type of parenting, "A child left to himself will bring bring his mother to shame." Proverbs 29:15
The third destructive parenting style is the inconsistent (or chaotic) style. In this style of parenting the child never knows what to expect. He is often given freedom or privileges that are not good for him, and then punished for misusing those privileges even though he shouldn't have been given them in the first place. The inconsistent parent may be insecure or confused about his parenting skills, or he may be caught up in problems of his own, marriage problems, addicitions, or economic challenges that distract him from the needs of his child.
There are many other destructive parenting styles, but these are three of the most prevalent in our society.
I think every parent slips into one or more of these parenting styles at times, but the wise parent doesn't stay there. He (or she) is sensitive to the needs of his child and soon realizes when his parenting is negatively affecting his child.
Some of us have had to work harder than others to learn good parenting skills because our parents modeled negative styles more than positive ones. Working harder is not always a bad thing, sometimes it causes us to dig more deeply into the wisdom provided by our teachers--men and women who have learned from the lives and outcomes of hundreds or thousands of individuals thorugh counseling or pastoring families over the years.
King Solomon again provides a word to the wise: "In the multitude of counselors there is wisdom." Seek wisdom from those who have devoted their lives to the development of emotional and spiritual growth with the desire to share it with you. Read good books by proven authors and watch your children blossom in body, mind, and spirit.