What is parental guidance?

Parental guidance is a method of providing help and guidance to parents for them to be more effective in raising their children and adolescents/teenagers and to manage all the challenges with meeting a child/adolescents evolving emotional and psychological needs. Additionally, through the vehicle of therapy, parents are assisted in comprehending their own behaviour in specific situations and why this may or may not encourage or discourage specific behavioural or emotional challenges in their children and adolescents. Therapy can assist parents in identifying the present emotional climate within the parent-child connection or dynamic and will isolate the specific parenting styles, parenting practices and attitudes that are healthy (strengths) or unhealthy (weaknesses). As one of the most crucial systems in a child's life, assisting the parent in correcting unhealthy or problematic parenting methods can lead to positive shifts in the parent-child system.

Parenting Styles:

There are four primary parenting styles  that originated with Diana Baumrind (1960s) and were expanded upon by Maccoby and Martin (1983) as follows:

  • Authoritative: For most children, this is the most effective method of parenting. Authoritative parents have high expectations and ambitions for their children. These are balanced with an awareness of their children's limitations. These parents are open to communicating in a variety of ways. This may make it easier for parents and children to communicate. The bi-directional communication indicative of this parenting style fosters open communication, competent social skills and provides the platform for a secure attachment.
  • Neglectful (or uninvolved): A lack of time spent with a child and a disinterest in a child might be a sign of neglectful parenting. Neglectful parents may be unfamiliar with their children's teachers and peers since uninvolvement in their children’s lives is a key feature of this type of parenting. They may be unconcerned about their children's basic requirements and may even be indifferent to their needs. Long-term, this sort of parenting can be harmful to children since it may lead to delinquency and substance use disorders .
  • Permissive (or indulgent): Permissive Parents are nurturing, loving and supportive of their children. However, they have the potential to go too far with this. Permissive parents will go to any length to avoid disagreement. They set very few rules and boundaries, and they generally are reluctant to enforce rules. They hardly ever follow their own rules. This parenting style  can be detrimental to children who thrive on routine.
  • Authoritarian (or disciplinarian): Authoritarian parenting is not the same as authoritative parenting. This parenting style is marked by high levels of parental control and low levels of responsiveness. When it comes to their children, authoritarian parents are stern and demanding, and they demand blind obedience using reasons such as "because I said so". Their parenting style isn't always adaptable. To retain obedience, they usually resort to punishment. There is rarely any room for parents and children to communicate openly. This parenting style evokes rebellion as children get older and develop agency.
1When should parents seek help in the form of parental guidance?
Seeking help when you're overwhelmed by your parenting position, obligations, or other psychological problems or concerns demonstrates courage, strength and understanding that the status quo isn't working.