The Parenting Style that Builds Greatest Resilience in Kids

Dr Michael E. Bernard

Founder, You Can Do It! Education

Emeritus Professor, California State University, Long Beach
Former Professor, Melbourne Graduate School for Education, Melbourne University
Doctorate of Educational Psychology

Kids are often better than adults at bouncing back and some kids seem to be born with a temperament that provides them with a talent for resilience and an ability to quickly move on from setbacks.

However, according to a group of researchers*, one of the factors that contribute to the degree of resilience in kids is not the temperament they are born with but rather, their parents’ style of parenting. In a recent study, researchers investigated the relationship between parenting styles and resilience including which style seems to build resilience.

Researchers looked at three styles of parenting including:

  1. ‘Acceptance-involvement’ (warm, firm, involved and sensitive to kids’ changing needs)
  2. ‘Psychological autonomy granting (democratic discipline and not pushing kids to comply with rules)
  3. ‘Behavioural strictness-supervision’ (shaping, controlling and evaluating the behaviour and attitudes of the child in accordance with set standards of conduct that are usually absolute)

The main question of the study was to ascertain which parenting style can predict resilience. The effect of the gender of children in this relationship was also examined.

* Source: Hamidreza Zakeri et al., Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5 (2010) pp1067-1070.

Things you can do

“Life at times is filled with stress, risks and adversity, which has the potential to sidetrack kids from developing into happy, healthy adults. What appears to determine the difference between those who continue on successfully and those who do not, is resilience. Our parenting style, and an ‘authoritative’ style in particular, contributes significantly to supporting a healthy family relationship and to building resilience in our kids, empowering them to cope with stress, trauma and general life pressures."

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