It was wonderful to see so many CMS families at our CMS Speaker Series event last week! Thank you for attending and a special thanks to those who extended such a warm welcome to our guests from other area Montessori schools. For those of you who were unable to be there, I’d like to share some of the important points from Dr. Hughes’ presentation.
Hughes identified four types of parenting:
- Authoritarian (High Control/Low Warmth)
- Permissive (Low Control/High Warmth)
- Authoritative (High Control/High Warmth)
- Neglectful (Low Control/Low Warmth)
You can all probably imagine what authoritarian parenting looks like: overly strict, demanding, expecting obedience at all times. Researchers have found that this type of parenting leads to more aggressive, sneaky behavior in children, chronic feelings of shame, lower confidence and lower happiness, etc.
Adults whose parents were authoritarian often go the opposite route and tend to be permissive parents. These types of parents are very loving and nurturing, but tend to be unclear and inconsistent about rules and act more like a friend than a parent. They make excuses for their child’s “bad” behavior and do whatever they can to make their child feel better. The children of permissive parents are often selfish and demanding with poor self-discipline, poor school performance and are generally unhappy. The popularization of this permissive parenting style stemmed from a 1990 study in California which concluded that a “lack of self-esteem is central to the most personal and social ills plaguing our state and nation.” …And the self-esteem movement was born. Books and posters reiterated the belief that praise leads to confidence. “Great Job!” “You’re a winner!” “You can do anything!” This movement has led to parents who feel powerless and frustrated, and children who feel entitled.
This all begs the question, “How should parents behave?” Well, fortunately there has been research to show that Authoritative parenting (High Control/High Warmth) is the way to go. Authoritative parents are warm and nurturing, but also administer fair and consistent discipline. They listen to their children and know what is going on in their children’s lives, and they encourage independence with appropriate limits. As role models, these parents are flexible, reasonable and they expect their children to behave sensibly. This sounds a lot like a Montessori teacher! The children who have authoritative parents are courteous, respectful and perform best at school and work. They are happy, confident leaders with good emotional control and self-regulation. This certainly sounds like the type of child we all want to have!
Dr. Hughes presented many studies to back up these findings. I won’t go through all of them here, but you can find more information HERE on his website or you watch screencasts of his lectures HERE. We will have a screencast of this lecture available to parents, as well. Additionally, you can read his AMI article, Neuropsychology and Montessori.
I hope you all learned something new last Thursday with Dr. Hughes and are looking forward to our next CMS Speaker Series lecture on Feb. 8th with Dr. Angeline Lillard. Mark your calendars now!
Head of School
Chesterfield Montessori School