So far, we’ve discussed two parenting styles, the authoritarian parent and the permissive. Think of authoritarian as a dictatorship. Plenty of rules with little display of love or reasons for the given rules. Permissive parents overly adore their children, allowing too much leeway and setting few boundaries.
The Uninvolved Parent
As with all parenting styles, the uninvolved parent has a range of behaviors. The primary behaviors are self-explanatory. The parent tends to be uninvolved in their child’s life. Showing little love, setting few boundaries, and little discipline.
Sometimes an uninvolved parent’s life is too busy, at least from their perspective. Maybe their job is too much to handle, they just can’t find time to spend with their children, or often times they have drug or alcohol abuse issues of their own.
Two common reasons parents use this style are because they were brought up this way themselves, or they are too busy dealing with their own problems to adequately care for their own children.
If the parents were brought up in an uninvolved environment, they may lack the skills needed for other parenting styles. If they were never taught, then unless they go out of their way to learn other techniques, they will continue the cycle with their own children.
If an uninvolved parent doesn’t set boundaries for their child, the child will never learn to set their own boundaries. They don’t learn the social repercussions for participating in negative behaviors. The child of an uninvolved parent has a higher likelihood to have drug or alcohol abuse problems later in life. They are more likely to participate in dangerous behaviors like breaking the law or having multiple sexual partners without protection. Having an uninvolved parent increases the likelihood of these things happening. It’s not a guarantee.
An uninvolved parent may believe they are teaching children to fend for themselves. In a way, this may be true. They teach them to live only for themselves, just to survive, but never really teaching them to live.
The children might never learn to truly provide for themselves. They don’t learn about reward systems for hard work. If they feel the pride of accomplishment, they might try to share it with their parent only to be turned away, or be told to leave the parent alone.
There are always occasions in a parent’s life when they can’t give a child the attention they prefer. This is acceptable because when they do have time, the child will learn this is only temporary, that their parent still loves them and is just busy. Even giving the child a hug and explaining why you’re too busy can work wonders. They key is the quality of time, not necessarily the quantity.
Having another parent, a loved one, or family member in the home can help in this situation. During those times when one parent is too busy, the other can be a healthy balance.
Are you an uninvolved parent? Do you have a loved one in your home to help balance the lack of attention? Are you a busy parent struggling to find time to spend with your child? Are you willing to share your own techniques you’ve learned to combat these problems?
Stay tuned for the final parenting technique, authoritative parenting, often considered the most balanced style.
Below are links to psychological studies about the effects of uninvolved and other parenting styles.
Codependency and Parenting Styles in the Journal of Adolescent Research
Associations Between Parenting Styles and Teen Driving, Safety-Related Behaviors and Attitude in The Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics