CLEVELAND — A recent survey commissioned by Gerber and conducted by OnePoll showed half of more than 2,000 parents of children over the age of 3 said the pandemic has permanently changed the way they parent.
“As we exit from the pandemic, more people are getting vaccinated and taking time to pause for a moment and take inventory of where your parenting is at," said Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers.
She said it's important to take a look at how you parented prior to and during the pandemic and understand what kind of parenting you want to do moving forward.
“To continue these benefits, found from the pandemic, we may want to consider what is known as mindful parenting. Mindful parenting is responding to your child's behaviors and actions in a very conscious, and present way instead of simply reacting,” she said.
There are four main styles of parenting identified in the 1960s by psychologist Diana Baumrind, who studied preschool-age children and their behaviors.
The first is authoritative, which offers structure and rules with a loving and nurturing approach. The second is authoritarian, which involves very strict rules. The third is permissive, which gives children a lot of freedom. The fourth is neglectful, where a parent is more detached and uninvolved.
"One of the biggest lessons for parents during the pandemic is that they realized they didn't have to identify or strictly adhere to one type of parenting style. Before the pandemic, they may have been more authoritarian and during the pandemic moved into a more permissive style. They let go of bedtimes or gave their child more access to screen time than they would have in the past," Albers said. "Really successful parenting has been shown in research to be a combination of both a nurturing environment and providing structure boundaries and consequences."
The pandemic also allowed parents to spend more time with their children and better understand what type of parenting may work best for them, according to Albers.
"The most effective type of parenting and mindful parenting is understanding the match between the parenting style, and what the child brings to the table. Some children are natural rule followers. They need structure, guidance and specific roles. Other children are more creative, and when they have a rule, they push back. So really being mindful of how does your child respond to different styles what works for them, what do they thrive under and what do they push away," said Albers.