Every parent wants the best for their child. How we lead and guide our children throughout their childhood is a blend of instinct, experience and planning.

We often struggle to describe how we do what we do. However, as a parent you are likely to have a signature style that guides your relationship with your child. You may recognise yourself in one or several of these pen portraits.

1. Perfect parents: for you only the best will do. Perfect parents set themselves very high standards and expect only the best from their children. They constantly wonder about how to make things better. They are not easily satisfied with what they have now. They tend to be strongly in control. Their decisions are driven more by their values than by their child's wishes or requests. There is a significant risk of undervaluing real achievements that fall short of perfection. The children of perfect parents can become discouraged and opt out or can become very anxious about meeting expectations.

2. Best friend parents: you adore your children and everything about them is beyond reproach. You constantly wonder how to please your children and are very receptive to suggestions. You love to be loved and are devastated when your child is upset or critical of you. You can find it hard to lead and offer guidance and firm boundaries. Love and the quality of the bond with your child is the driving force. Where the child has a strong temperament, you might find that roles become reversed and you get given the orders.

3. Live for today parents: you are energetic and love to get involved with what your children do. Their hobbies and interests become a family concern which drives how the family operates. Your home is well stocked with tasty treats and new toys and gadgets. The focus is on what is happening now and you can find planning for the future difficult.

4. Focused on the future parents: Poles apart from the live for today parent, you tend to be very driven and goal directed with a long wish list of what you want to achieve. Nothing is too much trouble and you will go without today, in order to achieve plans for the future. There is a tendency to get anxious about what might go wrong and spoil plans. Life today can be a bit dull and frugal because so much is invested in the future. Children may follow this pattern and be self motivated and goal directed but sometimes they rebel against the austerity.

5. These are our rules parents: these families have definite rules and clear boundaries. Communication is open and direct; there are no surprises or U turns. As parents they tend to be calm, confident and in control but can be inflexible and miss out on opportunities that don't fit into their system. Children in these families may find it difficult to become independent and to make decisions.

6. Rational parents: these families also have an agreed code and a set of positive rules which guide them. However they also value discussion and want their children to be able to weigh up situations to make a good decision. The family often finds that life puts challenges their way to which there is no ready made answer, this is where the ability to listen and consider each others viewpoints comes to the fore.

In two parent families, there is no guarantee that both parents share the same style. You may each have different views of what works. This can be a real asset when partners have complimentary approaches as long as there is clear agreement about taking on specific tasks. Parents with differing styles do need to be prepared to compromise to avoid conflict.

Each style of parenting has its advantages and its firm believers. From research into emotional well being we know that children primarily need to feel truly loved and secure. This is what gives children a great start in life. Children need to know that their parents have their best interests in mind and love them unconditionally.

Author's Bio: 

Jeni Hooper is a Child and educational psychologist specialising in helping children to find their best selves and to flourish. Her book What Children need to be Happy, Confident and Successful: Step by Step Positive Psychology to Help Children Flourish is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and can be viewed here http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Children-Happy-Confident-Successful/dp/1849...
Jeni can be contacted at info@jenihooper.com or visit my website www.jenihooper.com