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Supportive vs. Pressure Parenting: Signs and Benefits

supportive vs. pressure parenting

When we think of parenting styles, we often hear about the two extremes: the permissive and the authoritative. However, another dichotomy is just as important to consider: supportive vs. pressure parenting.

Supportive parents aim to nurture their children's natural strengths, encourage them to be independent, and provide emotional support. On the other hand, pressure parents may have high expectations for their children but may also be more focused on achievement and control.

Signs that Distinguish Pressure Parenting from Supportive Parenting Styles

Supportive Parenting Style

  • You give praise and positive feedback frequently

  • You help your child learn from mistakes and set achievable goals

  • You encourage them to find their interests and passions

  • You provide emotional support and positive reinforcement when they're struggling

  • You allow your child to make their own decisions and help them make informed decisions

Pressure parenting style

  • You push your child to achieve academic, athletic, and extracurricular excellence

  • You place a lot of emphasis on your child's achievements and accomplishments

  • You may criticize your child's performance frequently and may set unrealistic expectations

  • You structure your child's time, chores, and activities tightly

  • You may use threats or punishments to motivate your child

Benefits of Supportive Parenting Over Pressure Parenting:

Self-worth: One of the key differences between supportive and pressure parenting is how they affect a child's self-worth. Supportive parents are more likely to foster a healthy sense of self-esteem by emphasizing their child's strengths, providing praise and recognition, and creating an environment where the child feels valued and loved, even when they make mistakes. On the other hand, pressure parenting can lead to a child feeling like they are only as good as their performance. For example, a pressure parent may praise their child for getting straight A's, but ignore their efforts in other areas, leading the child to feel like they are only valuable when they achieve academic success.

Self-awareness: Supportive parents are also more likely to help their child develop self-awareness, an increasingly important skill today. By allowing the child to explore their interests, emotions, and values, supportive parents can help their child gain a deeper understanding of who they are and what they want. In contrast, pressure parents may encourage their child to pursue certain activities or goals based on their own agenda without considering their child's individual needs and desires.

Motivations: When it comes to motivation, supportive parenting is associated with intrinsic motivation, or the drive to pursue activities for their own sake, while pressure parenting is more closely tied to extrinsic motivation, or the drive to pursue activities for external rewards or recognition. Research has shown that intrinsic motivation is associated with greater creativity and innovation, as well as greater well-being, while extrinsic motivation can be more fragile and may lead to burnout. Supportive parents may help their child develop intrinsic motivation by encouraging them to pursue activities they enjoy rather than focusing solely on achievements or outcomes.

Interactions with others: Another important aspect of parenting is how it affects a child's relationships with others. Supportive parents are more likely to help their child develop strong social skills and empathy as they prioritize creating a supportive, loving environment. On the other hand, pressure parenting can lead to a child feeling anxious or stressed, making it difficult for them to form healthy relationships with others. Moreover, children of pressure parents may feel they need to achieve at all costs to earn validation and approval from others.

How children may treat others: Finally, it's important to consider how parenting styles may impact how children treat others. Supportive parents tend to emphasize kindness, compassion, and empathy in their children while encouraging their independence and self-esteem. In contrast, pressure parenting can lead to a child feeling frustrated, resentful, or angry, which can translate into negative behavior towards others. For example, a child who is constantly criticized by their parents may struggle with anger management issues or may be more likely to bully others.

By actively striving to be emotionally attuned to your children’s needs and providing a loving, supportive environment, we can help kids grow up with the skills they need to succeed and flourish.


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