Your parenting style can affect everything from how much your child weighs to how they feel about themselves. It’s important to ensure your parenting style is supporting healthy growth and development because the way you interact with your children and how you discipline them will influence them for the rest of their life.
During the 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind described three different parenting styles but researchers later added a fourth style known as uninvolved parenting. The four types of parenting styles are:
Each style takes a different approach to raise children and can be identified by a number of different characteristics.
Do parenting styles matter when raising children?
Developmental psychologists have long been interested in knowing how parents affect child development. However, finding the link between the actions of parents and the behavior of children is very difficult. There have been several studies on the parenting style of parents to try and find this connection.
During the early 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschool children. Using parental interviews, naturalistic observation, and other research methods, she identified some important dimensions of parenting. These dimensions include: warmth and nurturing, disciplinary strategies, communication styles, and expectations of maturity and control.
Based on these dimensions, Baumrind suggested that the majority of parents display one of the four different parenting styles.
Types of Parenting
1. Authoritarian Parenting
Authoritarian means requiring someone to strictly obey authority without asking too many questions. Do any of these statements match your behavior?
- You believe children should be seen and not heard.
- While setting and implementing the rules, you believe it’s “my way or the highway.”
- You don’t take your child’s feelings into consideration.
If any of these statements sound true, you might be an authoritarian parent. In Authoritarian style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents.
Authoritarian parents have many rules in place to exert control over their children’s behavior or activities. Their children are expected to follow these rules without making any mistakes. Parents are not interested in negotiating and their focus is on obedience. These parents do not allow kids to get involved in problem-solving challenges or obstacles. Instead, the rules are made by parents and are enforced with little regard for a kid’s opinion.
Authoritarian parents often use punishment as a weapon instead of discipline. So rather than teach a child how to make better choices, they make kids feel sorry and guilty for their mistakes. Kids who grow up with strict authoritarian parents learn to follow the rules and become obedient by nature.
2. Authoritative Parenting
After years of research, child development experts believe that authoritative parenting is the best parenting style among the four styles of parenting. It is a parenting style characterized by high responsiveness and high demands. Authoritative parents are responsive to the child’s emotional needs while having high standards. They set limits and are very consistent in enforcing boundaries. Do any of these statements sound like you?
- You take extra effort to create and maintain a positive relationship with your child.
- You clearly explain the reasons for your rules.
- You enforce rules and explain its consequences, but taking care of your child’s feelings.
If these statements match your behavior, you may be an authoritative parent. Authoritative parents have rules but they also take their children’s opinions into account. They validate their children’s feelings, while also making it evident that the adults are ultimately in charge.
Authoritative parents show interest and invest time into preventing behavior problems at the initial stages. They also use positive discipline strategies to reinforce good behavior, like reward systems.
Researchers have found children with authoritative parents are most likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their opinions. Children raised with authoritative discipline tend to be happy and successful. They are also more likely to be good at making decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own.
3. Permissive Parenting
Permissive parents set very few boundaries and rules and they are reluctant to enforce rules. These parents are warm and indulgent but they do not like to say no or disappoint their children. Do any of these statements match your behavior?
- You set rules but rarely enforce them.
- You don’t give out consequences very often.
- You think little interference is best for your child.
If those statements sound familiar, you might be a permissive parent. With a permissive parenting style the parents are lenient. They often only step in when there is a serious issue. Permissive parents believe in the motto “kids will be kids” and are quite forgiving. Permissive parents usually play more of a friend role than a parent role. They often encourage their children to talk with them about their problems and do not put much effort into discouraging bad behavior.
Children growing up with permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically. These kids also might have behavioral problems as they don’t appreciate authority and rules. The children with permissive parents generally suffer from low-esteem. They are also at a higher risk for health problems, like obesity, because permissive parents rarely limit junk food intake. They are likely to have dental problems because permissive parents often do not enforce good habits, like ensuring a child brushes his teeth.
4. Uninvolved Parenting
It is sometimes referred to as neglectful parenting, as the style is characterized by a lack of responsiveness to a child’s needs and desires. Uninvolved parents make no demands of their children and they are often indifferent, or even completely neglectful. Do any of these statements sound familiar?
- You don’t ask your kid about school or homework.
- You rarely know where your children are and with whom.
- You don’t spend much time with your child.
If those statements sound familiar, you might be an uninvolved parent. Uninvolved parents tend to have little knowledge of what their children are doing. Children may not receive much nurturing, guidance, and parental attention. There tend to be few rules.
Uninvolved parents expect children to raise themselves without much supervision. They do not devote much energy or time into meeting children’s basic requirements.
Occasionally, uninvolved parents may be neglectful but it is not always intentional. Many times, uninvolved parents lack knowledge about child development. And sometimes, they’re simply occupied with other problems, like work, and managing the household. A parent with mental health issues, for example, might not be able to care for a child’s physical or emotional needs consistently. Children having uninvolved parents are likely to struggle with self-esteem issues and tend to perform poorly in school.
Sometimes parents behavior doesn’t make them fit into just one category, so don’t despair if there are times when you tend to be permissive and other times when you are more authoritative. According to studies, the best parenting style is authoritative parenting. But even if you tend to identify with other parenting styles, there are steps you can take to become a more authoritative parent. With commitment and dedication, you can become the best parent for your child, you can maintain a positive relationship with your child while still healthy establishing your authority. And over time, your child will reap the benefits of your authoritative style.