There are numerous parenting styles that parents can adopt in order to raise their children and not all of them are the same. It is important for parents to be aware of the different types of parenting styles before they choose one for themselves.
What is a Parenting Style?
A parenting style is a set of behaviors that a parent incorporates into their interactions with their child. There are many different parenting styles and it is important for parents to know the pros and cons associated with each one before deciding on which ones they prefer.
The four most popular parenting styles are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, uninvolved and neglectful. Parents usually adopt a parenting style based on their own upbringing and the social norms in the society they live in.
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4 Types of Parenting Styles
Parenting styles come in four different categories, each with its own challenges and benefits.
Diane Baumrind, a developmental psychologist in the 1960s created one commonly-referenced categorization of parenting styles. The four Baumrind parenting styles are the following –
Authoritarian parenting: children are expected to obey their parents without question and are punished with heavy consequences for disobedience.
Authoritative parenting: parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s life, they want to hear their child’s thoughts and wants.
Permissive parenting: parents tend to indulge their children, giving them anything they want with little or no limitations. They do not believe that more freedom equals less responsibility.
Uninvolved parenting or neglectful parenting : parents are not involved in their child’s life except by providing financial support
- High demandingness, low responsiveness
- Enforces strict rules with little consideration of their kid’s feelings or social-emotional and behavioral needs
- Often says “because I said so” when their kid questions the reasons behind a rule or consequence
- Communication is mostly one-way — from parent to child
This rigid parenting style uses stern discipline, often justified as “tough love.” In attempt to be in full control, authoritarian parents often talk to their children without wanting input or feedback.
- High responsiveness, high demandingness
- Sets clear rules and expectations for their kids while practicing flexibility and understanding.
- Communicates too frequently and they listen too. Take into consideration their children’s thoughts, feelings and opinions
- Allows natural consequences to occur and help their children learn through their experience
Authoritative parents are nurturing, supportive and often in tune with their children’s needs. They guide their children through open and honest discussions to teach values and reasoning. Kids who have authoritative parents tend to be self-disciplined and can think for themselves.
Permissive parenting or permissive parent is all about –
- High responsiveness, low demandness
- Communicating openly and typically lets their kids decide for themselves, instead of giving direction
- Rules and expectations are either not set or rarely enforced
- It is about keeping a child happy, sometimes at their own expense
Permissive parenting majorly involves being a friend and not a parent. Parents are willing to go to any extend to avoid conflict and are willing to offer anything to kids on their demand.
- Low responsiveness, low demandingness
- Lets their kids mostly fend for themselves, perhaps because they are indifferent to their needs or are uninvolved/overwhelmed with other things
- Offers little nurturance, guidance and attention
- Often struggles with their own self-esteem issues and has a hard time forming close relationships
Sometimes referred to as uninvolved parenting, this style is exemplified by an overall sense of indifference. Neglectful parents have limited engagement with their children and rarely implement rules. They can also be seen as cold and uncaring — but not always intentionally, as they are often struggling with their own issues.
What is the best parenting style for you?
Research suggests that authoritative parents are more likely to raise independent, self-reliant and socially competent kids.
While children of authoritative parents are not immune to mental health issues, relationship difficulties, substance abuse, poor self-regulation or low self-esteem, these traits are more commonly seen in children of parents who strictly employ authoritarian, permissive or uninvolved parenting styles.
Of course, when it comes to parenting, there is no “one size fits all.” You don’t need to subscribe to just one type, as there may be times when you have to use a varied parenting approach — but in moderation.
The most successful parents know when to change their style, depending on the situation. An authoritative parent, for example, may want to become more permissive when a child is ill, by continuing to provide warmth and letting go of some control (e.g. “Sure, you can have some ice cream for lunch and dinner.”).
And a permissive parent may be more strict if a child’s safety is at stake, like when crossing a busy street (e.g. “You’re going to hold my hand whether you like it or not.”).
At the end of the day, use your best judgement and remember that the parenting style that works best for your family at that time is the one you should use.
Francyne Zeltser is a child psychologist, school psychologist, adjunct professor and mother of two. She promotes a supportive, problem-solving approach where her patients learn adaptive strategies to manage challenges and work toward achieving both short-term and long-term goals. Her work has been featured in NYMetroParents.com and Parents.com.
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