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Types of Parenting Styles

Have you ever thought about what type of parent you are? Keep in mind that we are not talking in terms of absolute adjectives, such as good or bad. We are not conferring any type of judgment. Rather, we are hinting at something quite specific.

Have you identified your parenting style from the four popular types, as first proposed in the 1960s by psychologist Diana Baumrind? Parenting can be both a tough and fulfilling job. Parenting is usually filled with joys and pleasures and overwhelming moments of pride. However, you may have that little niggling thought that the way you bring up your children can impact them adversely or favorably for the rest of their lives.

A person’s parenting style does not speak about the level of love and affection they have for their kids. While there are several parenting paths to choose from, for many parents, the desired destination is usually the same – to raise their kids to be happy, self-sufficient, healthy, and successful adults.

What is a Parenting Style?

In the 1960s, Diana Baumrind studied preschool kids interacting with their parents. Diana initially identified three primary kinds of parenting styles:  authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parenting. Your style of parenting represents the nature or type of strategies you use to raise your children.

For example, you may be a strict parent and keen on always enforcing specific rules and restrictions. On the other hand, you could be more democratic with your decision-making, explaining to your kid why a rule exists in the first place and trying to understand your kid’s opinion and views on it.

These three parenting styles came from Diana’s observations. However, later, scientific researchers Maccoby and Martin also identified that each parenting style, such as permissive parenting, was a blend of control (demandingness) and support (responsiveness). The degree to which parents favored or are inclined toward one trait over the other usually determined their style of parenting. Note that this led to a fourth parenting style, uninvolved or neglectful parenting, which was low in both these traits.

Types of Parenting Styles

1.      Authoritarian Parenting 

This style of parenting is largely parent driven. When parents use the authoritarian style, kids are expected to consistently follow the rules that their parents set out. So, authoritarian parents tend to be very demanding; however, they are not very responsive to the child’s needs.

Usually, authoritarian parents hold their kids to an extremely high level of achievement. And these parents usually display lower levels of communication and focus more on controlling their children, which can be harmful in the long run. The result is often a parenting style built on punishment instead of understanding or explanation. We can sum up the parents’ attitude as “it’s my way or the highway.”

2.      Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting, also known as indulgent parenting, is the opposite of the authoritarian style. Kids who are raised using this parenting style usually feel insecure and dependent. They weren’t given direction and routine as a kid. As a result, they face difficulties approaching the world with confidence. The permissive style of parenting is characterized by low control and high warmth.

You should know that children of permissive parents tend to do poorly in school, and there are many poor emotional and social consequences of this parenting style. If you are a permissive parent, you will likely be very responsive to your kid’s needs, letting your kid do what they want. However, you will not be very demanding.

In some ways, this can be great. However, it can also mean that your children grow up without a healthy respect for parental authority. Many studies suggest they these kids usually perform less well at school.

3.      Uninvolved Parenting

As the name indicates, this style of parenting is associated with detachment as well as a lack of involvement from the parents. In other words, this style of parenting is characterized by low responsiveness and low demandingness. This means that you provide everything in order to keep your child alive and well, but you’re distant and aloof. You do not provide the warmth, affection, and hands-on guidance that other parenting styles offer.

Did you know that kids who are raised by uninvolved or detached parents are more prone to depression and anxiety? In most cases, children are left to attend to themselves, either due to parents’ indifference or physical or emotional disability.

Uninvolved parents tend to have little or no information about their kids or their lives, exhibiting disinterest in being a parent.

4.      Authoritative Parenting

Wondering what the best parenting style is? According to many people and experts, it is the authoritative parenting style. This parenting style usually leads to the most positive results for children as well as families.

 This parenting style is one where there’s a high level of respect and nurturing as well as high demands. According to experts, it offers the right balance between high responsiveness and high demandingness.

For example, your 14-year-old thinks an 11 p.m. curfew on weekends is too strict and needs to change, so you and your kid agree on the one you both think is reasonable and fair. This means that you will set rules considering your kid’s input and help them understand why that rule is important – not merely because you said so! Also, when your kids don’t follow the rules you set, you do not punish them but provide feedback, supporting them to improve.

This parenting style is both demanding and responsive. Authoritative parents are successful as they allow sufficient freedom of expression to develop independence but are also assertive enough to stay in control and maintain authority.

These parents expect mature behavior from their kids and usually discipline them in a supportive manner rather than a punitive way.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know and understand some of the main styles of parenting, which is most like you? It is likely that you are not completely authoritarian or fully permissive. You may find yourself somewhere in the middle. And generally, it is advisable for parents to use an authoritative style of parenting and ensure that the style remains fairly consistent between the two parents.

Also, you can tweak a parenting style in order to fit your preferences and needs. For example, parents are increasingly adding a couple of elements of permissive parenting, such as a focus on independence, to an overall authoritative parenting style.


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