Parenting Styles

There are 4 main parenting styles. The fun part is that each style is very closely related to the behavior of the child! Here they are:

  1. Authoritative
  2. Authoritarian
  3. Permissive
  4. Neglectful

The bad news is that the homes I grew up in had an Authoritarian style, and that is the one I naturally adopted for my children. The good news is that I became aware of that and am learning that there are better styles to work with. 

Let’s look at each one closer and how they usually affect the child.

Authoritative Parenting

The parent has high expectations and clear rules. In spite of that, the parent is warm, affectionate, responsive and very supportive of the child, valuing his or her independence. Children can offer their own viewpoint on what the rules are, or can share their opinions and feel welcome. They have a good relationship with the parent. 

This results in these children are better self-esteem and social skills, as well higher academic performance. Children parented with this style have lower levels of crimes, recklessness and mental illness. Children turn out more independent, curious, appear happy, and are securely attached.

Authoritarian Parenting

This parent has strict rules and high expectations for blind obedience of those rules. The parent is somewhat unresponsive to the child, particularly the child’s emotional needs. As long as the rules are followed – nothing else matters as much. “Because I said so” is the parents’ favorite line. Communication is a one way street, anything else is usually seen as backtalk. There is plenty of discipline and harsh punishment as a way to control the child. The parent makes sure the child feels sorry for the mistakes that they made instead of teaching the child how to make right choices. 

Children can appear quiet and obedient to the outside observer. But inside is a whole different story. The children of these types of parents naturally become insecure and have lower self-esteem and poor social skills. Their academic performance is lower, and they have high rates of delinquency, mental illness, and drug/alcohol abuse.

Permissive Parenting

The parent has a warm and responsive approach with their child. In fact, due to being so lenient and indulgent, there are very few or no rules at all. They don’t like to disappoint their children. Children can call the shots on how they want to spend their day, what they want to do and what they want to eat. Boundaries are almost non-existent and they can get away with anything it seems.  

This results in the child developing an egocentric attitude and impulsive behavior. These children grow up without knowing how to follow rules. The relationships they make are problematic because of the poor social skills they have. 

Neglectful Parenting

This parent is exactly what it sounds like: cold and unresponsive. The parent is uninvolved and indifferent to what is going on with the child. There are no rules. Usually these parents have their own sets of issues such as abuse or neglect happen to them when they were children, or simply have too many other problems going on in life. These parents pretty much expect children to raise themselves. 

The result of this type of parenting leads to children who are impulsive and cannot self-regulate emotions. This leads to a poor outcome of the child: law-breaking, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicides. 

Which is the Best Parenting Style?

It definitely depends on the child’s personality and on the cultural background, but generally speaking the best outcome in kids comes from parents who use the Authoritative Style. Parents have clear rules and boundaries, and they make sure the child knows he or she is loved and valued and has a voice that is heard. Also, it’s important to note that not all parents will fit into one specific style completely, but have a combination of 2 or possibly 3 styles at different points regarding different things. 

So which parenting style do you use?


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