There is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. Your parenting style can be influenced by:

  • your family;
  • how you see others parenting;
  • and to some degree, your cultural context.

We all want to be the best parents we can be for our kids, but there’s a lot of contradictory advice out there about how to raise a confident, kind, and happy child. Here you can find some tips on how to help your child grow up to be a person you really like without losing yourself in the process. 

What is a parenting style?

Parents’ influences on children’s development have long caught the attention of developmental psychologists. There are connections between parenting styles and the impact they have on children, according to researchers. Many have come to believe that the impact of these styles persist into adulthood in many complex ways.

In the 1960’s Diane Baumrind was the first researcher who proposed the idea of parenting styles to describe variations in how parents try to monitor and socialize their children. The main distinctions between parenting styles are based on discipline techniques, comfort and nurturing, communication styles, and maturity and control goals. Researchers refer to this general pattern—this emotional climate—as “parenting style”. 

Some of the most well-known parenting types are:

  • Authoritative
  • Authoritarian
  • Permissive
  • Uninvolved/neglectful

Authoritative Parenting Style

Authoritative parents respond to their children’s questions and are able to listen to them. These parents have high expectations for their children, but they treat them with comfort, provide input, and provide adequate support. When their children do not fulfill their parents’ standards, they are more caring and compassionate than punitive. Many child development experts believe that this is the most rational and successful way to parent.

Authoritarian Parenting Style

When a child challenges their parents, the response from authoritarian parents is usually to quell the challenge. These parents are famous for sayings like “because I said so.” They are uninterested in negotiating and are solely concerned with their children obeying their orders. Authoritarian parents often prevent their children from participating in problem-solving challenges or obstacles. Instead, they make rules and impose them without regard for the personal views and feelings of the children.

When you’re an authoritarian parent, you set strict rules and expect your children to follow them. You punish easily and regularly, have high expectations and expect that your children will always meet them. Open communication is not encouraged or promoted.

Permissive Parenting Style

Permissive or indulgent parents allow their children to do as they please with no or little supervision. Permissive parents have more of a friendship with their children than a leadership role. They are more receptive than demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, requiring no adult actions, allowing for a great deal of self-control, and avoiding conflict. When you have a permissive parenting style you may create rules, but you will likely rarely follow them nor hand out punishments when they are not followed. Permissive parents believe that their child will learn better if they give them ultimate freedom in decision-making.

Uninvolved/Neglectful Parenting Style

Parents who are uninvolved with their children’s lives allow them a lot of independence and usually stay out of their way. Some parents may choose this style consciously, while others may be less interested in parenting or uncertain of what to do. Although these parents meet their children’s basic needs, they are also absent from their children’s lives. They may ensure that their children are fed and housed, but they have little or no supervision, structure, laws, or even care. In certain cases, these parents may also deny or ignore their children’s needs.

Is it appropriate for a parent to mix and match styles, or to fall outside of these styles entirely?

Genetics, prenatal factors, personality and temperament all play a significant role in a child’s growth. These influence how we respond to our children. However, other factors are also important when choosing a successful parenting style, such as the cultural environment and socio-economic level of the family. The most important thing to remember is to always give love, encouragement, support and affection.

You can also check our episode #22 — Addressing Kids’ Mental Health w/ Nikki Hedstrom to learn more about children.

You can also check out the book “How to Raise an Adult” for more information and tips on parenting and parenting stlyes.