Types of Parenting Styles

As our primary caregivers, the interactions we have with our parents as children form the basis for our development. While every family is unique and every child has different needs, there are 4 common parenting styles that parents usually rely on. Parenting styles essentially refer to the kind of environment children grow up in and each of them has unique manifestations in their adult personality.

In many cases, some of the outcomes associated with parenting styles can even lead to mental disorders and can require additional help. While research has been undertaken in this area for decades and how they impact children, psychologist Diana Baumrind observed these 4 pivotal parenting styles, each of which differs from each other in their expectations from the children, communication, and nurturance:

Authoritative Parenting: “I expect a lot from you and I will help you to meet those standards”

What is it?

Authoritative parents maintain a great balance between not only enforcing rules but also clearly explaining the reasons behind those rules while being fully attuned to their children and their feelings. They take on a warm and collaborative approach and often use positive discipline strategies. They have high expectations from their children and give them lots of guidance and support to meet them. They value the freedom and autonomy of their children while also reinforcing that they are ultimately the one’s in charge and are open to validate their children’s feelings.

How does it affect children?

This has been identified as one of the most successful parenting styles, enabling children to perform well both socially and academically. Studies have found that children who grow up with authoritative discipline tend to be more comfortable expressing their views and opinions, have higher social skills, and lower risk for mental illness as they are usually happy and successful. They are likely to become independent and are able to make their own decisions once they grow older because of the confidence they gain in childhood.

Permissive Parenting: “I am sure you will be fine without my help, but I am here for you”

What is it?

While permissive parents are also warm and collaborative and encourage their children to share their feelings and problems, they are often too lenient, take on the role of a friend, and do not like to say no to their children. They rarely enforce rules and boundaries that they set and only step in when there is a consequential problem. While they are involved in their children’s lives, they do not attempt to discourage bad behavior.

How does it affect children?

Children who have grown up with permissive parents tend to have poor social and emotional regulation skills and are likely to end up with mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. They perform poorly in school and are likely to flunk rules and be aggressive as they have never respected an authority figure, commonly engaging in impulsive behavior.

Authoritarian Parenting: “It’s my way or the highway; do it because I said so”

What is it?

Authoritarian parents have demands and expectations from their children, but at the same time are not at all nurturing and responsive to their child’s needs. They tend to use punishment rather than disciplinary strategies in an effort to make their children obey their strict rules, while not taking their children’s emotions into consideration at all. They also tend to be self-indulgent and take the effort to make their children feel sorry for their mistakes.

How does it affect children?

Children growing up with authoritarian parenting have low self-esteem, poorer academic performance, and social skills, and are at a higher risk for developing mental illness. As adults, they can engage in alcohol or drug abuse and may also become hostile or bullies.

Uninvolved Parenting: “You can figure it out on your own”

What is it?

Uninvolved parents expect children to take care of themselves and rarely know what’s going on in their children’s lives. They can be cold and unresponsive, while rarely taking time out to guide or nurture their children. They do not set rules or boundaries and tend to be physically and emotionally unavailable to meet their children’s needs. This is commonly due to other pressing responsibilities or issues such as mental illness and substance abuse.

How does it affect children?

When children are neglected, they often tend to have self-esteem problems and lower happiness. As adults, they are more likely to engage in substance abuse or delinquency and are at higher risk of suicidal tendencies. They also tend to perform poorly at school and exhibit behavioral problems while growing up.

Parenting styles are often a spectrum and it is very rare that a parent fits only one still absolutely. However, if you don’t have an authoritative parenting style, steps can be taken towards developing a healthy relationship with your child, enabling both them as well as yourself to thrive in the process.

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