Parenting styles refers to the combination of strategies that you use to raise your children. Your parenting style can affect everything from how much your child weighs, to how he/she feels about him/herself. It’s important to ensure your parenting style is supporting healthy growth and development because the way you interact with your child and how you discipline your child will influence your child for the rest of your child’s life.
Parenting Styles from research work by Diana Baurmrind
The parenting styles commonly used in psychology today are based on the work of Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley, in the 1960s. Maccoby and Martin also contributed by refining the model in the 1980s.
Baumrind noticed that preschoolers exhibited distinctly different types of behavior. Each type of behavior was highly correlated to a specific kind of parenting.
Based on extensive observation, interviews and analyses, Baumrind initially identified different types of parenting styles:
- The Authoritarian or Disciplinarian Parenting Style
- The Authoritative Parenting Style
- The Permissive or Indulgent Parenting Style
- The Uninvolved or Neglectful Parenting Style
Authoritarian or Disciplinarian Parenting Style
Authoritarian parents are often thought of as disciplinarians.
- They use a strict discipline style with little negotiation possible. Punishment is common.
- Communication is mostly one way: from parent to child. Rules usually are not explained.
- Parents with this style are typically less nurturing.
- Expectations are high with limited flexibility.
In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents don’t explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, “Because I said so.”
Authoritative Parenting Style
Authoritative parents are reasonable and nurturing, and set high, clear expectations. Children with parents who demonstrate this style tend to be self-disciplined and think for themselves. This style is thought to be most beneficial to children.
- Disciplinary rules are clear and the reasons behind them are explained.
- Communication is frequent and appropriate to the child’s level of understanding.
- Authoritative parents are nurturing.
- Expectations and goals are high but stated clearly. Children may have input into goals.
Authoritative parents invest time and energy into preventing behavior problems before they start. They also use positive discipline strategies to reinforce good behavior.
Researchers have found kids who have authoritative parents are most likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their opinions.
Children raised with authoritative discipline tend to be happy and successful. They’re also more likely to be good at making decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own.
Permissive or Indulgent Parenting Style
Permissive or Indulgent parents mostly let their children do what they want, and offer limited guidance or direction. They are more like friends than parents.
- Their discipline style is the opposite of strict. They have limited or no rules and mostly let children figure problems out on their own.
- Communication is open but these parents let children decide for themselves rather than giving direction.
- Parents in this category tend to be warm and nurturing.
- Expectations are typically minimal or not set by these parents.
Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, make very few demands of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control.
According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation.” Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent.
Uninvolved or Neglectful Parenting Style
Uninvolved parents give children a lot of freedom and generally stay out of their way. Some parents may make a conscious decision to parent in this way, while others are less interested in parenting or unsure of what to do.
- No particular discipline style is utilized. An uninvolved parent lets a child mostly do what he wants, probably out of a lack of information or caring.
- Communication is limited.
- This group of parents offers little nurturing.
- There are few or no expectations of children.
Uninvolved parents expect children to raise themselves. They don’t devote much time or energy into meeting children’s basic needs. Uninvolved parents may be neglectful but it’s not always intentional. A parent with mental health issues or substance abuse problems, for example, may not be able to care for a child’s physical or emotional needs on a consistent basis.
At other times, uninvolved parents lack knowledge about child development. And sometimes, they’re simply overwhelmed with other problems, like work, paying bills, and managing a household.
Children with uninvolved parents are likely to struggle with self-esteem issues.
They tend to perform poorly in school. They also exhibit frequent behavior problems and rank low in happiness.
- Wow Parenting (Permissive parenting style image)
- Secure Teen (Uninvolved parenting style image)