The way you parent your child can have a significant impact on their growth and development. Specifically, it can affect your child’s emotional intelligence, self-esteem and self-confidence, and how he feels about himself and the world around him.
Thus, you must adopt a positive and healthy parenting style because it will not only play an important part in your child’s behavior but also who he becomes in the future.
Ultimately, the way you interact and react to your child will influence her for the rest of her life.
Studies suggest there are four primary parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. All these parenting styles are unique in their approach to parenting children and each one is based on various characteristics.
So, if you are wondering what your parenting style is, you have come to the right place. This article will help you identify your parenting style and teach you how to improve your parenting techniques (if needed) so they meet your child’s needs.
Table of Contents
- Four Types Of Parenting Styles
- How To Identify Your Parenting Style
- How Your Parenting Style Can Affect Your Child
- Tips And Tricks You Can Use To Adopt A New Parenting Style
Four Types Of Parenting Styles
The four parenting styles were originally developed in the 1960s by Dr. Diana Baumrind, a developmental child psychologist.
These parenting styles are listed below:
Authoritarian parents require children to abide by the rules – without objection. Excuses do not fly with these parents. When a curious or combative child questions the logic or reasoning behind a rule, authoritarian parents are likely to respond to her by saying, “Because I told you so! Don’t question me!”
Understand that parents who adopt this parenting style are not interested in bargaining with their children. In fact, they demand obedience at all costs and if they do not receive it from their children, there is usually a hefty price to pay.
Authoritarian parents do not believe that children should be involved in setting rules and determining consequences or punishments for breaking them. These parents are also not interested in teaching their children how to make good decisions or use wise judgment. Rather, they shame, guilt, and embarrass them when they mess up (i.e., when they misbehave or make a mistake).
Thus, authoritarian parents are strict disciplinarians who have little-to-no regard for a child’s beliefs, thoughts, opinions, or feelings. This parenting style involves high levels of parental control and low levels of parental reactivity or responsiveness. Ultimately, these parents are considered “drill sergeants” who are determined to enforce rules and “toughen their children up.”
What does an authoritarian parenting style look like?
Authoritarian parents may take away their teenage son’s car keys if he does not make the school’s elite basketball team. Or, they may spank their children for making less than stellar grades at school.
Researchers suggest that an authoritative parenting style is the healthiest and most effective way to raise a child. Although authoritative parents have rules and consequences for breaking them, they also take their children’s opinions, beliefs, and feelings into consideration through open and honest communication.
So, even though authoritative parents set rules, implement limits, and use discipline, they include the child in the process. More specifically, these parents discuss rules, boundaries, and consequences with their children – in advance.
This parenting style uses logic and empathy to raise and guide a child. So, when a child questions a rule or boundary, he is given a logical explanation as to why it is important.
Authoritative parents make every effort to legitimize their children’s feelings, but these parents also make sure their children fully understand who the boss is. In other words, they make sure their children recognize that adults are ultimately in charge of ensuring their well-being.
This warm and nurturing parenting style involves parental responsiveness, transparent rules, unconditional support, high expectations, and independence.
Parents who adopt this parenting style tend to rely on positive reinforcement (compliments, praise, and rewards) to garner the desired behaviors from their children. Authoritative parents are not only loving, nurturing, supportive, and encouraging, but also realize that children need opportunities to be autonomous as they age.
What does an authoritative parenting style look like?
Because authoritative parents tend to adopt a democratic approach to parenting, they may include their children in daily discussions during dinner, while listening and validating their thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and opinions.
Or, they may set high expectations for their children, but also provide them with the tools, resources, environment, love, and support they need to be successful in school and later in the workforce.
Permissive Parenting Style
Permissive parents tend to be overly indulgent with their children. In other words, they are too lenient in their parenting. These parents usually only appear or intervene when a serious infraction has occurred. Otherwise, the children are on their own.
On the plus side, permissive parents tend to be very forgiving, primarily because they believe it is normal or acceptable to do “silly or dumb stuff” when you are young. Permissive parents rarely set or enforce rules. And, when they do set them, they are often broken – without consequences.
These parents are more like friends to their children, rather than parents. In fact, these parents are known for encouraging their children to share personal information with them (as a friend would) well into adulthood.
And, when their children demonstrate bad behavior or make poor choices, these parents do not try to correct them or get them back on the right track.
Permissive parents hardly ever criticize or chastise their children for fear of being shunned by them. These parents shy away from discipline because they do not want to upset or disappoint their children. But even though permissive parents are too lax with their children, they tend to be warm towards them when they do respond.
What does a permissive parenting style look like?
Permissive parents may party, drink, or hang out with their teenage children. Or, they may dismiss bad behavior as “kids being kids,” after learning that their children have shoplifted from a local store.
Remember, these parents do not want their children to “shut them out” or become upset with them, so they simply ignore bad behaviors to keep the peace.
Uninvolved Parenting Style
Most uninvolved or neglectful parents have no clue as to what their children are doing. These parents rarely set firm rules, boundaries, or expectations, but when they do, they are rarely, if ever, enforced. As a result, their children often do not get the attention, nurturing, and guidance needed to properly grow and develop into adulthood.
Uninvolved parents expect their children to parent or raise themselves. In other words, they do not invest too much time, attention, or effort into addressing their children’s basic needs.
Yes, these parents are negligent, however, this is usually not done on purpose. In other words, some uninvolved parents may be uninformed when it comes to child development.
For instance, a single parent, struggling to make ends meet (pay bills, cook, clean, and ensure that her child has clothes, school supplies, and food) may come across as uninvolved when she is more likely overwhelmed.
This parent may not have the time or energy to be fully involved in her child’s upbringing. Keep in mind, however, some uninvolved parents are simply indifferent to their children’s needs or disinterested in their lives.
What does an uninvolved parenting style look like?
When one or more parents suffer from a health condition (physical or mental) they can quickly become neglectful or uninvolved in their child’s life. Why does this happen? Because their focus lies on managing their condition(s) or fulfilling their own needs, instead of addressing their child’s needs. As a result, this child’s needs may be left unfulfilled.
How To Identify Your Parenting Style
Your parenting style can make or break your child’s emotional, mental, and physical health and impact his future opportunities and experiences. So, you must identify your parenting style and adapt it to fit your child’s needs.
Listed below are questions that can help you determine your parenting style:
- Do you consider yourself a strict disciplinarian?
- Do you set rules and boundaries without getting input from your child?
- Do you believe in corporal punishment (spankings) for minor infractions?
- When your child asks you why she has to do something, do you say things to her like, “Because I said so!” or “I am the parent and you are the child, so do as I say!?”
- Do you tend to punish your child by taking away the things he loves most, such as television privileges, his game system or smartphone, his car keys or car, and/or his ability to go out and spend time with friends?
- Do yell at your child when she misbehaves or does something you disapprove of?
- Do you have a habit of becoming frustrated and exploding in anger at your child when he does something you do not like?
- Do you criticize and shame your child to get her to behave more appropriately?
- Do you tend to punish your child by withholding affection, such as kisses, hugs, and cuddles?
- Do you use threats and intimidation to get your child to do as you ask?
Note: If you answered, yes, to one or more of these questions, you may be practicing an authoritarian parenting style. If so, you may not be fulfilling your child’s basic needs and will need to adapt your parenting style to ensure that he is getting what he needs to be a happy and well-adjusted individual.
- Do you provide your child with clear rules that she can easily understand?
- Do you check in and communicate with your child regularly?
- Do you consider yourself a loving, supportive, and nurturing parent?
- Do you have high expectations for your child, but ask her to simply do her best?
- Do you make an effort to clearly explain your reasons for specific rules and consequences?
- Are you responsive to your child’s feelings, wants, and needs?
- Do you take into consideration your child’s wishes before you ask him to do something?
- Do you encourage your child to talk about how she feels? Do also you encourage her to openly share her thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and opinions with you – even if you may not agree with them?
- Do you tell your child that you unconditionally love and support him? And, do you compliment and praise your child when he accomplishes something or does a good deed?
- Do you comfort your child when she is upset? And, do you value and respect your child’s feelings and opinions?
Note: If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you are probably practicing an authoritative parenting style. If so, you are most likely fulfilling your child’s basic needs. However, you may still need to tweak your parenting style to ensure that your child is getting what she needs to be a happy and well-adjusted individual.
Permissive Parenting Style
- Do you typically allow your child to work through his problems on his own – without your guidance, help, or input?
- Do you have a habit of allowing your child to make her own decisions, regardless of her age, maturity level, or situation?
- Do you have a hard time disciplining your child for fear he will shut you out of his life?
- Do you ignore your child’s bad behavior?
- Do you spoil your child or find it hard to say, no, to her?
- Do you tend to give in to your child when he wants something to prevent a meltdown or temper tantrum?
- Do you feel more like a friend than a parent to your child?
- Do you enjoy hanging out with your child and her friends?
- Do you defend your child – even when you know he is wrong?
- Do you and your child share everything or almost everything with each other?
Note: If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you may be practicing a permissive parenting style. If so, you may not be fulfilling your child’s basic needs and will need to adapt your parenting style to ensure that he is getting what he needs to be a happy and well-adjusted individual.
Uninvolved Parenting Style
- Do you feel as if you don’t really know your child?
- Are you more of a passenger than a driver in your child’s life?
- Are you clueless as to where your child is or what he is doing?
- Have you never met your child’s friends? And, do not have an inkling of where child’s interests lie?
- Are your own problems preventing you from focusing on your child’s needs?
- Do you and your child rarely talk or spend quality time together?
- Are you rarely at home or around to guide, supervise, or support your child?
- Does your child refrain from talking to you about his problems?
- Do you not know your child’s teacher or the person she is dating?
- Do you rarely, if ever, compliment or praise your child for good deeds?
Note: If you answered, yes, to at least one of these questions, you may be practicing an uninvolved or neglectful parenting style. If so, you may not be fulfilling your child’s basic needs and will need to adapt your parenting style to ensure that she is getting what she needs to be a happy and well-adjusted individual.
How Your Parenting Style Can Affect Your Child
Your parenting style directly influences how your child thinks, feels, and behaves. It can also have long-term effects, shadowing him throughout childhood and following him into adulthood.
Listed below are some ways your parenting style can affect your child:
Research suggests that children raised by authoritarian parents are at risk of developing low self-esteem and self-confidence because their parents do not value or listen to their thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and opinions. Many of these children become angry, aggressive, resentful, or hostile as they age. They are also more likely to lie to avoid being punished by their parents.
Listed below are other attributes children raised by authoritarian parents may exhibit throughout childhood and into adulthood:
- Extreme dependency on their parents to help them problem-solve and make decisions
- Instability, uncertainty, and insecurity
- Ongoing behavioral issues
- Constant meltdowns and temper tantrums
- Low grades or poor academic performance
- Awkward social interactions or social isolation
- Rebelliousness, impulsivity, and promiscuity (during adolescence and young adulthood)
- Recurrent mental health issues (depression or anxiety)
- Substance abuse or addiction, especially drug addiction or alcoholism
- Unhealthy coping skills
Contrary to children raised by authoritarian parents, research suggests that children raised by authoritative parents are more likely to become responsible individuals who are not only academically successful but also successful in their chosen careers.
These children tend to become adults who feel comfortable using their voices to express themselves. These individuals can also make good decisions, demonstrate proper judgment, and assess risks independently of their parents.
Listed below are other attributes children raised by authoritative parents may exhibit throughout childhood and into adulthood:
- Happiness, life satisfaction, and contentment
- Autonomy or independence
- Good grades or high academic performance
- Higher self-esteem and self-confidence
- Appropriate social skills
- Physical and mental health (fewer bouts of depression, anxiety, stress, misconduct, substance abuse or addiction, and a stronger immune system capable of fighting off viruses and diseases, a decreased risk of hypertension and other chronic conditions, and a lower risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts)
- Lower risk of violence (theft, assault, rape, murder, fights, etc.)
Children Raised by Permissive Parents
Research suggests that children raised by permissive parents are more likely to struggle in school (academically). They are also more likely to misbehave or exhibit chronic behavioral issues. These children are also likely to become adults who do not respect authorities, rules, or boundaries.
Moreover, children raised by permissive parents are more likely to experience low self-esteem and self-confidence and have health issues, such as obesity or hypertension.
These children are also more likely to get in trouble. Ultimately, children raised by permissive parents tend to grow up to be childish, selfish, thoughtless, reckless, rebellious, and self-centered adults.
Note: Understand that a permissive parenting style can cause a child to feel abandoned, ignored, unloved, and unsupported.
Listed below are other attributes children raised by permissive parents may exhibit throughout childhood and into adulthood:
- Inability to follow rules, instructions, or guidelines
- Poor self-restraint, self-control, manners, and social skills
- A free-spirited nature
- An inability to develop or maintain relationships and friendships (due to a lack of empathy)
- Poor academic performance or reoccurring job loss
- Poor study habits, disorganization, or work practices
- Impulsivity and aggression toward peers
- Higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse
- Elevated risk of arrests or legal problems
- Higher risk for health problems (e.g., obesity – primarily due to their parents’ refusal to limit their junk food intake, and dental cavities – primarily due to their parents not enforcing good oral habits like toothbrushing)
Note: Studies indicate that children of permissive or overindulgent parents typically have the poorest outcomes of the four parenting styles, from childhood into adulthood.
Children Raised By Uninvolved Parents
Research suggests that children raised by uninvolved parents are more likely to struggle with low self-esteem and self-confidence. Because they lack guidance, these children are more likely to express their emotions, especially their anger and frustration, in unhealthy ways.
Moreover, teens and young adults who were parented in this manner have a higher risk of becoming entangled with the legal system.
Children raised by uninvolved parents also have an increased risk of engaging in gang activity to feel as if they belong somewhere. Studies suggest that these children are at risk of experiencing significant cognitive, emotional, and learning delays, social isolation, and uncomfortable or unhealthy social interactions.
Researchers have also found that an uninvolved or neglectful parenting style can condition children to become bullies at school or at home (due to a lack of accountability). Ultimately, these children have a high risk of experiencing cognitive, emotional, and social deficits later in life.
Listed below are other attributes children raised by uninvolved parents may exhibit throughout childhood and into adulthood:
- Sadness, resentment, and feelings of abandonment
- Low grades at school or an inability to successfully accomplish work tasks
- Behavioral or conduct problems
- Low morale, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness
- Increased risk of mental health issues (depression, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, mood swings, anger, antisocial behavior, and more)
- Difficulty forming loving connections and attachments
Tips And Tricks You Can Use To Adopt A New Parenting Style
If you have identified your specific parenting style and determine it needs to be altered, but have no idea how to adapt it to fit your child’s needs, fret no more because there are tips and tricks you can use to tweak your current parenting style or adopt a whole new parenting style!
The following tips and tricks can improve your relationship with your child:
- Spend quality time with your child. Children need their parents, but more specifically they need to spend time with them to feel safe and secure and to be well-adjusted and successful. When you spend time with your child, you create precious memories that last a lifetime, for you and for your child.
- Value and respect your child’s beliefs, opinions, and feelings. Listen to your child and encourage him to use his voice. Be open to his perceptions and experiences even if you see things differently. And do not try to tell him what to think or how to feel.
- Dish out lots of compliments and praise. Children, especially the younger ones, need to receive accolades for good behavior. Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective ways to get a child to behave appropriately. So don’t zero in just on bad behaviors. Also highlight the good ones!
- Be flexible. Don’t be afraid to adjust your parenting style from time to time. Children change as they grow, so your parenting style should also change to meet your child’s ever-changing needs.
- Show your love and support. Children who feel loved and supported tend to garner the most success. Why? Because they know that Mom and Dad are always in their corner – offering guidance, support, and unconditional love.
As a result, these children are more likely to take risks or step outside of their comfort zones. So tell your child you love her every day and couple this sentiment with lots of hugs and kisses. They need it to thrive.
Let’s be honest, parenting is not for the weak of heart. In fact, raising kids is one of the hardest and most gratifying jobs in the world! So, the fact that you have made it this far is a testament to your resilience and perseverance. The truth is there are no perfect parents. And all parents could stand to tweak or adopt a new parenting style that better aligns with their children’s needs.
Thus, the only thing parents can do is keep learning, trying, and doing their best to be the best role models they can be for children. There is no room for shame, guilt, or embarrassment in parenting.
However, there is always room for improvement. All you need to do to raise a happy and well-balanced child is to show him unconditional love, support, guidance, respect, and encouragement. In other words, walk the walk and your child will follow!