Parenting style is different from one parent to another. Despite the variations in parenting, many parents do share commonalities and similarities. In fact, there are enough commonalities and similarities that experts categorize styles in parenting.
Diane Baumrind is among the earliest to do so. According to her, there are three common styles in parenting: authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive.
As time goes on, experts added another type to Baumrind’s category. The latest addition is uninvolved parenting. Here, we will tell you about these four styles in parenting in-depth.
We explain each style briefly then followed by its traits, and pros and cons. We will tell which one is the best in the following section. Ready? Let’s start.
- 1 What Is Parenting Style?
- 2 The Types of Parenting Style in Brief
- 3 Another Way to Think about Parenting Style
- 4 Authoritarian Parenting
- 5 Authoritative Parenting
- 6 Permissive Parenting
- 7 Uninvolved Parenting
- 8 Which Parenting Style Is the Best?
- 9 What Is My Parenting Style?
- 10 Sub Parenting Styles
- 11 Closing
What Is Parenting Style?
Let’s start with the definition first. What is it? Parenting style can be defined as the combination of strategies that parents use to raise their children.
This includes practices that parents do to raise their children as well as the overall approach that parents use to guide, socialize, and control their children.
How do experts categorize style in parenting? How do they distinguish one style from another? The categorization started in the 1960s.
It was started by a psychologist named Diane Baumrind. During that time, the idea of parental control has a bad reputation. It was so bad that a lot of parents fell into the other extreme.
The first extreme is, of course, the idea of parental control. This approach demands so much on children. Parents are very controlling.
The other extreme is the opposite. As parental control gets a bad name, many parents choose to avoid any form of parental control entirely. They put very little demand on their children.
One is very controlling. The other lacks control. These two extremes are by no mean the only approach in parenting. There is a middle ground. This middle ground is a compromise.
It fosters responsibility, self-discipline as well as independence in children. Thus, Baumrind proposed three parenting styles: authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting, and permissive parenting.
The Types of Parenting Style in Brief
Here is a quick introduction to each style. We will explain them in more detail in the next sections.
· Authoritarian Parenting
Firstly, authoritarian parenting. This style of parenting emphasizes discipline, blind obedience, and control punishments.
In some cases, the parents will withdraw their affection as a form of punishment. Authoritarian parents tend to have high expectations.
· Authoritative Parenting
Secondly, authoritative parenting. It is the middle ground between too much and too little control. This style of parenting acknowledges the importance of control as well as the children’s freedom and individuality. Authoritative have realistic expectations.
· Permissive Parenting
Thirdly, permissive parenting. Unlike authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting tends to not have strict rules for children to follow.
If anything, permissive parents are reluctant to enforce standards. They prefer to provide emotional warmth instead. Expectations are low.
These are the three styles proposed by Baumrind. The next one is another style added by researchers sometimes later.
· Uninvolved Parenting
While permissive parenting has little control and rules, uninvolved has virtually none. Unlike permissive parenting, however, uninvolved parenting does not involve warmth or nurture.
Uninvolved parents fulfill the basic needs of children like food, shelter, and clothing. Beyond these, not many things that they provide.
Another Way to Think about Parenting Style
The style in parenting can be seen in a different light. Namely, through the degree of demandingness and responsiveness. What do these terms mean?
- Demandingness is the extent that parents control the behavior their children or demand their maturity.
- Responsiveness is the degree parents are sensitive and accepting of the developmental and emotional needs of their children.
Both of these are desirable. Styles that lack either or both are considered suboptimal. We can see each style in the following ways:
- Authoritarian parenting has demandingness but lacks responsiveness.
- Permissive parenting has responsiveness but lacks demandingness.
- Authoritarian parenting has both.
- Uninvolved parenting lacks both.
Out of the four types, this parenting style is the strictest. It has a high degree of demandingness and low responsiveness. Naturally, it is the opposite of permissive parents.
Authoritarian parents are known for their list of rules. They expect their children to follow these rules. No question allowed.
It is true that authoritarian parents tend to be harsh and strict. Yet, most of them do so with good intentions. They mean well.
They believe that this style of parenting will produce capable, well-rounded, and high-achieving children. It undoubtedly fosters discipline but the lack of warmth and nurture has detrimental effects.
Traits of Authoritarian Parents
- Their approach to parenting can be summed up into “children should be seen, not heard”
- A lot of rules that children must follow
- They give children chores, beginning very early at a young age
- They are very focused on the safety of their children
- When their children broke rules, they give firm consequences
- They might use threats and/or punishments to keep their children in line
Good Sides of Authoritarian Parenting
Children with authoritarian parents tend to have good behavior. There is a reason why. Authoritarian parents tend to define rules clearly. Consequently, children have a better sense of what is acceptable and what isn’t.
They are also aware of the negative consequences that come from wrong behavior. This prevents them from doing such behavior.
Being goal-driven is never a bad thing. And this is what authoritarian parents instill in their children. Authoritarian parents, after all, have detailed plans. These plans include clear and precise instructions for their children to adhere to.
They can be harsh and strict but deep within their heart, authoritarian parents are concerned about the safety of their children, physically and emotionally. The rules they made are imposed to ensure their children’s safety.
Bad Sides of Authoritarian Parenting
The lack of responsiveness of authoritarian parenting does have detrimental effects. The most obvious one being emotionally withdrawn children. Children who are raised by authoritarian parents tend to be unable to express their emotions freely.
Authoritarian parenting hinders the natural ability of a child to make choices. This impacts their self-esteem negatively. They have to depend on others so they can have good self-esteem.
As children are used to follow rules and guidelines, they will feel unsure of what to do and feel insecure when there are no established rules or guidelines. They become rule-dependent.
Children raised by authoritarian parents will eventually grow tired of the rules they have to follow. They will intentionally rebel against their parents to test their limits. This can be dangerous as their rebellion might jeopardize their safety.
The next style is authoritative parenting. Authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting are two extremes. In the middle of these extremes, there is authoritative parenting.
Authoritative parenting is a parenting style that balances demandingness and responsiveness. This gives children the benefits of authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting but without their downsides.
Authoritative parents understand well that setting boundaries and limits are important. However, when they impose rules, they are not as strict as authoritarian parents. Like permissive parents, authoritative parents are warm and nurturing.
They encourage their children to express themselves. These parents do have expectations, but these expectations are realistic.
Traits of Authoritative Parents
- They allow their children to fail and if asked, they will provide guidance and support
- Emphasize on children’s well-roundedness
- They neither intimidate nor befriend their children. Instead, they empower their children
- Respect and fairness are very important to them
- They provide their children the opportunity to talk and give their input regarding the rules
Good Sides of Authoritative Parenting
Authoritative parents show their children respect. They giving their children some degrees of freedom to do what they want. As the children are treated with respect, they are more likely to respect others.
As a result, children raised by authoritative parents often get along well with their peers and teachers.
Children raised by authoritative parents tend to be accountable. They understand that they are the ones responsible for the choices they make.
The nurturing aspect of authoritative parenting empowers children to make good decisions. These children also tend to not be affected by peer pressure.
Children are not protected from failures and mistakes. Rather, authoritative parents allowed them not just to fail but also to learn from the mistakes they made.
This builds resilience. It helps these children to overcome the challenges of life and bounce back from traumas. Their resilience also improves their confidence and self-esteem.
Children raised by authoritative parents are well-supported. Their parents support them in many ways, be it doing their homework or doing a special school project.
While authoritative parents provide the necessary tools and make themselves available for the success of their children in school, they will not do it for them. Their children have to do it on their own.
As they learn to make their own decisions, children develop the confidence and ability that enables them to take on leadership roles.
Bad Sides of Authoritative Parenting
Of all the four common styles, authoritative parenting is considered to be the best one. As such, it is not easy to find its drawbacks.
The drawbacks lie in maintaining a delicate balance between demandingness and responsiveness, something which is difficult to do. This is especially true as children grow up and go through phases of anger, apathy, and rebellion.
Permissive parenting style is characterized by a lack of limits, structure, and consistency when it comes to discipline. Parent interference is also minimal in this parenting style.
The best thing about permissive parenting is that the parents are loving and kind toward their kids. Permissive parents act more like a friend to their children rather than a parent.
As good as it sounds, the lack of limits and boundaries in permissive parenting does have negative impacts on children. Respect and rules are connected.
If one is not present, the other is not as well. If parents fail to impose restrictions on their children, they also fail to teach them how to respect themselves and others.
Traits of Permissive Parents
- They give rules, which are usually either few in numbers, inconsistent, or both
- Parents choose to be a friend instead of an authority figure for their children
- They believe freedom is more important than responsibilities
- Parents allow for natural consequences but not imposed ones
- They are not overly concerned about the safety of their children as they see risky situations as opportunities to learn
- They consider the opinion on their children even in large decisions
Good Sides of Permissive Parenting
Permissive parenting has little limits and restrictions. This gives children the opportunity to experiment with any kind of hobbies and passions. Growing up in a less rigid environment makes it easier for children to be more creative.
Children raised by permissive parents tend to have more freedom. The same freedom that inspires them to explore and go on new adventures.
Permissive parenting not only allows but encourages children to express themselves. As a result, they grow up to be individuals who are willing to try new things and become more confident. They have self-assurance.
Bad Sides of Permissive Parenting
While permissive parents are kind and loving toward their children, these children are found to be more prone to depression and anxiety.
The lack of demandingness and proper boundaries leave children to fend for themselves. Due to this, these children may fearlessly approach certain situations, increasing their likelihood to engage in risky behavior.
Under permissive parents, children are basically ruling themselves. They believe that the same thing can be applied outside of their home. This leads to a rebellious and challenging attitude toward others.
The last major parenting style is uninvolved or neglectful parenting style. Of the four, uninvolved parenting is the latest addition but by no means a new phenomenon.
In the other three types, parents are involved in their children’s life beyond basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing. Uninvolved parenting, however, is very different.
Uninvolved parents don’t respond, let alone fulfill the needs or desires of their children beyond food, shelter, and clothing. It is not uncommon to find children raised by uninvolved parents receive little nurturing, guidance, and discipline from their parents.
Traits of Uninvolved Parents
There are moments where parents leave their children for a while and/or busy with their own business. These moments, however, don’t qualify as uninvolved parenting.
Uninvolved parenting is not just a moment where parents are preoccupied with themselves. Uninvolved parenting is a continuing pattern of emotional distance between a child and their parents.
The following are the traits of uninvolved parents.
· Disconnection from their children
There is a lack of an emotional attachment between uninvolved parents and their children.
· Focus on their own desires and problems
Uninvolved parents are preoccupied with their own desires and problems, be it work, social life, or any other desires or problems. They make little time for their children. Some uninvolved parents may even neglect or worse, reject their children.
· Little to no interest in their children’s activities
Uninvolved parents have little affection for their children. As such, they have little to no interest in their children’s activities.
· No expectations or rules for their children
Unless their children’s actions affect them, uninvolved parents don’t correct their children. They allow their children to act however they like.
How Uninvolved Parenting Affect Children
To grow healthily, children need attention, love, and encouragement. It is not surprising if uninvolved parenting, which clearly lacks these, affect a child negatively.
While it is true that children with uninvolved parents tend to learn how to take care of and rely on themselves at an early age, but the downsides of this style clearly outweigh the good.
The downsides of uninvolved parenting for children include
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of social skills and difficulties with social interactions
- Poor academic performances
- Lack of coping skills
- As children with uninvolved parents lack emotional attachment with their parents, they may repeat this style of parenting with their own children. Thus, they might have the same poor relationship like they did with their parents
Which Parenting Style Is the Best?
The best style is authoritative parenting. Why? Because it has both demandingness and responsiveness. Authoritative parenting fosters discipline in a child while at the same time give them the room to grow to be an independent individual.
Both discipline and parental affection are there. It has the benefits of the two extremes but none of the downsides.
What Is My Parenting Style?
After reading the four types of styles of parenting, you might wonder which category you fall into. What you need to understand is that parenting style is not rigid.
Sometimes you may become an authoritarian parent while other times you may become a permissive one. The categories sure are useful but they do have their limitations.
First, the cultural caveats. You should know that the system developed by Baumrind was meant to understand parents in the U.S. Also, the subjects of her research were mostly white and middle class.
Researchers do have their success in applying Baumrind’s categories to other cultural groups, but there is no guarantee that the categories will fit everywhere.
Second, assuming that the categories do fit the culture, they can mean different things. For example, the authoritative parenting style sits in the middle between authoritarianism and permissiveness, which are related to demandingness and responsiveness.
Yet, the term “demanding” and “responsive” here are relative terms, not absolute. Hence, they can mean different things.
So, rather than seeing the four style of parenting like boxes where parents fit into neatly, they are more of a continuum.
That is, some parents might go back and forth between authoritativeness and authoritarian parenting while some others might go back and forth between permissiveness and authoritativeness.
Sub Parenting Styles
The four types above are the major categories. Other than those four, there are many sub-types of parenting style. Below we mentioned five of them: helicopter parenting, snowplow parenting, tiger parenting, attachment parenting, and lighthouse parenting.
Helicopter parenting is known for their overprotectiveness. Parents who use this method feel the need to control most aspects of their child’s life. These parents are obsessed with their child’s successes and failures.
As such, they often intervene in their child’s life. This hinders the child’s ability to learn important life skills, self-sufficiency, and confidence.
Snowplow parenting is where the parents “plow down” anything that stands in the way of their child. They just don’t want their children to face difficulty and struggle. They do so by fulfilling the wants and demands of their children.
Although it comes from good intentions, this kind of parenting detriment the child as they may develop the anxiety of failure.
Tiger parents often display harsh and rigid characteristics. They expect not just obedience but also a success. It is a version of authoritarian parenting that is commonly used in Chinese culture.
On the positive side, tiger parenting fosters children to become more responsible, motivated, and productive. On the negative, children can develop poor social skills, anxiety, and difficulty in daily functioning.
Parents with attachment parenting believe in a hands-on and nurturing approach to parenting. These parents think that if theyput the needs of their child first, it will lead to emotional stability and independence.
These parents value extended breastfeeding, positive discipline, physical closeness, co-sleeping, bed-sharing, as well as other attachment-based approaches in raising children.
The term “lighthouse parenting” was coined by Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg. Compared to other subtypes of parenting style, lighthouse parenting is one of the more balanced types.
According to Ginsburg, parents should be like lighthouses for their children. That is, acting as role models and finding the right balance when nurturing, loving, communicating, and protecting their children.
There are 4 common styles of parenting: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. Beside these four styles, there are also sub-styles as well. Out of these four, the authoritative parenting style is the best one. Why? Because it introduces discipline while at the same time giving children enough room to grow to be an independent individual.