What Are the 4 Types of Parenting Styles?

by Mother Huddle Staff
Different types of parenting styles

There is no single playbook for parenting. Children will always have their unique characteristics and needs, and parents respond differently.

Still, for those new in the foray of being a mother, father, or guardian, the good news is that there is plenty of information to go around.

In this way, you’ll be able to use various approaches to parenting differently. For instance, knowing the four parenting styles might help inform certain decisions and help parents discover parts of themselves they had not known existed.

ParentingTipster has plenty of resources for parents that you can check for new and seasoned parents alike. To get you started, though, allow us to share the four different types of parenting styles below.

Four Types of Parenting Styles

Culled from the field of child psychology and based on Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin, both Stanford researchers and developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, the four different main parenting styles are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and neglectful.

Effects on a child’s behavior vary depending on each parenting style. These effects can be seen on matters of responsiveness and demandingness.

That means that how parents deal with their children influences how they behave and how they are sensitive and warm, which is reflected in parenting styles. It is said that one parent usually falls into one of these styles.

1. Authoritarian

If you’ve heard of the phrase “tough love,” that seems to be a good gist of the authoritarian parenting style. Stern discipline is used to control the child’s behavior fully.

Authoritarian parents, therefore, talk to their children without needing their children’s feedback. They have very little consideration of how their child might feel and their behavioral and social-emotional needs.

On top of that, these parents enforce strict rules. If a child asks the rationale of a parent’s instruction, the usual response is “Because I said so.”

Simply put, these parents are not responsive but demand a lot from their children. The communication is also mostly one-way一it will just be coming from the parent.

2. Authoritative

An authoritative parent differs from the authoritarian one in that both responsiveness and demandingness are high.

Communication is also frequent and two-way, taking in their children’s opinions, feelings, and thoughts and listening to them.

While the authoritative parent still sets clear guidelines and expectations, understanding and flexibility are involved.

Reflection is facilitated when opportunities arise to teach their children something from the consequences of their actions (for example, a child’s tummy hurts for refusing to eat dinner they do not want).

These parents are therefore seen as supportive and nurturing while still able to let their children listen to reasoning and heed essential values.

Honest discussions are vital in this parenting technique, which is why children of these parents usually turn out to be self-disciplined.

3. Permissive

Also known as the ‘indulgent’ parenting style, this involves having few or no rules for children. These parents tend to be responsive and warm but also lenient.

The danger associated with permissive parenting is the tendency of the child to grow up having poor social skills and impulsive behavior.

They may also be selfish and present problems in forming relationships.

Should there be some expectations and rules, they are rarely ever enforced. These parents seem to act this way out of the desire to keep kids happy all the time.

As such, those who employ this style take on the hat of being a friend more than a parent, where they seek to avoid conflict and tend to a child’s request even at the first sign of disappointment.

4. Neglectful

Lastly, the neglectful parenting style is where a parent has no rules and is uninvolved and indifferent.

Cold and unresponsive, the neglectful parent almost always does not offer guidance, attention, and nurturing to one’s child.

Kids are left to attend to themselves, either out of indifference of the parent or emotional or physical disability.

Those who grow up with neglectful parents tend to have self-esteem issues and find difficulties having relationships with others.

Putting on Your Parenting Hat

Given the different parenting styles, it is essential to remember that children are other. That said, experts say that what parents need to know, beyond their style, are the practices that can best guide their children’s development.

Overall, for over 25 years, most positive outcomes have been associated with authoritative parents.

This is due to how these parents implement high standards while still providing a warm and loving atmosphere. Thus, most psychologists recommend this style.

According to research, children who also turn out to be socially competent, independent, and self-reliant are often raised by authoritative parents.

However, this does not guarantee that they will no longer be susceptible to self-esteem, discipline, and mental health issues.

Just note that varied parenting approaches would help at the end of the day. Limiting one’s self to just one type is not the answer to successful parenting. Good luck!

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