Knowingly or unknowingly, we all follow certain parenting styles. There’s no thesis or guide for parenting —it is all based on the experiences and learnings in the journey called parenthood. We all grow with our children and try to give them the best of everything. However, we need to pause for a moment and think are we overparenting? Are we neglecting? Are we too busy in our lives? Are we over pampering them? Are we too possessive?
There’s no standard “right” or “wrong” way to parent. How you parent will depend on how you were raised, how you see others parenting, and even, to some extent, your cultural and social background. Everything you have gone through in your childhood like people or places will have its reflection on the parenting style you would use for your children.
What is a Parenting Style?
Parenting style is a science or a theory which parents use to raise their children, not necessarily the biological child, it could be applied to an adopted one too. A child’s behavior and parents’ cultural history strongly influence the kind of parenting chosen. Usually, parents try to raise their children based on the behavior and treatment they have received while growing with their parents. Usually, parents who provide their children with proper care, independence, and assertive control, have children who appear to have higher levels of resilience and are socially skilled and efficient. Expressing love and raising children with caring and affection encourages positive and physical and mental growth in children.
The parenting styles categorized in the world today are based on the work of Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley, in the 1960s.
Diana Baumrind’s Parenting Styles Theory
Baumrind noticed that young children showed significantly different types of behavior. Each type of behavior could be linked to a specific kind of parenting and the environment they get at their home. Different parenting styles have different impacts on child development and behavior.
Based on extensive observation, interviews, and analyses, Baumrind initially identified a few different types of parenting styles:
|Quick Definition||High Demand & High Response||High Demand & Low Response||Low Demand & High Response||Low Demand & Low Response|
|Description||It’s bi-directional communication between parent
and child and explanation and reasoning are provided.
|Blind obedience required. Only one-way communication through strict rules and orders.||These parents don’t say NO to their children
and disappoint them.
|They are indifferent to their children’s needs
and uninvolved in their lives.
|Traits of Parents||Outcome-oriented, affectionate
|Harsh, rude, stern, strict||Responsive, Sensitive, Soft||Depressed, Abusive|
|Traits of Children||Independent, happy, content, positive||Unhappy, insecure, poor social skills||No Self-control, egocentric behavior||Impulsive, low self-esteem|
|Risks||Kids sometimes take parents
granted for everything
|Kids become depressed and have mental issues.
May indulge in drugs and alcohol too.
|Kids cannot abide by the rules and
encounter problems in relationships and social interactions.
|Kids could be depressed
and suicidal or into drug abuse etc.
Authoritative: [More Demand and More Response]
These parents set rules and lay boundaries by having a bi-directional and unbiased discussion, providing guidance and proper reasoning. These parents are outcome-oriented & provide their kids with reasoning and explanation for their actions. Explanations allow children to have a sense of awareness and teach kids about values, morals, and goals. Kids brought with this parenting style are usually happy and content in their life full of positivity.
For instance, they explain to their children why they have said a “No” for a particular thing a child may demand.
It’s all about understanding what your child needs and trying to explain and convincing them accordingly.
Authoritarian (or Disciplinarian): [More Demand and Less Response]
Authoritarian parenting and authoritative parenting styles sound similar, but they have several significant differences in parenting style, strategy, and approach.
While both parental styles have high expectations /desires & demands, authoritarian parents demand blind obedience using reasons such as “because I told you, you have to… “.
These kinds of parents don’t like to believe that they could be wrong too and do not welcome any suggestions from the child.
They only allow one-way communication through rules and orders. Any attempts to reason with them are observed as misbehavior and back answering.
Kids brought with this parenting style are usually unhappy and have low self-esteem.
Permissive (or Involved): [Less Demand and More Response]
Permissive parents set very few rules and boundaries and they are very apprehensive to force rules and make this compulsory for children to follow.
These kinds of parents are warm, soft, and indulgent, but they do not like to say no or disappoint their children. They try to fulfill all terms and conditions laid down by the child. Such kids do not follow rules and face a lot of issues while any social interactions etc.
Basically, here the child navigates the parent’s decisions and tries to get his or her work done.
Neglectful (or Uninvolved): [Less Demand and Less Response]
Neglectful parents do not set strict boundaries or very high expectations and desires.
They are indifferent to their children’s needs and are busy in their own lives and battles.
These uninterested parents may have mental issues themselves such as depression, or physical abuse, or low self-esteem, or must have faced trauma in their childhood.
Kids with this parenting style are very depressed and face severe mental issues/feelings of loneliness and hopeless etc.
Which parenting style is the most effective?
Most parents and researches conclude that authoritative parenting produces satisfactory outcomes for their children, it requires a lot of patience and effort to make sure everyone is being heard.
Children raised by the authoritative parenting style are more likely to become independent, resilient, socially accepted, academically successful, and well-behaved. They are less likely to report depression and anxiety, and less likely to engage in antisocial behavior like criminal activities and drug use, etc.
How to identify your parenting style?
To check on your parenting style, you can simply go through the table below and assess yourself. Self-contemplate and try to analyze your behavior by asking these questions and based on your answers try to put yourself in one of the following categories to get close to your parenting style.
- Do you believe in listening to your child (to understand their willingness – 2-way communication) or only to give orders and ensure they follow (1-way communication)?
- Do you believe to be a benign neglect parent? You think neglecting children and avoiding them will make them better and stronger? Like they learn from their own mistakes and get on their own?
- Do you believe that kids have no right to express their opinions and can never contradict parents?
Traits of Parents
Traits of Children
|High Demand & High Response||Outcome-oriented, affectionate
& supportive (2-way communication)
|Independent, happy, content, positive||Authoritative|
|High Demand & Low Response||Harsh, rude, stern, strict (1- way communication)||Unhappy, insecure, poor social skills||Authoritarian|
|Low Demand & High Response||Responsive, Sensitive, Soft||No Self-control, egocentric behavior||Permissive|
|Low Demand & Low Response||Depressed, Abusive||impulsive, low self-esteem||Neglectful Parenting|
To find your parenting style, try this quiz
Criticisms for parenting styles
- Authoritative parenting can be slightly complex, time-consuming, and lengthier to implement because it requires a delicate balance of discipline and freedom.
- Some permissive parents do provide extensive verbal guidance, so we cannot always conclude that this parenting style will have negative outcomes always.
- Sometimes while experimenting on our parenting styles, we may land up doing over parenting, and over obsessive behavior may lead children to become more impulsive and lack interpersonal skills.
There is no right and wrong and there cannot be some standard rules to determine parenting style. Every child is unique, and every parent has different experiences with their child and has a different mechanism to deal with them.
Parents can undergo a few phases of trial and error before they find the style or science that works best for them and their children.
Baumrind D. Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genet Psychol Monogr. 1967;75(1):43-88. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6032134
McClun LA, Merrell KW. Relationship of perceived parenting styles, locus of control orientation, and self-concept among junior high age students. Psychol Schs. Published online October 1998:381-390. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1998-12495-009
Zeinali A, Sharifi H, Enayati M, Asgari P, Pasha G. The mediational pathway among parenting styles, attachment styles and self-regulation with addiction susceptibility of adolescents. J Res Med Sci. 2011;16(9):1105-1121. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22973379