4 Styles of Parenting

Did you know that there are multiple ways to parent your children? One of the best things about starting your parenting journey is discovering just what kind of parent you end up being. Some parents are fortunate enough to have a partner to share the experience, or a partner to compliment their own style of parenting. Some make due with their current situation and employ a multitude of styles to best suit their needs. 


Before getting into the specific 4 styles of parenting, it is important to know the people responsible for initially theorizing these styles. These researchers were Diana Baumrind, and Maccoby & Martin.

Diana Baumrind was a clinical and developmental psychologist known for two major things: her research on parenting styles and her critique on the state of deception in research in the field of psychology. Initially, she had theorized three major styles of parenting: Authoritarian, Permissive, and Authoritative. 

 

Each style was characterized by how responsive a parent would be to their children with Authoritarian being very hard, Permissive being very soft, and Authoritative being just the “correct” amount.

Maccoby and Martin’s Four Parenting Styles

Maccoby and Martin went on and expanded this parenting style model by building in two major components: responsiveness and demand, and based off the mixture involved would create 4 distinct parenting styles as described below.

Chart for the 4 different types of parenting method as outlined in this blog. Permissive, Authoritative, Authoritarian, and Uninvolved

Authoritative - Demanding and Responsive

The authoritative parenting style is demanding and responsive. These parents typically set high expectations for their children while also being forgiving of failure and shortcomings. They are usually very encouraging and aim for their children to be independent while, at the same time, placing barriers and limitations on their freedom. This parenting style is typically very controlled and measured while also allowing the child to freely explore.

When we at Practical Parents in Training first heard about the authoritative style – we categorized it as “balanced”. Being able to find the right balance between being heavily involved while also being nurturing at the same time. Of all the styles that exist, we find that parents utilizing the authoritative style typically require parents to be very self aware of their actions and how it affects the children, while at the same time not fearing taking control when things get out of hand.

Examples of Authoritative Parenting Styles


Some classic examples of authoritative parenting include:


  • Listening to your children

  • Encouraging Independence

  • Utilizing Reasoning and Logic in the Child’s Decision Making

  • Setting Very Clear Limitations

  • Enforcing Boundaries

Authoritarian - Demanding and Unresponsive

The authoritarian style of parenting is demanding and unresponsive. Typically, these parents set the rules for the children without giving the child freedom or power to affect these rules. These parents will set high expectations for their children, with a heavy emphasis on obedience. They have an expectation that the child will behave and follow instructions at all times, usually beause they believe they know what is best for the child. They expect excellence from their children and will routinely resort to punishment to teach a child to behave. 

 

The majority of parents at Practical Parents in Training actually grew up on this kind of authoritarian parenting. The parents typically have the best in mind for the kids, and don’t value the opinion of the children as much as their own.

Examples of Authoritarian Parenting Style

Some classic examples of authoritarian parenting include:

  • Helicopter Parenting
  • Using “touch love” to justify behavior

  • Expect child to follow instructions at all times

  • Emphasize obedience

  • Tiger Parenting

  • Place High Expectations without Child’s Input

  • Commits Child to Excellence

  • Discourages Questioning

Permissive / Indulgent - Undemanding and Responsive

Permissive parenting types are characterized by being undemanding and very responsive. They will typically expect little from their children while also providing high amounts of emotional support. They typically don’t expect their children to behave, and will resort to bribes or gifts in order to get them to behave. Classically speaking, many “grandparents” exhibit this kind of parenting when dealing with grandchildren. 

 

These parents are the exact opposite of authoritarian parents. They will typically provide as much nurturing and support as possible at the expense of behavioral boundaries and rules.

Examples of Permissive / Indulgent Parenting Style

Some classic examples of permission parenting include:

  • Wanting to be the child’s friend
  • Sets Low Expectations
  • Focuses Heavily on Love and Affection
  • Bribe or Rewards Child as a Control Mechanism
  • Very Emotionally Supportive
  • Provides Little to No Structure

Neglectful / Uninvolved - Undemanding and Unresponsive

The neglectful or uninvolved style of parenting is undemanding and unresponsive. These parents typically don’t respond at all their child’s needs and usually won’t be available when the child needs them. Some neglectful parents reject their children outright – and do their best not to get involved at all.

Practical Parents in Training do not advocate at all for this kind of parenting method. Although, if you’re making the effort of reading blogs and articles about these parenting methods – we highlight doubt that you exhibit this kind of parenting method.

Examples of Neglectful / Uninvolved Parenting Style

Some classic examples of neglectful or uninvolved parenting include:

  • Staying Emotionally Distant from Child
  • Provide Little to No Structure

  • Sets Low Expectations

  • Intentionally Avoids Children

  • Is Not Emotionally Supportive

Which Parenting Style is the Best for You?

There’s a saying that each child is different and each parenting situation is unique – and so there’s no parenting style that is perfect for every situation.

However, speaking from personal experience – we think that the authoritative parenting style has scientific backing to suggest that it is, overall, the most effective parenting style for our modern children. Authoritative parents are supportive and open minded while also demanding high standards and independence. Basically, it seems to be the best of both worlds of nurturing and emotional support while placing consistency in behavior limits. 

In fact, Diana Baumrind has a study on the effectiveness of authoritative parental control. You can read her study here.

Chart for the 4 parenting styles as outlined by Diana Baumrind - high vs low demand and responsiveness

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