The four Different Parenting Styles: Which Style Best suits how you parent in 2021?

Published by Katie Raybould on

Parenting Styles:

Raising a child is a beautiful but challenging task.

People approach raising their children very differently, and this is what makes each family unique.

So What is your style? Once you find out, you can make any changes necessary to really support your growing family

Scientists observed the combination of strategies and tactics parents use to discipline their children and have categorized parenting styles into four common categories. Scientist Diane Baumrid introduced the three styles, and other authors later upgraded the categorization.

Before we move on to the four widely recognized parenting styles, let’s talk about other factors that play a vital role in raising the child, other than your style.

Aspects that Contribute to the Raising a Child 

In ideal conditions, both parents apply the same appropriate and effective parenting strategies and styles. But, in most cases, the unified approach is impossible to achieve. As the research showed, one parent usually leans toward the authoritative style, why the other one is more indulgent. 

Essential factors that will affect the child’s development;

1, the group in which the child spends time, including teachers and any regular groups,

2, The individual child’s temperament.

Image showing children working together
Class room behaviours can shape how children grow and learn

For example, a teacher’s approach can significantly shape the child’s behavior in school and outside the home. At the same time, the environment, such as peer groups, can affect your children’s appreciated values and behavioral patterns. Ultimately, some children respond better to authoritative parenting, while others temperament fits more relaxed parenting styles. 

Traditional Categorisation of Parenting Styles

Self-reflecting on your parenting styles can help you learn more about your child and adjust your strategies to achieve the best results when raising your child. There are four traditional parenting styles acknowledged by scientists around the world.

Let’s take a closer look at each style, its dynamics, and its effects on the child’s growth.

#1 Authoritarian Parenting

The authoritarian parenting style is the strict one that focuses on building a strong discipline. These parents don’t nurture two-way communication. Instead, the communication goes only from parent to child, without additional explanations. The strict discipline doesn’t include negotiation or affection expression. 

In most cases, authoritarian parents aren’t very nurturing, and they expect a lot from their children. They also lack the flexibility in adjusting the expectations, based on the child’s wishes, preferences, and talents.

How to recognise if You are an Authoritarian Parent?

The authoritarian parents can be recognised by two statements:

  1. My way or the highway, as a statement that best describes their approach to rules.

2.  Because I said so, as the statement that stops any discussion and negotiation. 

Authoritarian parents focus only on obedience and don’t self-reflect or question their methods. Punishment is often mistaken as a discipline in families with authoritarian parents. 

The Possible Issues of Authoritarian Parents

The primary issue with authoritarian parents is that their approach doesn’t promote problem-solving skills. Instead of helping kids overcome obstacles, these parents offer rules which don’t require any deliberation of the child, only obedience.

Also, because these parents don’t reward good behavior, only punish bad one, they make children feel ashamed for their mistakes and don’t help them make better choices.

The Effects of Authoritarian Parents on Children

The issue that can affect the children of authoritarian parents in the long term is the problem of self-esteem. Children follow the rules blindly and grow believing their opinion isn’t valued. These children can also become aggressive because of the anger they feel toward their parents. 

Ultimately, these children learn to lie along the way to avoid punishment, which leads to disturbed relationships with other people.

#2 Authoritative Parenting

Don’t mix authoritative parents with authoritarian parents. Unlike authoritarian parents, authoritative parents are nurturing and promote open two-way communication. But, they also set clear expectations. Most experts agree that the authoritative parenting style is beneficial for most children. 

These parents consider children’s feelings, but they clearly express that adults are in charge. The focus of the authoritative parents is on the prevention of harmful situations and behavior and not punishment. With carefully chosen strategies, the parents reward good behavior and practice discipline through positive reinforcement.

How to Recognize if You are Authoritative Parents?

Displaying clear boundaries, whilst remaining fair and nurturing describes authorities parenting

If you set clear expectations, and explain the reasons behind them and share arguments with your child, you are a nurturing and authoritative parent. 

Authoritative parents are all about communication, the decisions are talked through and children are encouraged to choose for themselves.

Also, the great thing about these parents is that they focus on building a strong, lovable, trustful, and positive relationship with their children. They maintain the relationship even through challenging times.

The Possible Issues of Authoritative Parents

The key to being a successful authoritative parent is in finding the balance between independence and obedience. Most parents need to undergo a process of trial and error to find the strategies that work best for their kids. 

During that process, the child can get confused, so it might misinterpret the parent’s behavior and get upset with the changes in strategies. Luckily, in most cases, these issues are short-term and are successfully overcome. 

The Effects of Authoritative Parenting on Children

The children who have been raised by authoritative parents are disciplined but independent. They are taught responsibilities from an early age, and they will probably continue to fulfill their duties and take account as adults. In most cases, the kids grow up to be happy people with a healthy approach to life.

Also, due to promoting independence through life, these kids are great at evaluating risks and dealing with unfamiliar situations.

#3 Uninvolved Parenting

Uninvolved parenting, in some cases, is a result of circumstances and not deliberate parents’ choice. Uninvolved parents promote freedom and stay out of their children’s way in life. They aren’t interested in discussing school, friendship, interests, or any other aspects of their children’s lives. 

Uninvolved parents don’t have discipline strategies, and their children do whatever they want. Communication is scarce, and the expressions of love are minimal to none.

How to Recognize if You are an Uninvolved Parent?

Uninvolved parents don’t ask their kids about school, homework, and whereabouts. They spend little time with their kids, with minimal communication.

In general, uninvolved parents don’t have rules and leave the burden of a child’s well-being on the child itself. Sometimes, only basic needs, such as food and shelter are fulfilled.

However, uninvolved parenting can also be a result of substance abuse problems, mental health issues in parents, when parents aren’t capable of acting as loving and respectful caregivers. 

In the modern-day world, uninvolved parents are considered even those who are too focused on providing material wealth to their children while neglecting socio-cultural and emotional development. 

The Possible Issues of Uninvolved Parents

Because uninvolved parents don’t keep track of their children’s whereabouts and peer group, these kids might be at higher risk of participating in harmful activities. They are focused on everything else but children, including their needs and everyday existence issues. It compromises the parent-child bond.

The Effects of Uninvolved Parenting on Children

Some children raised by uninvolved parents develop a strong sense of independence, freedom, and responsibility. Others develop severe self-esteem issues, due to prolonged feelings of rejection from their parents. Because of it, they can struggle to build long-term relationships, and express the unhealthy need for the love and affection of other people.

In general, they aren’t very happy in their adult life and they are prone to behavioral problems.

#4 Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents are indulgent and they allow their children to do what they want. They nurture a friendly approach, rather than positioning themselves as authorities. These families have very open communication, without set rules and no strict regulations. 

The discipline is minimal, to non-existent. 

Indulgent parents don’t offer guidance. They are loving, warm, and nurturing. The children are expected to fulfill any goals or only minimal ones.

How to Recognize if You are a Permissive Parent?

Children of permissive parents often experience behavioural issues

Permissive parents might set rules, but they will rarely stick to them. They don’t teach children responsibilities and seek consequences for their children’s behavior.

Most of the permissive parents believe that kids will develop best and learn more if they are left to decide for themselves. They only step in when children or family encounter severe problems. 

Permissive parents easily forgive and forget the children’s bad behavior. They are indulgent when kids beg and don’t try too hard to prevent bad behavior.

The Possible Issues of Permissive Parents

Permissive parents don’t hold any control over their children’s behavior. They don’t teach their children about impulse control and dealing with stressful situations.

Also, their children lack respect for their parents, and this parenting style might compromise the healthy parent-child relationship.

The Effects of Permissive Parenting on Children

Kids with permissive parents often perform poorly in school. They can experience more behavioral problems and struggle with rules and authorities throughout life. Therefore, it can affect the quality of their careers and overall quality of life.

On the other hand, kids with permissive parents are also at risk of health issues. Parents often fail to limit junk food intake, therefore these children may become obese or experience other health issues, such as bad teeth. 

Modern Parenting Styles 

As society changes and develops, parenting styles expand over the traditional categorization. In the past couple of decades, hybrid parenting styles appeared. Most commonly, those are called helicopter parenting and free-range parenting.

Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter parenting is used to describe the style that includes parents’ over-attachment and child protection. These parents are focused on their child’s activities and school success. Often, helicopter parents do the homework for their children, push them to participate in sports, and hover over their children. 

Over the years, helicopter parents have become too attached and involved in their children’s life.

It can affect the self-esteem of children, and relationships with other people. Helicopter parenting also increases the risks of anxiety in children and fear of failure. 

Helicopter parenting is a relatively modern expression, and more research is needed for a complete overview of its effects on children.

Free-Range Parenting 

In simple words, free-range parenting is a combination of uninvolved parenting styles and authoritative parents. Children are only guided to good behavior, but the final decisions and self-reflection are left to them.

Free-range parenting style promotes children’s independence, but in a warm and caring family atmosphere. That way, it helps the children to develop problem-solving skills and individuality, confidence. Also, these children are taught responsibilities from an early age.

Why Authoritative Parenting Might be the Best Approach for Most Children?

Parenting is a complex process that is, in most cases, a combination of various strategies that depend on the current situation, issue and child’s temperament. Some kids respond better to strict parenting styles than others. 

For example, uninvolved parenting might help raise strong and actionable individuals, but it can also make some kids unhappy from an early age. Therefore, there is a fine line between freedom and neglect.

But, researchers agree that the authoritative parenting style has the best results in most children with different temperaments. 

According to most authors, the authoritative style has positive outcomes in kids, which include resilience, optimism, life enthusiasm, healthy self-esteem, excellent school success, responsibility, etc.

These children have been exposed to high expectations but have been guided to the fulfillment of the goals. They are often warm, respectful, peer pressure-resistant, accepted better in social groups, and grow better relationships with people from their environment.

The anxiety levels are lower, and they accept the consequences of their actions. The kids with authoritative parents are focused on positive outcomes and motivated for further growth and development. 

Can you Change Your Parenting Style?

Life is a set of trial and error and a dynamic process that depends mostly on a person’s choices. Therefore, it is never too late to change your parenting style. The pandemic has brought out all family problems and issues in families around the world. 

So, more people spent time with their kids which revealed potential issues in the behavior and parent-child relationship. If you aren’t satisfied with the current results of your parenting style, you can slowly adjust your parenting strategies.

Adjusting strategies is a process, so you can slowly include new tactics to see which ones fit your child’s temperament. During the process, start with small changes and let your child time to adjust and accept new rules or lack of old ones. 

Reflect on your behavior, and start thinking about yourself as a role model. It will help the child to accept the reforms once there is a positive change in the entire family.

Lastly, nurture honest and open communication and don’t be afraid to fail. Remember, parenting is a process in which both parent and child are growing, learning more about themselves.

Supporting your children’s development through mindfulness is an activity you can share together, bonding, and showing gratitude whilst supporting their emotional and social development. These beautiful cards provide you with this opportunity for open communication

Kids mindfulness cards
Develop your childs social and emotional awareness through these beautiful cards

Final Words

As you can see, parenting isn’t a mathematical equation and you cannot learn it from books. But, you can educate yourself and invest in quality time with your child. It will give you helpful insights into your current good and bad tactics.

What parenting style are you nurturing? Would you consider adjusting it? Why? 

Please share your experience and thoughts to let other parents know they aren’t alone facing parenting challenges!

If you enjoyed the article, please consider giving it a thumbs up and sharing it with other parents! That way, we can raise awareness of the importance of good parenting styles on child happiness

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