Four Main Parenting Styles and Their Effects on Children

Diana Blumberg Baumrind a clinical and developmental psychologist initially identified three parenting styles: Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive. Maccoby and Martin expanded upon Baumrind’s three original parenting styles and defined four parenting styles (Ref. Figure 1)

Figure 1: Baumrind’s Parenting Styles Model

What is Parenting Style

Simply stating, parenting style means how parents respond and demand to their children. The way parents take care of their children can have impact on the children’s personality development and the ways of interacting with social and close relations.

Four Styles of Parenting and their Effects on Children

1. Authoritative Parenting:

Authoritative Parents direct the activities and decisions for their children through reasoning and discipline.

  • The authoritative parenting style balances clear, high expectations with emotional support and recognition of children’s autonomy.
  • The authoritative parent tries to direct the child, but in a rational manner. Such a parent encourages give and take but shares the reasoning behind his or her rules.
  • They exercise firm control with certain points but the child is not tied up with restrictions. Authoritative parents provide a warm family climate, set standards and promote independence, which result in more active career exploration on the part of children.
  • Their disciplinary methods are supportive rather than punitive.

[su_box title=”Study Done by Steinberg, Lamborn, Darling, Mounts, & Dornbusch (1994)” style=”glass” title_color=”#ffffff”]Studies have also established that children raised by authoritative parents scored higher on measures of academic competence, achievement, self-perceptions, and mental health than do children reared by the other three parenting types (Steinberg, Lamborn, Darling, Mounts, & Dornbusch, 1994).[/su_box]

2. Authoritarian Parenting:

Authoritarian Parents show highly directive behaviors, impose high level of rejections and restrictions for children’s behavior and institute respect of authority.

  • The authoritarian parenting style tries to shape, control, and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of the child in accordance with a set standard of conduct.
  • Obedience is graded as equivalent to merit and punitive measures are used to curb self-will. When the child expresses actions or beliefs that are contrary to what the authoritarian parent deems as a good conduct, the child is panelized.
  • Maintenance of structure and order are high priorities for these parents. These parents are highly demanding and unresponsive.
  • Although children who grow up with authoritarian parents tend to follow rules most of the time, but there are chances that they may develop self-esteem problems.
  • Sometimes children become hostile or aggressive as they may focus more on being angry with their parents for the punishment rather than learning how to make decisions and solve-problems.

3. Permissive / Indulgent Parenting:

Permissive Parents do not set rules and regulations for their children’s behavior.

  • The permissive parenting style does not require the parent to act as an active agent responsible for shaping or altering the child’s behavior.
  • The child is allowed to regulate his or her own activities. The parent does not control the child nor encourages the child to obey the rules set by outer world.
  • For such type of parents, punishment has inevitable negative side effects and it is an ineffective means of controlling behavior.
  • They also feel that close supervision, high demands, and other manifestations of parental authority provoke rebelliousness in children.
  • Permissive parenting is about making few demands, exhibiting non-controlling behaviors and using minimal punishment.
  • These parents are warm and responsible but not demanding and have few expectations of their children.
  • Children who grow up with permissive parents tend to struggle academically. They may exhibit more behavioral problems as they will likely not appreciate authority and rules. They often have low self-esteem and may report a lot of sadness.

4. Neglectful Parenting:

Neglectful Parents have little knowledge of what their children are doing. There are few, if any, rules or expectations.

  • The neglectful parenting style is low in warmth and control, not involved in their child’s life, disengaged, undemanding, low in responsiveness, and do not set limits.
  • Neglectful parenting can also mean dismissing the children’s emotions and opinions. Parents are emotionally unsupportive of their children, but will still provide their basic needs.
  • Children whose parents are neglectful become emotionally withdrawn. Both parents and their children, often display contradictory behavior.
  • The parent and the child will never come to an agreement because the child will be resentful and the parent will be demanding. Such disturbed attachment also influences relationships later on in life.

[su_box title=”Study Done by Maccoby and Martin (1983)” style=”glass” title_color=”#ffffff”]A study done by Maccoby and Martin (1983) analyzed adolescents aged 14– 18 in four areas: psychosocial development, school achievement, internalized distress, and problem behavior. The study found that those with neglectful parents scored the lowest on these tests, while those with authoritative parents scored the highest. [/su_box]

To conclude, I would say that there is no one size fits all style of parenting. We as parents have to be very cautious rather than being anxious while dealing with children. We have to be all the time in our conscious state of being and behave the way we want our children to not only behave with us but also exhibit the same behavior wherever they are. Children are great imitators, so let us give them something great to imitate.

Each parenting style will result in a different outcome for a child. Please refer the figure (Ref. Figure 2) below for an overview.

Figure 2: Parenting Outcome for Child

If you have something specific to share or would like to know more about parenting, please feel free to contact me. It would be a pleasure to help you in your journey of parenting.

Happy and Conscious Parenting!!!


1 thought on “Four Main Parenting Styles and Their Effects on Children”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.