When someone finds out they’re going to have a child, their reaction toward parenting can go one of two ways: either they’ll stick to tradition and continue the practices that have always been used in their families, or they’ll delve into countless parenting books or podcasts about how not to ruin their children’s life. No matter which way direction you sway, research has identified four broad categories that describe the most common styles of parenting:
Every one of these parenting styles will inevitably leave a lasting mark on the lives and psyche of the children on the receiving end, so let’s explore what each one entails.
If you are an authoritarian parent, you likely believe children should follow all your rules without question. Authoritarian parents tend not to explain when asked for a reason for their parenting decisions and are likely to lean toward punishments that make children feel bad about their mistakes instead of learning from them. Explore a vast library of resources related to parenting, available here.
This parenting style embodies the phrase “children should be seen and not heard,” as a child’s opinion is of little concern regarding discipline, problem-solving, or other hurdles.
With this parenting style, children can develop self-esteem issues, hostility, or aggression due to their voices not being valued. They will likely also get good at lying in order to avoid punishment.
Authoritative parents will enforce rules and discipline their children, but with a more considerable emphasis on their children’s opinions. These parents like to make sure they prevent behavioral issues before they arise and utilize positive disciplining techniques such as rewards and praise to reinforce positive behavior. They explain the “why” behind their decision-making and invest a tremendous amount of energy into nurturing positive relationships with their kids.
The opposite result of authoritarian parenting is possible here, with children being more likely to grow up to be confident, successful adults who freely express their views and opinions. This parenting style also fosters good-decision making that involves proper caution before taking risks.
Permissive parents are just as the name suggests. They are lenient and tend only to be heavily involved during serious issues. They tend not to be very strict with their disciplining decisions and don’t follow through with their punishment anyway. For instance, they might take their child’s phone away but feel bad and give it back the next day, or even a few hours later.
These sorts of parents are very forgiving and attribute lousy behavior to kids just doing what they do best. They tend to want to appear to their children as more of a best friend than a parent, so for the sake of seeming “cool,” they might not discourage their kids from doing something they shouldn’t do.
Kids with permissive parents may not do very well academically and be defiant of rules or authority figures. They may also be more vulnerable to health risks such as obesity or dental problems due to a lack of parental involvement in food intake regulation or hygiene habits.
If you’re an uninvolved parent, you are likely not aware of what your kids are up to most of the time. What separates uninvolved parents from permissive parents is that uninvolved parenting rarely incorporates affection, nurturing, or guidance of any kind.
The credo of an uninvolved parent is that children should be able to care for themselves, and they tend not to be very mindful of their children’s basic needs. Uninvolved parenting is not always intentional, as mental illness or substance abuse may make it difficult for parents to care for a child properly. On the other hand, they may not have been equipped with any skills or knowledge about child-rearing and managing a household with little help.
As a result of uninvolved parenting, children may struggle to do well in school and have low confidence levels. They may also experience lower levels of happiness and exhibit various behavioral problems.