Parents use many different parenting styles when raising a child. While there are pros and cons to every approach, choosing the one that will work best for your family is essential. Since children do not come with manuals, new parents often read best-parenting books to research some best practices, what each entails, and which style is best for you and your family.
Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist known for researching parenting styles, conducted a detailed study of high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies in the 1970s. She identified three broad categories of parenting styles: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. Later, other researchers added a fourth – neglectful.
Expectations and rules characterize authoritarian parenting. They are demanding and expect their children to obey and often use punishment as a discipline.
Authoritarian parents may place high expectations with no input from the child. The focus is on obedience, discipline, and control. These children tend to follow harsh punishment and negative feedback when making mistakes. Shame and negative reinforcement are a large part of authoritarian parenting.
The Benefits of Authoritarian Parenting
Most of the time, children who grew up in a strict household tend to be the most well-behaved in the room. They tend to be safe in their actions. They know the outcomes or consequences of risky behavior tend to make them leary of stepping out of line.
Goals and plans are significant characteristics of authoritarian homes. Children will be more goal-oriented and think through their life plans, understanding what steps they need to take to accomplish a goal.
The Disadvantages of Authoritarian Parenting
There is a heavy dependence on rules. That may mean that children may not know how to respond to a situation without direction outside the home.
Giving children strict rules for everything without leniency could lead to rebellious behavior.
Considering the most important rules and “picking your battles” while relaxing on some less critical rules may curb this outcome.
Reduced self-esteem and emotionally withdrawnness are some substantial disadvantages of authoritarian parenting. Emphasizing cause and consequence reduces a child's natural ability to make choices. Children who depend on others to develop may continue to lack confidence.
Those raised by authoritarian parents tend to shy away from expressing emotions for fear of being ridiculed.
Permissive parenting is an uninvolved style with limited guidance and few expectations and rules. Permissive parents are more lenient with their children and allow them to do whatever they want.
They do not provide much structure or guidance and often give in to their children's demands. Permissive parenting can harm a child's development as it can lead to feelings of entitlement and narcissism.
The Benefits of Permissive Parenting
The benefits of permissive parenting are that many parents who lean toward this parenting style are warm and responsive. Studies show affectionate and responsive parenting builds and fosters secure parent-child relationships. It promotes psychological development, creativity, and exploration and protects children from toxic relationships down the road.
The Disadvantages of Permissive Parenting
This type of parenting has its disadvantages. Without firm boundaries, children may be unaware of what constitutes acceptable behavior. It promotes testing the waters to see how far they can go while gauging reactions from parents. Risk-prone personalities and a “no-fear mentality” can increase their chances of engaging in unsafe behaviors.
Authoritative and authoritarian parenting are distinct from each other. The authoritative parent will set rules but are also responsive to their kid's questions and needs. They provide structure and guidance and allow their children to express themselves through verbal communication.
Authoritative parenting is an effective parenting style, as it leads to secure, well-adjusted children creating house rules, explaining the what and the why of said rules, and enforcing them. It's clear to the child what the rules are and that there are consequences for not following them.
The Benefits of Authoritative Parenting
The benefit of being raised by authoritative parents is that children typically grow up more independent, self-reliant, and successful. They tend to have lower depression, anxiety, and delinquency rates, which helps avoid drug addiction and other destructive behaviors.
Authoritative parents are involved in their child's progress and growth, guiding them through life's challenges and setting goals. They know their strengths and weaknesses, limitations, and opportunities. They assist them and offer support to help them become strong and capable adults.
The Disadvantage of Authoritative Parenting
Authoritative parenting might be tough (and exhausting) with a strong-willed child. Children might adopt learned behaviors through school and friends.
When these negative habits are brought into an authoritative house by a bold and wilful child, this could lead to confrontation on a daily basis.
Like the authoritarian parenting style, there is a heavy dependence on rules. However, the way parents handle a broken rule is very different. There tends to be more communication and less shame in an authoritative home.
Neglectful parenting is the most dangerous of the four main types of parenting characterized by neglect. Neglectful parents are uninvolved with their children and do not give them the love, attention, or support they need. Neglect can harm their development, leading to feelings of abandonment, insecurity, and low self-esteem.
The Benefits of Neglectful Parenting
Since a child is left alone at a very early age, they learn to be independent and care for themselves. They are self-motivated, understand if they need or want something, and must do it themselves.
Children raised in a neglectful home have a reduced chance of growing up with post-traumatic stress disorder and can learn to navigate any situation.
The Disadvantage of Neglectful Parenting
Children raised under the neglectful parenting style usually struggle to form emotional bonds later in life. They resort to dangerous and rebellious actions like substance abuse, violence, and mental health issues. They trust very few people and decide that the only person they can truly rely on is themselves.
Other Contemporary Parenting Styles:
- Helicopter: helicopter parenting is a style of parents who hover over their child and overly focus on everything they do.
- Free Range: free range parenting allows children to have freedoms and experience the natural consequences of their actions.
- Routine: routine parenting relies solely on setting routines every day, so there are natural steps to raising a child.
- Homeschool: homeschool parents choose to raise their children without the influence of the outside school system, taking 100% responsibility for their children's education.
- Attachment: attachment parenting is a choice to focus on nurturing connections before the child is even born and being the sole caretaker.
- Nature: natural parenting allows children to reach milestones at their own pace, as nature intended.
- Tiger: tiger parenting is a strict style that micro-manages and pushes children to excel academically.
How Can Parenting Styles Affect a Child's Development?
Parenting styles can significantly affect a child's development.
Authoritative parenting is the most effective parenting style, leading to secure, well-adjusted children. Authoritarian parenting can lead to insecurity, inadequacy, and resentment in children. Neglectful parenting can lead to low self-esteem, abandonment issues, and insecurity.
What Is the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family?
The parenting style best for you and your family depends on your parenting goals and your child's personality. If you are more laissez-faire in your parenting, then permissive parenting may be your best parenting style.
If you want to raise a well-adjusted, confident child, authoritative parenting is your best choice. If you are more concerned with obedience and conformity, then authoritarian parenting may be better for you.
And if you are neglectful or uninvolved in your parenting, you may want to educate yourself to be a better parent.
Parenting styles can have a significant impact on a child's development. It is essential to choose the parenting style that best fits you and your family's needs to promote healthy, happy childhood.
How To Implement the Chosen Parenting Style in Your Home Life
No matter what parenting style you choose, be consistent and loving. Your children need your love and support to thrive.
If you choose an authoritarian parenting style, you must be very demanding. Similarly to obeying the rules of board games, you, too, will have to implement strict rules. You will also need to use punishment as a means of discipline.
If you choose a permissive parenting style, you must be more lenient with your children and allow them to take the lead on all choices. You will not need to provide much structure or guidance, and you may often give in to your children's demands.
If you choose a neglectful parenting style, you will need to be uninvolved with your children and not provide them with the love, attention, or support they need.
The choice of authoritative parenting will offer a balanced home with rules, consequences, communication, and respect.
Parenting styles can affect a child's development in several ways. Although you strive to be a good mother or father, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting styles. Every family is different, and choosing the right parenting style is essential.
In the conclusion of Dr. Baumrind's research, she found the ideal parenting style to be authoritative parenting, “a combination of warmth and responsiveness with structure, limit-setting, and challenges to children to do their best.”
No matter your parenting style, it is essential to be consistent and love your children.
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Jonathan Sanchez is a real estate investor and personal finance blogger for Parent Portfolio. He owns a small real estate business that operates a couple of investment properties in his local market. He aims to help others understand their money and generate passive income. He’s also been featured in Business Insider, USA Today, and FOX Business.