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The 4 Parenting Styles: Which Are They?

Understand the 4 Parenting Styles

parenting styles

Parenting styles have a profound impact on a child's development and well-being. In this article, we'll delve into the four main parenting styles identified by psychologist Diana Baumrind and researchers Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin. We will discuss how they can affect children and also provide some practical tips on choosing a parenting style that aligns with your family's needs.

Authoritative Parenting

What an Authoritative parent may think:

  • "I believe in setting clear rules and boundaries for my child, but I also make sure to listen to their thoughts and feelings."

  • "I encourage my child to make decisions and solve problems on their own, but I'm always there to support and guide them when needed."

  • "I aim to create a loving and nurturing environment where my child feels safe, loved, and capable of achieving their goals."

Authoritative parenting is like a well-balanced meal for your child's emotional and behavioral health. It is normally seen as the gold standard among parenting styles. It combines love and care with clear boundaries and expectations. Authoritative parents set reasonable rules and also pay attention to their child's feelings and needs. They encourage independence while offering a supportive environment. Kids raised by authoritative parents tend to develop strong self-esteem, self-control, and decision-making skills. They are more likely to excel academically and socially because they feel secure in their parent's love and guidance.

Main characteristics:

  • Balances warmth and boundaries

  • Sets clear and reasonable rules

  • Responds to the child's needs and emotions

  • Encourages independence and autonomy

Authoritarian Parenting

What an Authoritarian Parent may think:

  • "I expect strict obedience from my child, and I believe it's important to enforce rules with consequences when necessary."

  • "I don't tolerate backtalk or negotiations with my child when it comes to rules. My word is final."

  • "I believe that discipline and structure are essential for my child's character development and future success."

Authoritarian parenting leans towards strict rules and high expectations. These parents value obedience and discipline above all else and may use frequent punitive measures to enforce their rules. They might not always encourage open communication or negotiation. Children raised in authoritarian households might follow rules well but can struggle with self-esteem and decision-making. They may also be more prone to anxiety, depression, or rebellious behavior, as they may not have the chance to develop independence and problem-solving skills.

Main characteristics:

  • Emphasizes strict rules and high expectations

  • Values obedience and discipline

  • May use punitive measures to enforce rules

  • Less open to negotiation and communication

Permissive Parenting

What a Permissive Parent may think:

  • "I want my child to be happy, so I often let them have their way and avoid imposing too many rules or restrictions."

  • "I prioritize having a close, open, and loving relationship with my child over enforcing strict boundaries."

  • "I believe that my child will learn best by making their own choices and experiencing the consequences."

Permissive parenting is like a buffet of love and indulgence but with fewer boundaries. These parents are often lenient and might avoid setting firm rules. They tend to prioritize their child's desires over enforcing rules. Kids brought up in permissive households might enjoy freedom and a strong emotional bond with their parents. However, they can struggle with self-control and responsibility. Difficulty coping with external boundaries and expectations can lead to challenges in school and other social settings.

Main characteristics:

  • High degree of warmth and indulgence

  • Lacks structure and firm boundaries

  • Lenient and responsive to child's desires

  • May avoid enforcing rules

Uninvolved Parenting

What an Uninvolved Parent may think:

  • "I have a lot going on in my life, and sometimes I find it hard to pay much attention to my child's needs and emotions."

  • "I tend to let my child be more independent and figure things out on their own, even if I'm not very involved in their day-to-day activities."

  • "I often feel overwhelmed with my own problems and responsibilities, and I might not always be emotionally available for my child."

Uninvolved parenting is characterized by a lack of emotional involvement or attention to a child's needs. These parents may be physically present but emotionally distant, often preoccupied with their own concerns. Children raised by uninvolved parents may feel neglected, leading to low self-esteem and emotional instability. They might face difficulties forming healthy relationships and could be at a higher risk for behavioral and academic problems.


  • Characterized by neglect or indifference

  • Limited emotional involvement or attention to child's needs

  • Parents may be physically present but emotionally distant

  • Often preoccupied with their own concerns

Finding your style

It's essential to remember that parenting styles are not fixed categories. Most parents blend elements of these styles to suit their unique family dynamics. Here are some practical tips for finding the right parenting style for you:

  • Self-awareness: Reflect on your natural parenting tendencies. Are you naturally authoritative, permissive, or somewhere in between? Understanding your approach can help you make informed decisions.

  • Flexibility: Be open to adapting your parenting style as your child's needs and development change. What works for one child may not work for another.

  • Communication: Maintain open and honest communication with your child. Encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings, even if they differ from your own.

  • Consistency: Establish clear and reasonable rules and boundaries, and enforce them consistently. Children thrive in an environment with structure and predictability.

  • Seek support: Parenting can be challenging, so don't hesitate to seek guidance and support from friends, family, or parenting experts when needed.

Parenting is a dynamic journey, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. The four primary parenting styles—authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved—each have their strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, your goal as a parent is to create a loving and supportive environment that nurtures your child's physical, emotional, and intellectual growth. By understanding these parenting styles and making informed choices, you can raise confident, responsible, and well-adjusted individuals.


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