The world of psychology recognizes four major parenting styles. Each style has a unique set of characteristics and outcome on a child’s upbringing. Understanding the characteristics of the different parenting styles can help you figure out which one you belong to. Understanding which one you belong to and which is most effective can help you become a more efficient parent.
An authoritarian parent is a very strict parent. They demand a lot from their children but do not provide a responsive attitude. In fact, they leave little room for dialogue with their children. Instead, they list out what it is they expect of their child and expect not a word in edgewise. Authoritarian parents are not afraid to use punishment to teach their child obedience.
You might be an authoritarian parent if:
- You have a set of very strict rules you expect your child to follow with no questions asked and no excuses
- You do not believe you should have to explain the rules you set forth for your child
- You are not afraid to punish your child strictly to make sure he or she adheres to your rules and commands for obedience
- You love your child, but you are reserved in the amount of affection and warmth you offer to him or her
Children need structure, of course, and they need rules to follow. However, authoritarian parents tend to provide too much of a good thing, which is bad. Children also require love, warmth, and the ability to reason and make their own decisions. Unfortunately, the authoritarian approach is not balanced enough, and children often suffer issues with low self-esteem, social troubles, and shyness.
Among the four major parenting styles, permissive parenting is a common one. Permissive parents are extremely responsive to their children, yet they have almost no demands. They are very lenient, do their best to avoid conflict with their children, and often show a lot of love and nurturing. While all of that may sound like a fantastic parenting style, permissive parenting has a negative outcome.
Children belonging to permissive parents often grow up without any structure. It is the complete opposite of an authoritarian approach, which is still unbalanced. You can identify if you are a permissive parent using the following factors:
- You prefer not to engage in conflict with your child and do anything to avoid it
- You do not believe in setting rules and limitations for your child, and will often compromise on rules you do set to better accommodate your child’s demands
- You would rather participate in your child’s life as a friend rather than a parent
- You will sometimes bribe your child to convince them to do things, like chores
Although this may seem like a favorable approach to parenting, children with permissive parents often develop certain negative characteristics. For instance, they behave poorly and react negatively to any consequence because they are not used to it. They also develop insecurities since they lack boundaries. Children with permissive parents display poor academic success, poor social skills, and a self-centered attitude.
Of the four major parenting styles, the neglectful parent is perhaps one of the most harmful. It is impossible to compare the neglectful parent to any other parenting style. Neglectful parents willingly neglect their child whether they do wrong or right. If you are a neglectful parent or you know someone who is, it is important to seek help immediately to better your parenting skills.
You might be a neglectful parent if:
- You often lack a sense of caring for your child’s emotional, physical, and other needs
- You do not care enough to develop a sense of understanding to know what is happening in your child’s life
- Your home is not exactly a safe space for your child, or your child does not have anything positive to say about his or her home and living conditions
- You will often leave the house for a long period and leave your child at home alone for those extended periods
- You are not involved enough to know who your child hangs out with or anything about his or her teachers
- You do not involve yourself in your child’s life in or even outside the home
If you are a neglectful parent, you risk having a detrimental impact on your child’s emotional and mental health. Children belonging to neglectful parents often lack trust in others. They also suffer from depression, anxiety, and may display disruptive behaviors. You and your child will need therapy to assist you through the outcome of neglectful parenting.
When it comes to the four major parenting styles, the authoritative approach is often considered best. It is the perfect blend between the permissive and authoritarian approach. Children raised by an authoritative parent have structure, and yet they are also able to form their own decisions.
Authoritative parents will provide structure and rules for their children. Parents will also set forth expectations for their children. However, they offer support and understanding to help their children achieve those goals and expectations. Children receive explanations for expectations and consequences. They also receive love and nurturing to a healthy degree.
You might be an authoritative parent if:
- You offer your child structure, such as a specific bedtime or certain chores your child must do daily
- You offer consequences and explanation in a firm, yet supportive manner if your child does not follow the rules of you of your house
- You take the time to make sure your child understands what expectations you have and why, and you make sure your expectations are reasonable
- You maintain a healthy relationship with your child using communication that goes both ways, and your child can talk to you without worry or fear of being judged
Children who grow up with authoritative parents will often do better academically, adjust well socially, and work through problem-solving skills efficiently. They manage to cope better with problems and the world around them. If you feel that this parenting style does not work for you, you should visit a therapist. A therapist can provide tips and suggestions to help you create a more balanced and efficient parenting approach that works for you and your child.
Monica Ramunda is a solution-focused therapist with an office located in Louisville, Colorado for in-office visits. With a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and more than 16 years experience in therapy and counseling, Monica works as both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with adults and children respectively. Much of Monica’s success is based on her eclectic orientation and drawing on a wide range of different approaches and techniques all while remaining strongly grounded in the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT).