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Parenting Styles 101 – Which is Best?

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Parenting is unique in different and similar cultures, which makes it impossible to identify a single category of parenting. However, despite the variations associated with parenting, there are plenty of similarities.

Parenting styles are crucial to understanding how to raise kids as they have a huge impact on the life of a particular child. These styles will have a huge influence on the healthy growth and development of the child as well as playing a huge role in shaping their entire lives.

Different Attributes of Parenting Styles 

Types of Parenting Styles

Whilst each parenting style has its own unique attributes that make it unique, there are specific areas in which the parenting styles differ. These areas are communication, expectations, nurturance, and disciplinary strategies. Each specific parenting style has its own traits and an approach that differentiates it from other styles.

Parenting Styles Research

Parenting is perhaps one of the most engaging tasks that an individual will take up. There is no denying that taking up parenting can be challenging and many parents are afraid to screw up the development of their child!

Fortunately, there is plenty of research on parenting styles that one can use to ensure that they raise their children in a way that they believe will lead to positive growth and development

Baumrind Parenting Styles

The researcher, Diana Baumrind identified three parenting styles (known as the Baumrind Parenting Styles).

  1. Authoritative parenting style
  2. Authoritarian parenting style
  3. Permissive parenting style

A fourth parenting style was suggested in research by Maccoby and Martin:

  • Uninvolved or neglectful parenting style

Furthermore, the researchers divided these styles into 4 basic elements:

  • Responsiveness vs Unresponsiveness
  • Demanding vs Undemanding

A single parenting style will involve a combination of several strategies. The Baumrind and Maccoby and Martin parenting styles are based on the United States, but they do apply to other cultures. 

Here the 4 parenting styles are presented with their corresponding basic elements:

Demanding (high control)

Undemanding (low control)

Responsive (high warmth)


Indulgent or Permissive

Unresponsive (low warmth)


Uninvolved or Neglectful

Authoritative Parenting Style 

parenting styles giving discipline

Individuals do tend to ask: which parenting style is most encouraged in America?

A simple answer to this is the authoritative parenting style.

A reason why this parenting style is highly encouraged is because of the high level of involvement alongside the balanced levels of control.

This parenting style is characterized by the setting of realistic limits for the children. In addition to this, the parents are affectionate and willing to listen to their child’s views

The children are given chances to become independent. However, the children still need to follow specific rules and responsibilities set by the parents. The parents will usually give reasons behind the rules and are willing to negotiate on the rules on special occasions such as holidays or prom nights.

The authoritative parenting style is preferred in American society because it allows children to grow up with high levels of self-esteem and collaboration skills. This parenting style tends to be more focused on preventing problems before they happen.

Positive discipline strategies are the key to reinforcing good behavior in this parenting style. Even when the children fail to meet the expectations set, the parents are focused on being welcoming rather than enforcing punishment. Despite this, the parents are assertive rather than being restrictive.

Authoritarian Parenting Style 

Parenting Styles - Negative Parenting

The authoritarian parenting style identifies the parents as the law where they do not have to give reasons behind their decisions. When the children fail to meet the expectations or make mistakes, they are usually punished harshly.

Even when being punished, the child might be left wondering what exactly they did wrong. The parents have set quite high demands, and this approach focuses more on correcting mistakes that have occurred rather than preventing them before they begin.

While it is clear that there is not a single standardized parenting style that can be used for all situations, the authoritarian parenting style fails to acknowledge the feelings of the child.

Children exposed to such a parenting style, which involves the formulation of rigid rules, are at a potential danger to develop self-esteem problems. These children may also have a problem expressing their opinions as they may feel that they are not valued.

Parenting styles definition will differ depending on the culture, and this means that the authoritarian style could be enviable in some cultures. 

Check out our article comparing the Authoritarian vs Authoritative Parenting Styles for further information.

Permissive Parenting Style​​​​ 

parenting styles for kids

This type of parenting style is quite common in modern society. If you have found yourself wanting to be a friend more than a parent, then this style perfectly defines your parenting style.

Parents using this style are overindulgent, and despite setting rules, they will rarely follow up on the conduct of their children. Hence, they rarely punish their children and will make a few demands.

This parenting style happens when the parents are more indulged in their lives that they hardly make time to respond to the actions of their children. While the lines of communication between the child and the parent are open, the parent will leave the decisions to the child. The impact of this parenting style is that it can lead to children growing up lacking the self-discipline to manage their school work. Additionally, children are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drugs and sexual behaviors at a young age.

For a more detailed insight into this style, please check out our article: What is Permissive Parenting?

Uninvolved Parenting Style 

In this parenting style, the parents can be considered as being neglectful. The children will end up taking many responsibilities. On some occasions, the parents may look up to the children for advice about several things, and they end up acting like the parents.

Children receive very little nurturing and guidance

The parents may be overwhelmed with work or settling the bills that they lose track of the child’s development. A parent with mental health problems or drug addiction falls into this parenting style as the child may have to take care of their parents at one time. The children exposed to an uninvolved parenting style may develop self-esteem issues and may also be emotionally withdrawn, among many other issues.

The Bottom Line

In most cases, it is impossible to classify parents in one category as different circumstances may require a different approach. Becoming a good parent is not just about using the best parenting style as none possess that qualification. However, it is about commitment to the cause of raising children through the development of healthy relationships with them. Thus, a knowledge of the various parenting styles is essential as a guide in parenting rather than a definitive blueprint.


Robert is a father of a young daughter and has developed an expertise in child car seat safety. He is a keen supporter of the use of child safety systems having seen his daughter come away from a side impact collision unscathed due to the use of a child car seat. When he's not spending time reviewing child safety systems he works as a Technical Manager on major construction projects.

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