Parenting Styles: A complete guide to different types of parenting methods
Everybody is raised in a different way. We have all, at least once, said: “If I did that my (insert parent here) would be so upset”. Why is it that even within families, siblings feel they had different parents? In this article, we answer why. This is a guide to parenting styles o parenting methods, which is more effective and why are they so important.
What are parenting styles?
Parenting styles are the different ways in which people raise kids. There are two important aspects that fall under the term “parenting styles.” Demandingness and responsiveness.
- Parental demandingness is behavioral control and refers to the requests and demands that parents can put on their children by being willing to confront the child that disobeys.
- Parental responsiveness is parental supportiveness and warmth. This refers to the degree that parents intentionally encourage individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion.
Many people have influenced the field of child-rearing and parenting styles. Beginning foremost in the 17th century with John Locke and his book Some Thoughts Concerning Education which emphasizes the importance of experiences to a child’s growth. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his book called Emile: or, On Education suggested that education should have less emphasis on books and more from how a child interacts with the world – this is consistent with slow parenting.
Parenting styles provide a strong indicator of parental function that predicts the child’s well-being between different environments and diverse communities. Both parental demandingness and parental responsiveness are important and essential ingredients of good parenting. According to New York University’s Child Development Study Center, it’s important to identify your own parenting style because it can be helpful in understanding how your behavior affects your child’s behavior.
Why have different parenting styles?
Many people believe that the quality of parenting is more important than the quantity of parenting. This essentially means that what the parent does is more important than how often the parent does it.
It’s important to keep in mind that parenting styles aren’t set in stone and they will change over time due to changes in the child and the parent. It’s also possible to have a different parenting style for each child due to personality differences and the child’s needs.
An important distinction to make is the difference between parenting styles and parenting practices. Parenting practices are the behaviors that parents use to socialize and interact with their children. Some examples of parenting practices are support, control, approval, monitoring, involvement, and harsh punishment. Parenting styles are the emotional climate and ambiance with which a child is raised. Some parenting associations believe that parenting practices such as support, monitoring, and firm boundaries have been linked to higher grades, fewer behavior problems, and stronger mental health.
Depending on the child’s gender, mothers and fathers tend to have different parenting styles. For example, a study from the Texas State University in 2009 showed that fathers can affect their daughter’s emotional adjustments more through the parenting style they use rather than through using disciplinary methods, like punishment.
There is an ongoing debate within psychology about nature vs nurture. This debate is concerned with the idea of which behavioral aspects that we have as humans are inherited (genetic) and which are acquired (learned), and how both of these aspects contribute to human behavior. Nature is what we think of as handed-down from our parents. For example, eye color, skin pigmentation, and certain diseases. Nurture is what we think of as external factors after we have been conceived and “made up” of our “nature” components. Examples are our experiences and our learned behavior.
Types of parenting styles:
Baumrind’s Parenting Typology
Diana Baumrind, an American psychologist, came up with the idea to categorize parenting styles into four parts: authoritative, neglectful, permissive, and authoritarian. Within these parenting styles, Baumrind assumes that normal parenting revolves around control issues. However, parents differ in how they try to manage, control, or socialize with their children. Baumrind assumes that it is the primary role of the parent to influence, teach, and control the child.
Parenting Styles: Authoritative
This parenting style is the recommended parenting style by many of the traditional, western, and mainstream experts today. According to Baumrind’s research and several parenting styles studies, authoritative parenting is the most consistent parenting style in terms of being associated with positive results for a child. Authoritative parenting ranks high in demandingness (control) and high in parental responsiveness (warmth). When used, it fits into the propagative parenting and concerted cultivation (positive parenting) parenting styles.
Characteristics of authoritative parenting:
- Assigning house chores
- Children are told what to do
- Teaches obedience
- There are rules, but they must make logical sense
- Relative freedom of choice
- Being warm and responsive to a child’s physical and emotional needs
Possible effects of authoritative parenting:
- High self-esteem
- Good academic performance
- Good emotional control
- Well-developed social skills
Examples of authoritative parenting:
- Instead of saying, “Eat your vegetables! Why? Because I told you so!” an authoritative parent would say, “Eat your vegetables because they’ll help you grow stronger and healthier.”
- When a child grabs his friend’s toy, an authoritative parent might say, “I understand that you also want to play with this doll. However, your friend was playing with that toy. Maybe you can take turns playing with the toy.”
- If the child is hungry, rather than letting the child eat anything and everything, an authoritative parent would say, “You may have a piece of cheese or an apple with some peanut butter.”
Parenting Styles: Neglectful Parenting
It is a parenting style, also known as uninvolved parenting, that ranks low in demandingness (control) and low in responsiveness (warmth) Maccoby and Martin later added a fourth dimension (neglectful parenting) to the parenting styles already defined by Diana Baumrind (who only defined three: authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting, and permissive parenting). Apparently, they did this so they could complete the picture of control and responsiveness.
Characteristics of neglectful parenting:
- Failing to meet physical needs
- Keeping food on the table)
- Neglecting emotional needs
- Disengaged in child’s life
- Not attending school events
- Mentally distant
Possible effects of neglectful parenting:
- Child learns how to provide for themselves
- Increased risk of substance abuse
- Fear of becoming dependant on other people
- Emotionally withdrawn, distant
Examples of neglectful parenting:
- When the child grabs their friend’s toy, the neglectful parent makes no attempt to intervene, rationalize, or justify the behavior
- When the child wants a snack, a neglectful parent wouldn’t offer a healthy snack. In some serious cases, the neglectful parent might not respond to their child’s hunger at all.
Parenting Styles: Permissive
With the Permissive parenting style, also known as Indulgent Parenting, there is a low demandingness (control) and a high responsiveness (warmth). Permissive parents try to be friends with their kids and give advice as a friend would. Some people theorize that permissive parents are the way they are as a result of the freedom and materials they lacked as children, as a way to compensate.
Characteristics of permissive parenting:
- Few behavioral expectations
- Non-restrictive (little) discipline
- Evade conflicts, encourage harmony
- Creates equality role between parent and child
- No hierarchy exists because they are friends
- Encouragement of independent thinking
- Bribery and praise are control techniques
Possible effects of permissive parenting:
- Poor decision making
- Unable to manage time or money
- Less emotional understanding
- Lower academic achievement
- Increased risk of substance abuse
Examples of permissive parenting:
- When a child grabs a toy from their friend, the permissive parent would choose not to intervene
- When the child requests a snack, permissive parents would put no restrictions or limits on what the child can eat.
Parenting Styles: Authoritarian
The Authoritarian parenting style, also known as the Strict Father Model, is a style which ranks high in demandingness (control) and low in responsiveness (warmth). Baumrind and other child specialists have linked authoritarian parenting with unfavorable and unfortunate consequences and effects for children.
Characteristics of authoritarian parenting:
- Demanding complete (blind) obedience
- Not considering the child’s viewpoint
- No negotiation or explanation
- “What I say goes”, “…because I said so”
- High standards
Possible effects of authoritarian parenting:
- Children are prone to feel low self-esteem/self-worth
- A basic lack of trust
- Adhere to tradition, not as open to experimentation
- Don’t take responsibility
Examples of authoritarian parenting:
- The child broke a glass by accident and the father decides to ground the child for an entire month due to the child’s carelessness.
- When the child grabs a toy from a friend, an authoritarian parent would require that the child return the toy immediately.
- When a child requests a snack, an authoritarian parent says no because that would violate the one-snack rule.
Parenting Styles: Philosophical Parenting
Postive philosophical parenting style
Positive parenting is a parenting style that overlaps quite a bit with authoritative parenting and is defined by constant guidance and support throughout developmental stages in a child’s life. This parenting style derives its roots from a new psychological idea called positive psychology. Also known as happiness psychology, positive psychology draws on the nature of human happiness, meaningfulness, and fulfillment. The biggest goal of positive parenting is empowering children and finding the middle ground in the relationship/situation. Concerted Cultivation is a form of positive parenting that encourages a child’s talents through extracurricular activities. For example, music lessons and/or sports.
Characteristics of positive parenting:
- Guidelines and coaching the rules
- Doesn’t teach do’s or don’ts, doesn’t impose strict rules
- Supports the child
- Lets the child figure out the solution with guidance
- Avoids a power struggle situation
Examples of positive parenting:
- When a child is taking a long time to get ready and you’re running late, instead of saying “Hurry up! We’re late!” a positive parent would say, “Would you rather put on your shoes or your jacket first?”
Attachment Philosophical Parenting Style
Attachment parenting is a parenting style that comes from the attachment theory. Essentially, the attachment theory attempts to describe the dynamics in both long-term and short-term interpersonal relationship in humans – specifically how humans respond when hurt, separated from loved ones, or when they perceive a threat. Attachment parenting works with child separation behavior, grief in children, and caregiver/babysitter attachment. The goal of attachment parenting is to strengthen the emotional and psychological bond between the primary caregiver (likely the mother) and the child. This is done, in theory, by the thought that the more in tune and connected with your child you are, the stronger the bond will be. The stronger the bond, the easier it will be to understand your child’s wants and needs.
There are four main types of attachment within the theory: secure attachment (happy and trusting), avoidant attachment (distant, not very trusting), resistant attachment (anxious, not trusting), and disorganized attachment (depressed and confused).
Characteristics of attachment parenting:
- Continuous bodily closeness and touch between mother and child
Examples of secure-attachment parenting:
- Home birth
- Co-sleeping (sleeping next to the baby)
Unconditional Philosophical Parenting Style
Unconditional parenting is an idea based on the unconditional positive regard. This means that the parent shows unconditional love, regardless of the situation. Carl Rogers, the pioneer in unconditional parenting, believes it is necessary to use unconditional love in order for a child to reach full growth and the ability to be oneself comfortably.
Characteristics of unconditional parenting:
- Complete support
- Loving the child for what they are and do, not for what they are not and don’t do
Examples of unconditional parenting:
- Your child tells you that they accidentally broke your favorite vase, rather than be mad at the child, you respond with a comment such as, “That’s okay. It’s only a vase. Just be more careful next time.”
Spiritual Philosophical Parenting Style
Spiritual parenting is a parenting style that isn’t well rooted in science. Actually, it is said to have roots in the modern teachings of eastern spiritual philosophy. It’s not about worshipping a God or Goddess. Rather, it’s about having full acceptance, having a connection to The Now, having inner awareness, and seeking interconnectedness. The goal is to help a child realize that their life is all about them. In the end, this means that the child is able to develop their own beliefs without much parental influence.
Characteristics of spiritual parenting:
- Raising kids by example
Examples of spiritual parenting:
- Instead of preaching what is right and wrong and giving rules to follow, show the child what is right and wrong, what rules are good to follow, so the child learns by experience.
Slow Parenting Style
Slow parenting, also known as Nurturant Parenting or Idle Parenting, is a parenting style that allows children to explore their surroundings without their parent’s protection. In this way, a child can develop their own interests and grow to be their own person. This parenting style also allows for more family time. Stemming from the slow philosophy movement, it takes the pressure off of the parents with the trend of organizing after-school activities and solving problems on the child’s behalf. The end goal with slow, nurturant, and idle parenting is to make sure the child is satisfied with themselves.
Characteristics of slow parenting:
- Limited electronics
- Kids organize and plan
- Utilization of simpler toys
- The philosophy behind the use of simple toys is that the more simple the toy is, the more creative the child will be forced to be and think.
Examples of slow parenting:
- When a child wants to watch TV, encourage them to go outside to explore nature or read a book instead
Dolphin Philosophical Parenting Style
Dolphin Parenting is a parenting style that was coined to be the parenting style similar to that of a dolphin – playful, social, and intelligent. It is also comparable to the parenting styles of tigers (strict) and jellyfish (lack of rules and expectations). The ideas of dolphin parenting can be remembered with the POD, an acronym and also the name for a group of dolphins. “P” stands for play and exploration, “O” stands for “others,” including a sense of community and contribution, and “D” stands for downtime, like regular sleep, exercise and rest. The goal is to allow the child to develop a sense of freedom over their lives while having impulse control.
Characteristics of dolphin parenting:
- Avoidance of overscheduling the child’s activities
- Not overprotective
- Setting expectations for success and behavior
- Keeping in mind the child’s desires and goals
Examples of dolphin parenting:
- Not signing your kids up for extra-curricular activities, like sports or music, unless they ask.
Ethnic Minority Philosophical Parenting Style
Ethnic Minority Parenting is a parenting style that comes from the Authoritarian parenting style and is known for its high academic achievements in children from an Asian background. It’s highly responsive to a child’s needs while also maintaining high demands. It is high in demandingness (control) and high in responsiveness (warmth).
Characteristics of Ethnic Minority parenting:
- High expectations/demands
- Keeping child’s needs in mind
Examples of Ethnic Minority parenting:
- A parent who holds their child’s school grades with high importance and will help the child with anything in order to have a good grade (take extra classes, for example), but also be supportive if the child doesn’t do as well as the parent had hoped.
Pernicious parenting styles
Narcissistic parenting, as are narcissistic people, is a parenting style that is driven by its own needs. Parents identify their accomplishments with those of their children. This means that the child isn’t seen as an individual in their parent’s eyes, but rather as an extension of the parent themselves.
Characteristics of Narcissistic parenting:
- Lack of empathy
Examples of Narcissistic parenting:
- A parent that says, “Why can’t you be as good as your brother?” or “I can’t live without you!” to their child.
The term “helicopter parenting” was invented by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline in their work “Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility.”.The term helicopter parent is very descriptive because these types of parents always try to keep their children at a close range, ‘hovering’ above them to make sure they stay safe. Helicopter parents have a psychological fear that they will lose their child. That’s why it seems that they distrust their children’s ability to take care of themselves and stay safe.
Characteristics of Helicopter parenting:
- Having difficult allowing their child to be over-engaged
- Constantly intervening – on behalf of their kids – and covering for the child’s mistakes
- Some may complete school work or job applications to make sure they are done well
Examples of Helicopter parenting:
- To call their college student up in the morning to make sure they’re awake in time for class
Toxic parenting is the term that can be used to ‘poor parenting,’.Narcissistic parenting and helicopter parenting can be labeled as poor parenting and thus, fall under the term toxic parenting, as well because the needs of the parent come to the needs of the child.
Characteristics of Toxic parenting:
- Neglecting child’s needs
- Failure to provide security
- Negative emotions aren’t allowed to be expressed
- They give The Silent Treatment
- They make the child responsible for the parent’s happiness
Examples of Toxic parenting:
- A child thinking, “There’s a reason that my parent behaves this way (for example, blaming the child because the parent has no money). It must be my fault. I’m bad.”
Similar to helicopter parenting, overparenting is a parenting style that some millennials face- they’ve grown up, but they haven’t outgrown their parent’s well-intentioned micromanagement and hovering. A large issue with overparenting is that kids aren’t able to develop the psychological resilience to well endure the issues adult life throws at them.
Characteristics of Overparenting:
- Keeping in constant contact with the child via technology
- Packed schedules (filled with extra-curricular activities)
- Tons of praise and encouragement
- Parental temper tantrums
Examples of Overparenting:
- Selecting the child’s degree or alma-mater for them
Affectionless control is the result of a parenting style/parenting styles that have been theorized to cause depression in the recipient child due to either insufficient parental care or over-the-top parental care. This means that a (grown) child who sees the way their parent raised them was insufficient or was raised in a bad environment could have depression as a consequence of how they were raised.
Which of the parenting styles is the most effective?
While it’s hard to say which of the parenting styles is the most effective or the best to use, it’s good to keep in mind that parenting styles can be cultural and depend on the child’s temperament.
Looking at cultural and ethnic differences in parenting styles, it’s interesting to notice that the United States, among middle-class families, uses the authoritative parenting style most often. Of course, there are exceptions. One exception being the demandingness (control) appearing to be less nitpicky to girls’ well-being than to boys’. In Asian populations, the authoritarian parenting style is as often used as the authoritative parenting style. It’s argued by the founder of the Ethnic Minority Parenting style that white families (both in America and Europe alike) base their strictness in Protestant Christian beliefs whereas Asian (Chinese, to be more specific) families place strictness in the notion of training (Chiao shun and guan). Either way, the goal is to make sure there are harmonious family relationships rather than complete control or domination of the child.
The child’s temperament is another important aspect to consider. Historically, parenting styles had a strong parental orientation- meaning they revolved around the parent. Nowadays, parenting styles are more geared toward the child. This means that depending on the child’s temperament, the parenting style of parenting styles can change and vary. Each child and parent will have a different system of interaction because each person is different. Your sister may have more patience or your brother may be more of a sensitive person. Each parent has to find the best way to work with each child’s individual temperament.
If you had or have a parenting style that you like or dislike, let us know why in the comments!
Anna is a freelance writer who is passionate about translation, psychology, and how the world works.