Parent, Teacher, Author
In the research literature about parenting, there’s pretty consistent agreement that 3-4 basic parenting styles (first proposed by Baumrind) exist and that there are different outcomes for kids linked to them. In this post, we’ll define the different parenting styles. Once you’ve looked these over, think about which one fits your usual style of responding to your kids. Or, if you’re an adolescent, which one fits your parents. It won’t be the same all the time, so look for the one that’s usual. Remember, no parents are perfect or even do what they’d like to 100% of the time. We’re people too, and we mess up! So, examine your parenting honestly, but know that you won’t parent the way you’d like in every situation.
When we think about parenting style, we have to think of 2 specific things: warmth and control. Each parenting style is different from the others in these 2 areas.
1. Authoritative: This is the healthiest type of parenting. It provides high levels of warmth and emotional support while also providing high levels of control through clearly stated rules and consistently provided consequences.
2. Authoritarian: This type of parenting provides low levels of warmth and emotional support with high levels of control. Parents who use this style may tend to also use verbal hostility and physical coercion to control their child.
3. Permissive: Permissive parents show their children high levels of support and encouragement, but low levels of control. These are the buddy parents, whose attitude is more about being friends than about setting rules or providing consequences for inappropriate behavior.
4. Uninvolved/Neglectful: These are the parents who provide low levels of emotional support and low levels of control. They may be absent from the home a lot, but they may be there and just not be connecting. It’s easy to think of these parents as those who aren’t there due to living and poverty and having to work a lot. But, I’ve found that this type of parenting really tends to be more often connected with parents who have a lot of material success and social connections. They are busy doing other things rather than being with their families. They may throw money and possessions at their kids, but they themselves aren’t there.
Take a look at these styles. Which one is closest to the way you usually parent? If you don’t like what you see, that’s okay. The thing about parenting style is that you can change what you’re doing. That’s good news! These are just patterns of behavior that you’ve established, and you can make the decision to change them. If you’re not finding yourself fitting under Authoritative parenting, I’ll show you in the next post why it’s worth making the effort to change. Next time we’ll talk about what kinds of differences parenting style make in the ways that kids respond to peer pressure.