Know Your Parenting Style And How It Shapes Your Children

It’s easy to judge other mom’s parenting styles while at the playground. You think, “There’s no way I would have let my child do that, and get away with it!”

Looking in the mirror at our own parenting approach often proves difficult. Taking a deeper look into how our parenting is affecting the outcome of our children takes a strong conscious effort.

There is the nature vs. nurture debate, but the jury is out on both being important in child rearing.

Let’s explore the nurture aspect by examining the four types of parenting styles as defined by standard psychological practices.

The four types of parenting are authoritative, neglectful, permissive, and authoritarian. You may find that you are a combination of two or more types.

Use good judgment, or seek a professional opinion from a licensed therapist, to find if you need to move in or out of a category.

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting is most widely recognized as the style that raises well-rounded, productive children.

Children are considered to be in a healthy environment, with a working parent and child relationship when raised this way.

The Developmental Psychology Departmentat Vanderbiltwrote:

Authoritative parents are easy to recognize, as they are marked by the high expectations that they have of their children, but temper these expectations with an understanding support for their children as well.”

Open communication with your child provides insight into their life; how they feel and why they act the way they do.

Look for these characteristics of an authoritative parent:

  • You give your child structure and household rules.
  • You provide consequences for breaking the understood rules.
  • You make expectations for your child clear and reasonable.
  • You have an open line of communication with your child; in which they know they can use without judgment.

Neglectful Parenting

Neglectful parenting is not natural and is most the most harmful style of parenting for your child.

The lack of attention and communication with your child in this form of parenting results in a lack of trust in the child.

Social problems may arise from the lack of trust, such as poor relationships. If you don’t communicate with your child you will not know how they are developing, and when they may need your help.

If you, or someone you know, has a neglectful parenting style consider seeking professional help from a therapist to develop healthier techniques.

Look for these characteristics of neglectful parenting:

  • You are unaware of your child’s physical and emotional needs.
  • You don’t know the day to day activities of your child.
  • The home is not a safe space for your child.
  • You spend long hours away from your child.
  • You don’t know who your child’s friends or teachers are.
  • You don’t initiate conversation with your child, or promote open communication.

Permissive Parenting

Parenting Science reported:

Permissive parenting is a style of child-rearing that features two key traits: 

  • being nurturing and warm (which is good for kids), and
  • being reluctant to impose limits (which is usually not good).”

Permissive parenting is also known as indulgent parenting; this style can be harmful for children with its lack of structure.

This lenient style seeks to avoid confrontation with the child. Permissive parents are often responsive and nurturing to their children which is important, but are not demanding on them.

The few rules, if any, placed on the child are enforced inconsistently in this style. The lack of structure can cause your child to have little self-control and no self-discipline.

Children crave structure to feel safe. The child can develop insecurities, poor social skills, lack of motivation, and self-centeredness if reared by permissive parents.

The long term effects of permissive parenting are damaging; making it difficult for your child to hold a steady job or relationship.

Developmental Psychology Department at Vanderbilt reported:

“In a study published in the scientific Journal of Early Adolescence, it was found that teens with permissive parents are three times more likely to engage in heavy underage alcohol consumption.”

Look for these characteristics of a permissive parent:

  • You don’t have household rules for your child.
  • You avoid conflict with your child at all costs.
  • You desire to be your child’s friend over their parent.

Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting is what people would call strict parenting. It has the structure children need but lacks the open communication with the child.

Very Well reported:

“Parents with an authoritarian style have very high expectations of their children, yet provide very little in the way of feedback and nurturance. Mistakes tend to be punished harshly. When feedback does occur, it is often negative. Yelling and corporal punishment are also commonly seen with the authoritarian style.”

On the positive side of authoritarian parenting, you are teaching real life application.

The Positive Parenting Centre reported:

Specific rules need to be in place for children to understand the basic principle of cause and effect. They need to understand that all their decisions and actions in life, good or bad have relative consequences.”

On the negative side, a child needs to be nurtured in addition to structure in order to thrive.

Healthline reported:

“Overall, most research has found that the strictest form of authoritarian parenting is associated with more negative effects in children. These effects include:

  • showing poor social skills
  • lower levels of self-esteem
  • higher levels of depression”

Look for these characteristics of an authoritarian parent:

  • You set rules that have no exceptions.
  • You don’t allow flexibility or choices for your child.
  • You use punishment when your child breaks the rules.
  • You don’t show your child a lot of warmth or nurturing.

Evaluate what parenting style you use and if you have need for change. If you find you are in healthy parenting perimeters, keep up the good work.

Parenting is more than putting a roof over their head, and food in their mouths. It is striking a delicate balance of structure and affection.

The way we parent today helps shape the way our children parent tomorrow. Please let us know in the comments section if you had to change parenting styles, and how you did it.


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