What are Different Parenting Styles?

A parenting style is a method or a strategy used by a parent to raise their child. There are many variations of these so-called styles but in simple terms there are four.

  • Authoritative
  • Authoritarian
  • Permissive and
  • Neglectful

Authoritative and authoritarian are alike in several ways. They both seek to instruct a child in the right way of behaving, setting goals approved by the parent and doing all to ensure the child has success. A major difference between the two is that there is little dialogue or discussion between the parent and child in an authoritarian style. This is not the case with the authoritative style where the parent encourages the child to be independent.

The permissive style is contrasted against the two previous styles. Here there are few if any rules and love and nurturing the child is seen as the best way to raise children. Parents pay close attention to their children but make few if any demands upon their time and actions. It’s almost as if the parent will do anything to win the favor of their child and is reluctant to place any discipline or punishment routines upon the young ones. As with a child raised in an authoritative style, a child from a permissive style of parenting may have a long and healthy relationship with their parents.

The so-called Neglectful style of parenting is bad news for all. It does not mean cruelty or criminal neglect but rather disengagement. Here the parent takes little interest in the child’s activities and although providing the basic needs of the child, has little love for their offspring. Because the child as an infant receives little affection, it is likely the child will have serious social problems in later years being unwilling or unable to establish strong emotional relationships.

So now we come to the main question. Which is the best style of parenting or, more importantly, which is the best style for you? The answer of course is that there is no right style for every parent. You need to assess a number of things. How did your parents raise you? Was this successful do you think? What do the experts suggest? Have you spoken with other parents to see which style they use and, if so, what information have you obtained?

Of course it’s possible to have a combination of styles. There is no law or rule which says a parent must choose one style and stick to it. You can change your style but do so always thinking about your children. They want and need consistency. Having a parent who loves them is not enough. The love must be supported by a fair and clear picture of how the child needs to be a part of the family and share and care for others within that family.

Parenting styles may come and go out of fashion but there is never a wrong time to give your child firm guidance and loads of love and support. That’s one parenting style which will never go out of fashion.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

What is Authoritarian Parenting and its Consequences?

What is Permissive Parenting and its Consequences?