A parenting style refers to the type of discipline that a parent implements to raise their child.
The four types of parenting styles are:
Each parenting style has different ways in which they enforce rules but also has different emotional dynamics within the parent/child relationship.
What are the Four Parenting Styles?
The four parenting styles were created by Dr. Diana Baumrind in the 1960s.
Dr. Diana Baumrind is a developmental psychologist that is considered the pioneer of research on parenting styles in the U.S. Her seminal works were first published in 1966 and 1967.
Her research and the research of many others over the last 60 years have consistently been able to identify 4 parenting styles.
Each style is directly related to children’s social, emotional, and academic development.
Moreover, the link between parenting styles and children’s development has been demonstrated in numerous cross-cultural studies (Kuppens & Ceulemans, 2019; Hosokawa & Katsura, 2018).
Related Article: 7 Positive Authoritative Parenting Effects On Children
Four Types of Parenting Styles
1. Authoritarian Parenting Style
The authoritarian parenting style is characterized by a firm expectation that children will obey the rules.
The rules are strictly enforced and parents often implement a punitive approach to compliance.
The following terms might resonate with authoritarian parents:
- “tough love”
- “do as I say”
- “children should be seen and not heard”
Children raised in this environment tend to comply with authority and obey the rules.
However, because they have not learned to express their feelings or think that their opinions are valued and respected, they can become socially and emotionally withdrawn. They may lack self-esteem, be aggressive, and generally speaking have an unhappy and moody disposition.
|Authoritarian Parenting Characteristics
|Rules consistently enforced
|Obedient and compliant
|Sometimes harsh punitive discipline
|Social and emotionally withdrawn
|Discussion and opinion not allowed
|Low self-esteem and self-worth
|Little explanation of punishment
|Struggle with emotional regulation
2. Authoritative Parenting Style
The authoritative parenting style involves fostering a nurturing and supportive environment for their children.
Although parents expect adherence to rules, those rules are explained thoroughly in an emotional tone that is positive and instructive. Parents are more likely to use praise and positive discipline instead of harsh punishment.
Children raised in this environment have high self-esteem. They feel comfortable expressing and sharing their feelings with others.
For this reason, they tend to have a close circle of friends and are cooperative and helpful. They make better decisions when faced with social pressure to engage in maladaptive behavior and are usually socially and emotionally well-adjusted.
|Authoritative Parenting Characteristics
|High but reasonable expectations
|Fair and consistent discipline
|Happy and cooperative disposition
|Encourages discussion and sharing opinions
|High self-esteem and self-worth
|Clear explanations of punishment
|Good at emotional regulation
3. Permissive Parenting Style
Parents with a permissive parenting style tend to be inconsistent in the enforcement or rules.
They believe that children learn best with little interference from parents. Parent and child have a warm and caring emotional bond that looks more like a friendship than a parent/child relationship. There is very little oversight or influence on the child’s behavior.
Children raised in this environment tend to be impulsive and lack self-discipline. They are not goal-oriented and lack academic focus. They can be rebellious and aggressive when their desires are restricted and show less persistence when faced with challenging tasks.
|Permissive Parenting Characteristics
|Almost no expectations
|Low in achievement orientation
|Trouble with authority figures
|Allow emotional and behavioral freedom
|Lack self-discipline and emotional regulation
|Nurturing and loving
|Happy when getting their way
4. Neglectful/Uninvolved Parenting Style
Parents with a neglectful parenting style are unresponsive to the emotional needs of their child.
They devote very little time to parenting and are often unaware of what their child is doing or the events in their lives. There are very few rules and very little guidance provided.
Children raised in this environment tend show low levels of motivation and academic performance.
They have low self-esteem and confidence, and often believe that there is something wrong with them. Because they feel undervalued and have a sense of low self-worth, these children may seek inappropriate role models that display antisocial and rebellious behavior.
|Neglectful Parenting Characteristics
|Very few demands
|Lacks focus and ambition
|Low emotional responsiveness
|Difficulty forming healthy relationships
|Limited interactions with child
|Low self-esteem and self-worth
|Cold and distant
|Prone to delinquency and misbehavior
Over 60 years of research has demonstrated that the way parents raise their children has a direct effect on their behavior and psychological well-being.
The research has identified four main parenting styles. Authoritarian parents expect strict adherence to rules and rely on punishment to gain compliance. These children tend to follow rules but lack self-esteem and may be social and emotionally withdrawn.
Authoritative parents are nurturing and offer clear explanations regarding rules. Children are allowed to express their opinions regarding household rules. These children tend to be well-adjusted, have high self-esteem, and can be emotionally expressive.
Permissive parents rarely enforce rules and treat the parent/child relationship as more like a friendship. Their children can grow to be impulsive and aggressive when they don’t get their way.
Neglectful parents are not involved in their child’s lives and unresponsive to their emotional needs. Children raised by this parenting style tend to have social and emotional difficulties and lack a sense of self-worth and value.
Related Theory: Family Systems Theory
Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behavior. Child Development, 37(4), 887–907. https://doi.org/10.2307/1126611
Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75, 43–88. https://doi.org/doi.org/10.1037/h0024919
Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology, 4, 1–103. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0030372
Baumrind, D. (1991). Parenting styles and adolescent development. In R. M. Lerner, A. C. Peterson, & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Adolescence (pp. 746–758). New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.
Carlo, G., McGinley, M., Hayes, R., Batenhorst, C., & Wilkinson, J. (2007). Parenting styles or practices? Parenting, sympathy, and prosocial behaviors among adolescents. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 168(2), 147–176. https://doi.org/10.3200/GNTP.168.2.147-176
Hoskins, D. (2014). Consequence of parenting on adolescent outcomes. Societies, 4(3), 506-531. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc4030506
Hosokawa, R., & Katsura, T. (2018). Role of parenting style in children’s behavioral problems through the transition from preschool to elementary school according to gender in Japan. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 16(1):21. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010021
Kuppens, S., & Ceulemans, E. (2019). Parenting Styles: A Closer Look at a Well-Known Concept. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28(1), 168–181. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1242-x
Moore, T., McDonald, M., Carlon, L., & O’Rourke, K. (2015). Early childhood development and the social determinants of health inequities. Health Promotion International, 30(2), 102-115. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dav031