The Four Types Of Parenting Styles

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express their feelings or think that their opinions are valued and respected, they can become socially and emotionally withdrawn.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 CharacteristicsChild’s Profile
Rules consistently enforcedObedient and compliant
Sometimes harsh punitive disciplineSocial and emotionally withdrawn
Discussion and opinion not allowedLow self-esteem and self-worth
Little explanation of punishmentStruggle 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 CharacteristicsChild’s Profile
High but reasonable expectationsAchievement oriented
Fair and consistent disciplineHappy and cooperative disposition
Encourages discussion and sharing opinionsHigh self-esteem and self-worth
Clear explanations of punishmentGood 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 CharacteristicsChild’s Profile
Almost no expectationsLow in achievement orientation
Inconsistent disciplineTrouble with authority figures
Allow emotional and behavioral freedomLack self-discipline and emotional regulation
Nurturing and lovingHappy 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 CharacteristicsChild’s Profile
Very few demandsLacks focus and ambition
Low emotional responsivenessDifficulty forming healthy relationships
Limited interactions with childLow self-esteem and self-worth
Cold and distantProne 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.

Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75, 43–88.

Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology, 4, 1–103.

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.

Hoskins, D. (2014). Consequence of parenting on adolescent outcomes. Societies, 4(3), 506-531.

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.

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.

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.

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Dr. Cornell has worked in education for more than 20 years. His work has involved designing teacher certification for Trinity College in London and in-service training for state governments in the United States. He has trained kindergarten teachers in 8 countries and helped businessmen and women open baby centers and kindergartens in 3 countries.

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This article was peer-reviewed and edited by Chris Drew (PhD). The review process on Helpful Professor involves having a PhD level expert fact check, edit, and contribute to articles. Reviewers ensure all content reflects expert academic consensus and is backed up with reference to academic studies. Dr. Drew has published over 20 academic articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education and holds a PhD in Education from ACU.

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