Did you know there are 4 types of parenting styles? And whichever style you use can affect EVERYTHING; from how well your child does in school, to their self-esteem and decision making ability.

If you want to raise kids that grow into healthy well-balanced adults, it’s important to be aware of each the various parenting styles, and to know which one produces the best results. 

It’s also important to determine which style you default to when things get heated. If it’s not the most effective style, just having this awareness can help you make adjustments that get you closer to your goal.

It’s a great way to improve your parenting skills!

Psychologists have found there are two main components that determine each of the parenting styles.

One is responsiveness, meaning how much input and freedom you are willing to give your child.

And the other is demandingness (or demand), meaning how strict you are, or how much obedience you demand from your kids.

Based on this, researchers have identified 4 types of parenting styles:

  • Authoritarian (low responsiveness/ high demand)
  • Authoritative (mid responsiveness/ mid demand)
  • Permissive (high responsiveness/ low demand)
  • Uninvolved (no responsiveness/ no demand)

Most people default to one particular style, but it is possible to shift between the 4 types of parenting styles in different scenarios.

For example, you may be primarily authoritative, but in certain situations you give in to your kids and become permissive.

Which one of these 4 types of parenting styles best describes you?  Read on to find out…


The 4 Types Of Parenting Styles


Style 1: Authoritarian

Description: Authoritarian parents are demanding, but not responsive. Meaning they are big believers in setting rules for children to follow, but not much interested in taking their kids’ point of view into consideration.

As a result, this type of parent is very strict and controlling.

Of the 4 types of parenting styles, authoritarian parents tend to use punishment instead of discipline the most.

So rather than teaching a child how to make better choices, they focus on getting kids to feel “sorry” for their actions and be obedient.

Related: Positive Discipline: Parent With Love Not Fear


How To Recognize If You Are Authoritarian:

  • Do you believe kids should be seen and not heard?
  • Do you often offer no other explanation for rules other than, “because I said so”?
  • Do you give your kids few choices about their own life?
  • Do you subscribe to an, “it’s my way or the highway” philosophy?
  • Do you punish your kids in order to get them to feel sorry for their actions and behave?


Potential Consequences: Children who grow up with strict authoritarian parents are at a higher risk of having low self-esteem because their input and opinions aren’t valued.

Granted these kids can be well-behaved and do well in school, but their obedience comes at a price. They can become skilled liars in order to avoid punishment.

Children of authoritarian parents may also grow up to be anxious adults who don’t reach their full potential because they’re always looking over their shoulder for that strict parent.

These kids also report higher levels of depression.

Related: 9 Parenting Mistakes To Avoid


Style 2: Authoritative

Description: Authoritative parents seek a balance between a child’s desire for freedom and their need to be listened to.

These parents are both demanding and responsive; meaning they have rules and consequences but they also consider their child’s opinions.

Authoritative parents use a positive discipline model where they focus on problem solving and strategies to reinforce good behavior.

This type of parent sets high expectations, but also values open communication with their child.

So while an authoritative parent is ultimately in charge, they make the effort to understand and support their kids as well.


How To Recognize If You Are Authoratative:

  • Do you take the time to explain the reasons behind your rules?
  • Do you put a lot of effort into fostering open communication with your child?
  • Do you consistently enforce rules with consequences, but take your child’s feelings into account when doing so?
  • Does your child’s day have structure to it (such as morning and bedtime routines) but you let your child have some input into how they might work?


Potential Consequences:  Authoritative parenting is widely regarded as the most effective of the different parenting styles.

Children raised in an authoritative environment tend to be more happy and successful.

This style of parenting helps kids develop a sense of independence. The focus on open communication makes kids feel comfortable expressing themselves and they tend to do better in social situations as a result.

These kids are also more likely to be good at evaluating risks and making decisions.


4 types of parenting styles
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Style 3: Permissive

Description:  Permissive parents, while loving and accepting, make few demands of their children. They are lenient and may worry about stopping a child’s creativity by interfering.

Permissive parents tend to give kids what they ask for and they avoid conflict whenever possible.

If they do use consequences, they don’t always stick with them. A child can often get privileges back if they beg and promise to be good.

Permissive parents will encourage their kids to talk about issues, but they rarely put much effort into helping them problem-solve or teaching them how to make better choices.

Of the 4 types of parenting styles, the permissive parent is the most hands-0ff.

Related: Top 12 Ways To Improve Your Parenting Skills Today


How To Recognize If You Are Permissive:

  • Are you super forgiving when it comes to your child and have a “kids will be kids” type of attitude?
  • Do you set rules but rarely enforce them?
  • Do you give your child what they want to compensate for the things you didn’t get as a child?
  • Do you often treat your child like your “best friend”?
  • Do you think your child will learn best on their own without “interference” from you?


Potential Consequences: Kids with permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically. Without an adult to hold them to a high standard, they can flounder in school.

These kids may also exhibit behavior problems because they don’t understand boundaries or how to follow rules.

Children with permissive parents may come to feel entitled to privileges and material goods. They’re also at a higher risk of health problems, such as obesity, because permissive parents struggle to limit the amount of junk food they eat.


Style 4: Uninvolved

Description: Of all the parenting styles, this one is the most dangerous.

Uninvolved parents demand almost nothing and give almost nothing in return.

Basically uninvolved parents expect kids to raise themselves. They don’t set expectations, boundaries, or consequences. They may spend a lot of time away from home, leaving kids to fend for themselves.

In a worse-case scenario these parents may not even put in the energy needed to meet their children’s basic needs. It can verge into neglect territory.

Uninvolved parents may have another issue at play that interferes with their ability to care for their child; such as substance abuse problems, mental health issues, lack of education, severe financial stress, etc.


How To Recognize If You Are Uninvolved:

  • Do you spend long periods of time away from home, leaving your child alone?
  • Do you rarely know where you child is or who they’re with?
  • Do you find yourself making excuses for not being there for your child?
  • Do you not ask your kids about school or homework?


Potential Consequences: It’s not difficult to see how amongst all of the parenting styles, the indifference of uninvolved parenting can create a lifetime of havoc for a child.

These kids have no trust foundation with their parents which makes it difficult for them to form relationships with others.

Kids with neglectful parents perform poorly in school, display behavior problems, and rank low in happiness.

These kids are also at risk of harm, since they don’t have a parent watching out for them.

So if you know of a child that may be in a neglect situation it’s important to talk to someone, like the school or even social services, to get the family some help.

Related: Different parenting Styles? How To Get On The Same Page!


Which Parenting Style Is Most Effective?

As you can see – authoritative parenting, which balances high expectations and clear boundaries with a recognition of a child’s need for independence, is the clear winner when it comes to predicting future success.

If your current default is one of the other parenting styles, you can still change!

Educate yourself on different positive parenting strategies. Read helpful parenting books to get tips from experts.  

Ask your friends for their best parenting advice.

You may also want to talk to your healthcare provider or look into working with a therapist, particularly if you identify with the uninvolved parenting style. 


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