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The Ultimate Parenting Guide: Which Style Of Parenting Is Right For You?

Everyone has their own unique parenting style. Learn more about your style and whether it's right for you here.
by Rob Gillham | Jan 31 2023

The way you parent can affect everything from your child’s self-esteem to their physical health. The way you interact with your child and how you discipline them will influence them for the rest of their lives, so make sure your parenting style supports healthy growth and development.

According to researchers, there are four main types of parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing the right one for you.

In addition to varying approaches to raising children, each style has pros and cons and can be distinguished by a variety of characteristics. The most common question people ask is which parenting style they are using – and which is the best.

While there is no one right way to parent, most experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommend a general parenting style.

Explore the four main parenting styles, why they matter, and how to tell which one you parent with and when to adapt your approach.

The Four Main Styles Of Parenting 

1. Authoritarian Parenting 

You might be an authoritarian parent if you believe kids should be seen rather than heard or if you don’t consider your child’s feelings. Kids should follow the rules without exception, according to authoritarian parents.

When children question the reasoning behind a rule, authoritarian parents often say, “Because I said so.” Authoritarian parents do not negotiate and place a high priority on obedience.

Also, they don’t allow kids to take part in problem-solving challenges or obstacles. As a result, they make the rules and enforce the consequences without considering the opinion of children.

Discipline may be replaced by punishments when parents are authoritarian. They’re more concerned with making kids feel sorry for their mistakes rather than teaching them how to make better choices. It is common for children raised by strict authoritarian parents to follow rules a lot of the time. However, they pay the price for their obedience.

Since their opinions aren’t valued, children of authoritarian parents are more likely to develop self-esteem issues.

It is also possible for them to become hostile or aggressive. Instead of thinking about how to do things better in the future, they often focus on their anger at their parents or themselves for not living up to parental expectations. As a result of authoritarian parents’ strictness, their children may become good liars in order to avoid punishment.

2. Authoritative Parenting

It is possible to be an authoritative parent if you put effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with your child, explain the reasons behind your rules, set limits, enforce rules, and give consequences. Parents who are authoritative have rules and use consequences, but they also consider their children’s opinions.

In addition to validating their children’s feelings, they also make it clear that the adults are ultimately in charge. According to research and experts, this is the most developmentally healthy and effective parenting style.

The goal of authoritative parents is to prevent behavior problems from occurring in the first place. In addition, they use praise and reward systems to reinforce positive behavior.

It has been found that kids who have authoritative parents are more likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their opinions and feelings to others and self-advocating.

Children who are raised with authoritative discipline tend to be happy and successful. In addition, they are more likely to make sound decisions and evaluate safety risks independently.

3. Parenting with permissiveness

If you set rules and rarely enforce them, give out consequences rarely, and believe your child learns best without much interference from you, you might be a permissive parent. Parents who are permissive are lenient. In most cases, they only intervene when a serious problem arises.

It’s quite forgiving, and they adopt the attitude that kids will be kids. When they do use consequences, they may not make those consequences stick. A child might get privileges back if they beg, or they might be allowed to leave time-out early if they promise to behave. 

Parents who are permissive usually play more of a friend role than a parent role. It is common for parents to encourage their children to talk to them about their problems, but they rarely put much effort into discouraging poor choices or bad behavior.

Academic struggles are more common among children who grow up with permissive parents.

Due to their lack of respect for authority and rules, they may exhibit more behavioral problems. The person may report a lot of sadness and low self-esteem.

Additionally, permissive parents are less likely to limit unhealthy food intake or promote regular exercise or healthy sleep habits, which can lead to health problems, including obesity. Permissive parents are more likely to allow their children to develop dental cavities since they do not enforce good habits, such as ensuring their children brush their teeth.

4. The uninvolved parent

If you spend little time with your child, you might be an uninvolved parent. Uninvolved parents tend to have little knowledge of their children’s activities.

In most households, there aren’t many rules. There may not be enough guidance, nurturing, and attention given to children by their parents.

Children are expected to raise themselves by uninvolved parents. The parents don’t devote much time or energy to meeting the basic needs of the children. Uninvolved parents may neglect their children, but it isn’t always intentional.

When a parent struggles with mental health problems or substance abuse, for instance, they may not be able to provide consistent care for their child’s physical or emotional needs. It is also possible that uninvolved parents do not know much about child development or that they believe that their child will be better off without their involvement.

In some cases, they are overwhelmed with other problems, such as work, bills, and household management. Uninvolved parents are likely to leave their children with low self-esteem.

There is a tendency for them to perform poorly in school. Additionally, they have frequent behavior problems and are not happy.

Essential Parenting Tips 

Improve Your Child’s Self-Esteem

When children see themselves through their parent’s eyes, they begin to develop a sense of self. Your kids absorb the tone of your voice, your body language, and every expression you make. Parental actions and words have a greater impact on their self-esteem than anything else.

When you praise their achievements, no matter how small, they will feel proud; when you let them do things independently, they will feel capable and strong. Comparing a child unfavorably with another or making belittling comments will make kids feel worthless.

Words should not be used as weapons or loaded statements. Physical blows and comments like “What a stupid thing to do!” or “You act more like a baby than your little brother!” can cause damage.

Be compassionate and choose your words carefully. Make sure your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them even when they don’t behave well.

Observe good behavior in kids

How often do you react negatively to your kids in a day? There is a good chance that you will criticize more often than compliment. If your boss treated you this way, even if it was well-intended, how would you feel?

In order to encourage good behavior, it is best to catch kids doing something right: “You made your bed without being asked — that’s terrific!” or “I watched you play with your sister, and you showed great patience.” These statements will work better than repeated scoldings in the long run.

Every day, find something to praise. Be generous with your rewards – love, hugs, and compliments often work wonders. You will soon find you are “growing” more of the behavior you desire.

Be Consistent with Your Discipline and Set Limits

In every household, discipline is necessary. In order for kids to learn self-control and choose acceptable behaviors, discipline is necessary. It is possible that they will test the limits you set for them, but they need those limits in order to become responsible adults.

In order for your kids to develop self-control and understand your expectations, you should establish house rules. The rules might include: no TV until homework is completed and no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing.

A system might be in place: one warning followed by consequences such as a “time out” or loss of privileges. Parents often fail to follow through with consequences. It’s impossible to discipline kids one day and ignore them the next. Consistency teaches what you expect.

Maintain a positive role-model attitude

Watching their parents teaches young children a lot about how to act. When they are young, they take more cues from you. Think before you lash out or blow your top in front of your child: Is that how you would like your child to behave when angry?

Keep in mind that your kids are constantly watching you. In studies, it has been found that children who hit tend to have a parent who is aggressive. Respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, and tolerance are traits you should model for your children.

Demonstrate unselfish behavior. You should do things for other people without expecting a reward in return. Thanks and compliments should be expressed. The most important thing is to treat your children the way you would like to be treated.

Prioritize communication

You cannot expect kids to do everything because you tell them to. They want and deserve explanations as much as adults. Kids will begin to wonder about our motives and values if we don’t explain them. Reasoning with your kids allows them to understand and learn without judgment.

You should be clear about what you expect. If there is a problem, describe it, express your feelings, and invite your child to help you solve it. Consequences should be included. Provide options and suggestions.

Consider your child’s suggestions as well. You should negotiate. Children who are involved in the decision-making process become more motivated to see things through.

Your parenting style should be flexible and willing to be adjusted

You may have unrealistic expectations if you often feel disappointed by your child’s behavior. It may be helpful for parents who think in terms of “shoulds” (for example, “My kid should be potty trained by now”) to read up on the subject or to consult with other parents or child development specialists.

Children’s environments affect their behavior, so you might be able to change that behavior by changing the environment. Try to change your surroundings so that fewer things are off-limits to your child if you find yourself constantly saying “no.” Both of you will feel less frustrated.

Your parenting style will gradually change as your child grows. There is a good chance that what is working for your child right now won’t be as effective a year or two from now.

Teenagers tend to look to their peers for role models more than to their parents. Maintain guidance, encouragement, and appropriate discipline while allowing your teen to gain more independence.

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