If you are someone who always wished to have children, the chances are high that you noticed and liked caring for others' babies. There would have been times when you thought a parent's approach toward their child was not right, and you figured out better ways of dealing with the situation in your mind. As a parent, you may know that it is not as simple as it seems from afar.
Parenting style differs from parent to parent. There is no one right way of raising a child. Some things that work for you as a parent may not suit your friend. Or do you admire your awesome neighbour who makes her children toe the line whenever they are in a public space? What we often forget is the fact that each parent is different, and so is the child. The combination of your parenting style and your child's personality determines how your child will shape up as they grow older.
What Determines Your Parenting Style?
A parenting style is a method that you use to raise your child. While some parents adopt a parenting style unknowingly, some put conscious efforts toward what they believe is effective parenting. Either way, most parents will agree that parenting is an in-the-moment activity that stretches long-term. Raising children to be contributing citizens of society while steering their future is no easy task.
Just like every child is different, no two parents are alike. Several factors influence your parenting style. Some of them are:
- Experience as a parent, that is, if you are a first-time parent or have experience bringing up children
- Age and gender
- Level of education
- Your experiences as a child
- Your physical and mental health
- Your religious beliefs
So, you can imagine how many different types of parenting styles can be found among parents. Based on clinical and developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind's works, there are broadly 4 types of parenting styles.
How did Diana Baumrind Categorise Parenting Styles?
Globally-acclaimed psychologist Diana Baumrind pioneered researching parenting styles and their impact on a child's development. She established the connection between different parenting styles and their effect on a child's growth, interpersonal relationships, and personalities.
She began researching parenting styles psychology in the 1960s. She focused on two aspects of a parenting style and studied their impact on the child's behaviour. These aspects included:
- Demandingness or the extent to which the parents try to control their child's behaviour.
- Responsiveness refers to how parents accept their child's emotional needs.
Baumrind and her team studied the following features of a parenting method to identify and arrive at the different parenting styles finally.
- Style of communication
- The expectation of maturity from the child
- The strategy used to discipline
4 Kinds of Parenting Styles and Their Impact on Children
Based on her research, Diana Baumrind categorised parenting styles under three categories—authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive. Later, in the 1980s, Stanford researchers Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin added one more category to the list—neglectful.
Now that you know the basics of different types of parenting styles, let us understand how each style affects and shapes a child during their growing-up years.
1. Authoritative Parenting
(High Demandingness/High Responsiveness)
This is a democratic style of parenting. Parents who follow this have high expectations from their children but, at the same time, are responsive and warm. Parents have clear communication channels and are open to answering questions. They offer adequate support and feedback while considering their child's feelings and opinions.
In this parenting style, parents respect and nurture their children even when they fail. Parents often use failing on a quiz or bad scores as an opportunity to allow their children to understand where they faltered, reflect, learn, and improve themselves.
According to Diana Baumrind's research on different parenting styles, children of authoritative parents:
- Are more active, secure about themselves, and independent
- Exhibit more happiness and contentedness
- Perform better academically
- Have fewer mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
- Have lesser chances of indulging in substance abuse
2. Authoritarian Parenting
(High Demandingness/ Low Responsiveness)
This parenting style is the strictest of all. In this, parents create a lot of formal structures and rules. Mostly, there is little consideration for the child's socio-emotional needs, and they are expected to follow and obey.
One of the critical characteristics of this parenting style is that it involves using punishment to enforce discipline. To the child, their parents may come across as cold and non-emotive individuals.
Children who grow up with parents following this style of parenting usually:
- Appear unhappy
- Possess low self-esteem and have a high degree of insecurity
- May have poor social skills
- Face the risk of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse
- Cannot cope with problematic situations
- In the long run, the children of authoritative parents may even turn hostile
3. Neglectful Parenting
(Low Demandingness/ Low Responsiveness)
Parents who do not ask their children about their day or spend quality time with them fall under the category of neglectful parents. Also known as 'uninvolved parenting', the child is mostly left to fend for themselves in neglectful parenting. The interaction and emotional connection between the parents and children are shallow. There are no set boundaries or standards for the children to follow.
According to the parenting style psychology, this neglectful state could be unintentional. It could result from parents suffering from mental health issues or being overwhelmed with life issues.
This type of parenting style usually makes the child:
- Exhibit delinquent behaviour
- Addicted to alcohol or substances
- Prone to mental health issues
4. Permissive Parenting
(Low Demandingness/ High Responsiveness)
This is a very communicative style of parenting where children are left to make their decisions independently. However, the flip side is that there is hardly any structure, and the parent-child dynamics are usually devoid of expectations and rules.
The parents who follow this style are usually extremely lenient and do not like interfering with their children's lives. They do not want to say no to their children and avoid setting rules and boundaries. Parents exhibit warmth and have a nurturing attitude. Although they communicate with their children, the latter usually get their way. Sometimes, to avoid conflict with their children, the parents may reward them with gifts.
Children of parents who follow the permissive style of parenting usually:
- Have low self-control and lack discipline
- Exhibit behavioural issues
- Have low self-esteem
- Have poor performance in studies
- Cannot handle authority
- Lack motivation
How to Develop a Balanced Parenting Style?
There is no such thing as the perfect parenting style. Parenting is an ongoing process that can never fit into a single category. Most parents switch between different parenting styles depending on the situation. Sometimes the switch happens due to the child's temperament.
While it is difficult to be consistent with one parenting style, having a sensitive approach to parenting makes sense. Whatever your parenting style is, being sensitive toward your child allows you to be more responsive to your child's needs and create an environment of affection and encouragement at home.
Here are some tips for navigating your child through their feelings and problems and enabling them to handle real-world situations:
- Become a good role model. Don't do things that you wouldn't like your child to emulate.
- Don't lose control, and avoid being reactive in front of your child.
- Shower affection on your child and make them feel wanted and safe.
- Never compromise on the rules. Know that discipline is essential to your child's journey and will only help them become better and more balanced individuals.
Flexibility is the key to being a successful parent. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. If you make a mistake, accept it and apologise to your child. Walk the path you want them to follow. And the sooner you begin, the better. The early years of your child's growth lay the foundation for the person they will be.
At Raising Superstars, we help you make the best of your child's initial five years and set the track for their growth and development. Parenting tips for newborns, ways to bond with your baby, fun-learning activities for a toddler, and more—we help you make your parenting journey more fun and fulfilling for you and your baby. Click here to learn how to unleash the potential of your baby's brain and help them become the best version of themselves early on.