According to early developmental psychologists, parenting styles can be identified based on two dimensions: parental control and warmth. The control dimension, which can be high or low, describes how parents react to their children and which methods they use to modify the child’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors. While looking at the warmth dimension, we are looking at the degree of acceptance and affection that parents give their children. Different combinations of high or low control, and high or low warmth represent different parenting styles.
Psychological research has found that specific parenting styles can influence childrens’ development, emotions and behavior. That’s why knowing about parenting styles could benefit everyone – current or future parents and their children.
To learn more about the 4 parenting styles, keep reading!
1. Authoritative parenting
Authoritative parenting is high on both control and warmth. Those parents set strict rules and consequences, but they also make sure not to ignore their child’s feelings. They are warm in their approach, nurturing and encouraging. They are willing to listen to their children and take their point of view into consideration, but they also make it clear that adults are in charge here. With this approach, they have the control over their children, but not in an overbearing way. This parenting style has been considered the best because it’s a perfect balance of rules and affection.
Children that were raised by authoritative parents are usually happy, confident, respectful and successful. They rarely show signs of problematic behavior (such as addiction, alcoholism or problems with the law) because the control their parents had over them ensured to teach them good behavior. And since they received so much love growing up, they are able to love themselves as well, to fulfill themselves and to have stable and secure relationships with other people.
2. Authoritarian parenting
It sounds similar to authoritative parenting, but make sure not to confuse the two. Authoritarian parents are also high on control, but their parenting is lacking warmth and emotion. These parents believe children should follow rules without exception. They are strict and believe in punishments and discipline. While enforcing their rules, they don’t really care about their children’s emotions. Negotiation is just… not an option in their house. They may seem cold and distant when dealing with their children, and sometimes they can even get hostile and aggressive.
When their children grow up, they are obedient, respect authority and follow the rules. But because their opinions were never heard or valued, they have problems with self-esteem. It’s hard for them to feel like they’re able to communicate their wants and needs with confidence. Because of this, they may also be prone to depression or anxiety disorders.
3. Permissive parenting
This parenting style kids usually like the most, because those parents show little control and lots of warmth. They often say that “kids will be kids”, and are quite forgiving when their kids make mistakes. Sometimes they might act more like friends than parents. They like talking with their children and joking around, and they rarely put their foot down.
But no matter how much their kids like that treatment, those parents’ permissiveness comes with a price. Children raised this way are often low in self-control, low in consideration of others, and low in achievement motivation. They are also more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol. Also, they might struggle academically and have low motivation for higher education.
4. Uninvolved parenting
Unfortunately, some parents don’t really care about warmth nor control. Those parents, uninvolved ones, barely ever show interest in their children. They don’t ask about their needs, school work or friends. They let their kids do whatever they want, while expecting them to take care of themselves too. They can be straight up neglectful, and cold and rejecting if their kids seek their help.
Uninvolved parenting also has bad effects on children. They don’t do well in school, don’t have fulfilling friendships, and have high levels of depression, anxiety and drug use by the time they reach teenage years. They are also likely to struggle with their self-esteem.
If you’re not a parent, which parenting style did your parents have while raising you? And what effects did it leave on you?
And if you are a parent, in which category do you fit in? Hopefully your parenting doesn’t lack control or warmth. But if you feel like there’s place for improvement, good job on taking the first step! With lots of learning and dedication, and of course, willingness, you can achieve that perfect balance and become an authoritative parent, raising a happy, protected and confident child.
4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Effects on Kids. (2021, October 9). Verywell Family. https://www.verywellfamily.com/types-of-parenting-styles-1095045#toc-uninvolved-parenting
Deater-Deckard, K., Lansford, J. E., Malone, P. S., Alampay, L. P., Sorbring, E., Bacchini, D., Bombi, A. S., Bornstein, M. H., Chang, L., di Giunta, L., Dodge, K. A., Oburu, P., Pastorelli, C., Skinner, A. T., Tapanya, S., Tirado, L. M. U., Zelli, A., & Al-Hassan, S. M. (2011). The association between parental warmth and control in thirteen cultural groups. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(5), 790–794. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025120
Lickona T. (2020, June 18). 4 Parenting Styles: How They Relate to a Child’s Character. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/raising-kind-kids/202006/4-parenting-styles-how-they-relate-childs-character