What is your parenting style?

Katherine - posted on 09/12/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Developmental psychologists have long been interested in how parents impact child development. However, finding actual cause-and-effect links between specific actions of parents and later behavior of children is very difficult. Some children raised in dramatically different environments can later grow up to have remarkably similar personalities. Conversely, children who share a home and are raised in the same environment can grow up to have astonishingly different personalities than one another.

Despite these challenges, researchers have uncovered convincing links between parenting styles and the effects these styles have on children. During the early 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children (Baumrind, 1967). Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she identified four important dimensions of parenting:

•Disciplinary strategies
•Warmth and nurturance
•Communication styles
•Expectations of maturity and control
Based on these dimensions, Baumrind suggested that the majority of parents display one of three different parenting styles. Further research by also suggested the addition of a fourth parenting style (Maccoby & Martin, 1983).

The Four Parenting Styles
1.Authoritarian Parenting
In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, "Because I said so." These parents have high demands, but are not responsive to their children. According to Baumrind, these parents "are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation" (1991).


2.Authoritative Parenting
Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Baumrind suggests that these parents "monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative" (1991).


3.Permissive Parenting
Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. According to Baumrind, permissive parents "are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation" (1991). Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent.


4.Uninvolved Parenting
An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child's basic needs, they are generally detached from their child's life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children.
The Impact of Parenting Styles
What effect do these parenting styles have on child development outcomes? In addition to Baumrind's initial study of 100 preschool children, researchers have conducted numerous other studies than have led to a number of conclusions about the impact of parenting styles on children.

•Authoritarian parenting styles generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.


•Authoritive parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable and successful (Maccoby, 1992).


•Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.


•Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers.
Why Do Parenting Styles Differ?
After learning about the impact of parenting styles on child development, you may wonder why all parents simply don't utilize an authoritative parenting style. After all, this parenting style is the most likely to produce happy, confident and capable children. What are some reasons why parenting styles might vary? Some potential causes of these differences include culture, personality, family size, parental background, socioeconomic status, educational level and religion.

Of course, the parenting styles of individual parents also combine to create a unique blend in each and every family. For example, the mother may display an authoritative style while the father favors a more permissive approach. In order to create a cohesive approach to parenting, it is essential that parents learn to cooperate as they combine various elements of their unique parenting styles.

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17 Comments

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Tara - posted on 09/13/2010

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If I had to label myself ; which I will do for this occasion, I would place myself in the category of #2.
I have always had open communication with my kids. With my older two I tend to lean more toward permissive with a background in authoritative. lol
not because I have lower maturity expectations for them, just the opposite. I feel with a background of # 2. I can slide into #3 and allow my children to take over the role of # 2 for themselves. They are given the tools and structure as young children to be able to develop the skills they need to regulate their own behaviour and make appropriate choices about their own life.

Jenni - posted on 09/13/2010

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I believe i'm mostly authoritarian. My husband permissive. I too find we end up meeting somewhere in the middle between these two for the most part. He softens me up a bit and I harden him up a bit.
I've always seen issues in being far too right or far too left. I think applying moderation and the middle ground approach to parenting is the most beneficial to children and results in well-rounded adults.

Tah - posted on 09/12/2010

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we did a test on this in one of my psych classes, developmental pysch i believe...and i was authoritive...i will also say that my pysch classes have helped me in understanding my children better..i would listen to my son when we were at odds and say, you can't really think like that..then i learned that adolescents don't think or reason rationally, it has given me more patience with my children and i stopped pulling my hair out and actually got it cut...much cuter..

Johnny - posted on 09/12/2010

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I definitely aim for #2. I think I'm doing alright, but I wouldn't be a mom unless I worried that I was somehow screwing up my kid.

[deleted account]

My parenting style is inconsistently authoritative. That's what I TRY to be, but there are moments of any of the other 3 occasionally thrown in there....

[deleted account]

Like Sara, I strive and consider myself mostly 'authoritative' IF I was to categorize myself which I try not to do.

Lindsay - posted on 09/12/2010

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I think I lean mostly towards the authoritive parenting. We definately have rules and structure but communication is always open.

Lyndsay - posted on 09/12/2010

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PS) My husband is pretty permissive... sometimes I joke that he makes me look like Hitler, because I'm the one who enforces all the rules. :)

Lyndsay - posted on 09/12/2010

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I would like to think I'm authoritative. I learned all this in my first year of psych, when my son was a year old, and I vowed that day to always set high standards and encourage my son without ruling like Hitler.

Stifler's - posted on 09/12/2010

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I'm a bit of all of them, mostly 1, 2 and 3. While we'd like to believe we can control what influences our children are exposed to, we can't. They go to school. Their peers are just as much of an influence as we are on their behaviour and interests.

ME - posted on 09/12/2010

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I am Authoritative, my husband is permissive...Miles (oldest son) is just 2 1/2 though, so we're still working on it...

Jodi - posted on 09/12/2010

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Interesting about the cohesive approach, because I think that is exactly where our family stands. I tend to be mostly in the Authoritative, but I do tend to lean towards autoritarian to some degree in some areas, because my husband is quite permissive, so I think I have developed certain parenting techniques to compensate for that to some degree. But then, in other ways, sometimes I lean towards being permissive.....depends a lot on the circumstances.

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