Parenting Styles

Every parent has a parenting style. More than likely, you are going to use many of the same tactics as your parents simply because it is what you know. In the psychology world, there are only four styles of parenting. Each has its own characteristics and one is considered better than the rest. These are: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved.

An authoritative parent is extremely strict. She will establish rules for her child and expect that these are obeyed. If the child does not abide by a rule, he receives a punishment such as a time-out, spanking, or other form chosen by the parent. These are noted as punishments rather than consequences because they do not relate to the rule set by the parent. For example:

  • If the child is playing with a toy and not sharing, he would be put in timeout for 5 minutes. A consequence would be having the toy taken away so it is directly correlating.

Authoritative parents are unlikely to bend or negotiate with their children. It results in children who do not know how to problem solve because they have never had to work through issues before.

Like authoritative parents, authoritarian parents set rules for their child. The difference is that the authoritarian parent explains the rule to the child, takes in to account their emotion, and is willing to negotiate with the child at times. When setting limits, the child faces direct consequences rather than any form of punishment. Even more, positive parenting is utilized rather than consequences. This means:

  • Praising your child for doing something well
  • The child then repeats the action to continue getting attention
  • Negative behavior is giving a direct consequence, but the child chooses that.

An example of this is asking your toddler to pick up his toys. If he does it, you say, “thank you for picking up your toys. I really appreciate that.” If he does not, you tell him that the toys left out will not be available for play after nap time. He then either decides to pick up his toys or loose them.

Children of authoritarian parents are able to make decisions and feel confident and happy in the world.


The permissive parent does not offer discipline or boundaries with their child unless it comes down to a safety issue. He otherwise believes that the child is acting as a child should. A permissive parent often describes himself as a friend to the child rather than the parent. The two discuss their emotions, however, bad behavior is often ignored. This means that there is likely to be an increase in these behaviors. Permissive parents raise children that have trouble with authority since they never received any growing up. They also tend to be more depressed than other parenting styles.


Uninvolved parents are the opposite of the authoritative parent. The uninvolved parent is exactly that: not involved in their child’s life. This doesn’t mean they are not physically present, they are not mentally or emotionally available. It may be due to having to work too many jobs, an addiction issue, or not having proper parenting examples themselves. An uninvolved parent often comes from a home with uninvolved parents as well. Because these children lack needed attention, they are the most depressed and have more behavioral issues. The children have no idea what it means to be nurtured or how to nurture others.


If you cannot tell, the ideal parenting style is Authoritarian. This allows the parents to maintain control, but gives the child necessary time to learn the skills needed to be a healthy adult. Many parents are actually a combination of two parenting styles as well. If you want to learn more, there are classes offered in most cities that teach healthy parenting skills. What is your parenting style? Would you want to change it?