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Why Parenting Styles Matter When Raising Children


Developmental psychologists have long been interested in how parents affect 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 very different personalities.


Despite these challenges, researchers have posited that there are links between parenting styles and the effects these styles have on children. And some suggest these effects carry over into adult behavior.


The Four Parenting Styles


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 don't explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, "Because I said so."


While these parents have high demands, they are not very responsive to their children. They expect their children to behave exceptionally and not make errors, yet they provide very little direction about what their children should do or avoid in the future. Mistakes are punished, often quite harshly, yet their children are often left wondering exactly what they did wrong.


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. These parents expect a lot of their children, but they provide warmth, feedback, and adequate support. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing.


The combination of expectation and support helps children of authoritative parents develop skills such as independence, self-control, and self-regulation.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, make very few demands of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control.​


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." Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent.


Uninvolved Parenting

Uninvolved or neglectful parenting. An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness, and very little communication.2


While these parents fulfill the child's basic needs, they are generally detached from their child's life. They might make sure that their kids are fed and have shelter, but offer little to nothing in the way of guidance, structure, rules, or even support. 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 a a number of studies about the impact of parenting styles on children. Among the findings:2


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

  • Authoritative parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable, and successful.

  • 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.


The parenting styles of individual parents also combine to create a unique blend in each family. For example, the mother may display an authoritative style while the father favors a more permissive approach.
This can sometimes lead to mixed signals. In order to create a cohesive approach to parenting, it is essential that parents learn to cooperate and combinetheir unique parenting styles.





Credits: www.verywellmindparenting.com