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The three parenting styles: Which one are you?

Parents must consider their parenting goals and the type of parent they wish to be when selecting a parenting style.

Parenting techniques vary from family to family. However, the majority of parenting styles fall into one of three categories. Psychologists define these parenting styles as “authoritative”, “authoritarian”, and “permissive”. Which one are you?

Exploring the three styles of parenting

According to research, about 46% of parents use the authoritative parenting style, 26% the authoritarian parenting style, and the remainder use the permissive parenting style​. Let’s discuss each one.

Authoritative parenting style

Parents with an authoritative style of parenting are firm but caring and kind. They establish rules and expect their children to comply. Neither excessively rigorous nor excessively indulgent, authoritative parents maintain a fair balance between high and low expectations. 

These parents allow their children to make age-appropriate decisions, encouraging them to assume greater responsibilities as they mature. They are attentive to their child’s needs yet do not give in to every demand. 

They provide their child with justifications for specific rules and standards and allow natural consequences to occur wherever possible and when there is no genuine risk of harm. 

As they mature into young adults, children of authoritative parents frequently exhibit social competence, independence, and a strong sense of responsibility.

Based on research on parenting styles, children of authoritative parents tend to​:

  • Happier and more content.
  • More independent
  • More active​​.
  • Achieve higher academic performance​.
  • Develop good self-esteem​.
  • Interact well with peers and have competent social skills​​.
  • Have better mental health.
  • Exhibit less violent tendencies​​.

Authoritarian parenting style

Authoritarian parents are rigid, unyielding, and unbending. They may strive to control every part of their child’s life and forbid them from making decisions. 

Authoritarian parents expect unquestioning submission. They may employ harsh discipline techniques with their children and be indifferent to their emotional needs. They frequently do not explain the reasoning behind the regulations they establish and impose their own punishments when rules are disobeyed. 

Children with authoritarian parents may be unable to act independently and have difficulty expressing themselves.

Based on research on parenting styles, children of authoritarian parents tend to:

  • Be less independent.
  • Appear insecure.
  • Possess low self-esteem.
  • Exhibit more behavioural problems​​.
  • Have more temper tantrums.
  • Perform worse academically.
  • Have poorer social competence.
  • Be more prone to mental issues​​.
  • Be more likely to have drug or alcohol use problems​.
  • Have worse coping skills​.

Permissive parenting style

Permissive parents are indulgent and do not wish to impose their will on their child’s personality development. They frequently establish neither rules nor consequences. 

To protect their child from perceived pain, misery, or hurt feelings, they may encourage him to avoid even natural or reasonable outcomes. Permissive parents may become frustrated when a child exhibits defiant or undesirable behaviour. 

Despite their frustration, permissive parents typically do not intervene to influence their child’s behaviour as long as he is not physically hurt. 

According to studies, permissive parenting may cause adolescents and young adults to remain egocentric or to lack self-control.

Based on research on parenting styles, children of permissive parents tend to:

  • Be unable to follow rules and instructions.
  • Have worse self-control.
  • Possess egocentric tendencies.
  • Encounter more problems in relationships and social interactions.

What is the most encouraged parenting style?

Worldwide, the authoritative parenting style is the most encouraged of the three parenting styles.

That’s because this parenting style fulfils most parents’ ultimate objective – to ensure that their child grows up to be a healthy, happy, kind, and responsible adult one day.

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