The Four Parenting Styles Explained

December 15, 2023

parenting styles

Parenting is one of the most significant and challenging roles a person can take on. How parents choose to raise their children can have a significant impact on their development and future well-being. Research and psychologists have identified four main parenting styles that capture the various approaches parents take when it comes to nurturing and disciplining their children: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful. 

The Four Parenting Styles

Here at Holly Springs Pediatrics, we know that understanding these parenting styles can help parents make informed choices about how they want to raise their children. It’s important to note that these parenting styles are not rigid categories, and most parents exhibit a combination of these styles to some extent. Additionally, parenting styles can evolve over time as parents gain experience and knowledge.

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting is often considered the gold standard of parenting styles. Parents who use this approach tend to be both nurturing and firm in their discipline. They set clear expectations for their children’s behavior and enforce boundaries, but they also provide warmth and support. Authoritative parents are open to communication, encourage independence, and value their children’s opinions and feelings. Some examples of authoritative parenting include

  • Listen to your child and validate their feelings
  • Establish clear rules and boundaries
  • Use consequences that teach life lessons
  • Let your child make small choices

One of the key aspects of authoritative parenting is the emphasis on reasoning and explanation. Instead of relying solely on rules and punishment, authoritative parents explain the reasons behind their expectations and decisions. This helps children develop a clear understanding of right and wrong.

Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting is characterized by strict rules, high expectations, and little room for flexibility. Parents who follow this style tend to be less nurturing and more focused on discipline and obedience. They often use punishment as a primary means of control and may not provide much emotional support or warmth. Some examples of authoritarian parenting include

  • Demanding but not responsive. 
  • Little warmth or nurturing, with few choices for children
  • Little explanation for punishments and consequences
  • Impatient with misbehavior

While authoritarian parents may have good intentions and want their children to succeed, their approach can have negative consequences. Children raised in such households may become anxious, have low self-esteem, and struggle with decision-making because they are not encouraged to think for themselves.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting is characterized by a lack of strict rules and boundaries. Parents who adopt this style tend to be lenient, allowing their children to have significant freedom over their actions and choices. They often avoid discipline and may struggle to say “no” to their children’s requests. Some examples of permissive parenting include

  • Low demands with high responsiveness
  • Emphasizes children’s freedom over responsibility
  • Seems more like a friend than a parent
  • Rarely enforces any consequences and may use bribery to get a child to behave

While permissive parents may be seen as “cool” by their children, this approach can lead to problems in the long run. Children raised in permissive households may have difficulty with self-control, struggle academically, and have trouble forming healthy relationships. 

Neglectful/ Uninvolved Parenting

Neglectful parenting, sometimes referred to as uninvolved parenting, is characterized by a lack of emotional involvement and supervision. Parents who follow this style may be indifferent to their children’s needs and may prioritize their own interests or responsibilities over parenting.

It is important to note that neglectful parenting is different from busy parenting. Neglectful/  uninvolved parenting may include the parent expecting the child to care for themselves or failing to provide supervision. This type of parenting can be considered a harmful parenting style and can lead to negative consequences for your child. 

Understanding the four main parenting styles can help parents make informed choices about how they want to raise their children. Holly Springs Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times on a wide array of subjects. Do you have more questions about the different parenting styles? Call our Holly Springs, NC pediatric office at (919) 249-4700 to schedule an appointment or talk to a staff member.