There are a wide variety of parenting styles that adults can implement when raising their children. Most often, men and women don’t peruse the various forms of parenting styles; many simply do what’s right and act fairly whenever they can. However, there are four common styles of parenting and they each have a different influence on a child’s life.
Technically, a parenting style is a psychological construct representing strategies that parents use when raising their children. And the amount of parenting styles, tactics, theories, and parental investment can be overwhelming for a new parent learning how to walk the parenting journey well.
Developmental Psychologists have long been interested in how parents impact the lives and development of their children. They are professionals who focus on human development from birth to death as well as describe, measure, and explain age-related changes in behavior. However, for the most part, it has been difficult to find specific ways in which the particular actions of parents affect their children. For instance, children who were raised by the same parents under the same parenting style often turn out differently, with different personalities and traits.
Nonetheless, research has been able to provide a link between parenting styles and the general effects on children. For instance, in the early 1960’s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study in which she found two main aspects of parenting:
- Parental responsiveness: the degree to which a parent responds to a child’s needs.
- Parental demandingness: the degree to which a parent expects mature and responsible behavior from a child.
From these two main styles, she recognized three different parenting styles:
- Authoritarian: This style is characterized by high demandingness with low responsiveness. The authoritarian parent is typically rigid, harsh, and demanding. Abusive parents can fall into this category. This style might be seen as too hard.
- Permissive: This style is characterized by low demandingness and high responsiveness. A permissive parent is overly responsive to the child’s demands and rarely enforces rules. Often, it is a spoiled child that results from permissive parenting. This style is considered to be too soft.
- Authoritative: This style is characterized by high demandingness with huge responsiveness. The authoritative parent is firm but not rigid and he or she is willing to make exceptions when the situation warrants it. This type of parent responses well to the child’s needs but is not overly indulgent. This parenting style might be seen as just right.
Later research done by other developmental psychologists recognized a fourth parenting style:
- Uninvolved: This parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are detached from their children’s lives.
From research done by Baumrind and other psychologists, the following conclusions were made about how the four parenting styles listed above affected a child’s life:
- The authoritarian parenting style generally lead to children who are obedient, responsible, and successful, but they tended to be unhappy with low levels of self-esteem and social confidence.
- The authoritative parenting style resulted in children who were both responsible and happy. They were successful and well rounded.
- The permissive parenting style resulted in children who ranked low in happiness and had little ability to regulate their own emotions. They were more likely to experience life problems with authority and tended to not do well in school.
- The uninvolved parent resulted in children who ranked the lowest in all demands. These children lacked self-control, had low self-esteem, and were less capable than their peers.
If expecting parents learned of these results, why don’t more and more implement the most successful parenting style that leads to the healthiest development of children? There are various reasons why adults parent the way they do. These include culture, personality, family size, socioeconomic status, education level, religion, and other factors.
It’s clear that these parenting styles have similar effects on children on the whole. However, there are various factors that can contribute to a child’s upbringing and that may lead to different results.