The Different Styles Of Parenting Prove That There's No Right Way To Do It

Which style best describes you? Here we have identified 6 types of parenting styles and their various effects on your kid

This article was first published on The Asian Parent.



Parenting style refers to the combination of strategies that you use to raise your children. Your style of parenting has a big impact on your child. In fact, your parenting style can affect everything from how your child feels about himself/herself to how well he/she does in school.

As parents, we need to ensure that our parenting style is supporting healthy growth and development, because how we interact with our children will influence them for the rest of their lives.

Researchers have identified these 6 types of parenting styles. Here, we take a look at the attributes of each style, and how they affect kids.

Types of Parenting Styles According to Experts

Authoritative Parenting

What it is:

In authoritative parenting, parents are nurturing, responsive, and supportive, yet set firm limits for their children. They are neither overly strict nor overly indulgent. They listen to their child’s inputs, but use logic and reasoning to decide whether to accept it or not.

These parents make it clear that they are in charge, and will hold kids accountable when they don’t do what’s expected. However, they are more likely to use respectful parenting and positive discipline techniques instead of strict punishments.

Even though they set high standards for their kids, they also make sure to give their children plenty of guidance to help achieve their goals.

They are also flexible when they see that the structure is not working. For example, authoritative parents might make adjustments to their kids’ feeding and sleeping schedules depending on what works best for their little ones.

How it affects kids:

Studies have frequently shown that, children raised with authoritative parenting style tend to be happy, independent, self-controlled, and achievement-oriented. These children usually have a good relationship with their parents. They are more likely to discuss their feelings with their parents and seek advice from them.

According to Lisa Damour, Ph.D., author of Under Pressure, “Research consistently demonstrates that the children of authoritative parents are more likely to enjoy positive relationships with their peers, to do well in school, and to become independent and self-sufficient than children whose parents take an authoritarian, permissive, or neglectful approach.”

Permissive Parenting

What it is:

Permissive parents are warm, loving, nurturing, and responsive to their kids’ needs, but tend to be lenient and inconsistent in the rules and discipline department. Even if they set rules, they rarely enforce them.

They usually act more like a friend than a role model, so kids tend to have a lot of freedom and aren’t always monitored closely. If these children break the rules, they are usually forgiven quickly with the attitude of “kids will be kids.”

The “Marie Kondo” parenting is associated with permissive parenting where parents allow their children to make mistakes and encourage them to choose their own paths.

“Marie Kondo” or permissive parents often encourage their children to talk with them about their problems, but they don’t put a lot of effort into discouraging bad behaviour.

Children of permissive parents don’t tend to have many responsibilities or chores, and their days usually aren’t very structured. For example, children of permissive parents may not have set meal time or bedtime schedules.

In the same way for children of “Marie Kondo” parents, their reaction to failure and conflict is to reason out out as grown-ups would.

How it affects kids:

On the plus side, children of permissive or “Marie Kondo” parents tend to be self-confident and free thinkers who are not afraid to speak their minds. Children raised by permissive parents have good social skills and are more resourceful than those with overly strict parents. They are also seen to be more creative.

On the downside, not being required to follow rules strictly might make it difficult for these kids to adjust to the realities of the outside world. They tend to be impulsive, rebellious and aimless. Young children might even throw tantrums when they don’t get the freedom they are used to.

We think that being given freedom would foster independence in these children.

However, studies have shown that kids of permissive parents are more likely to show signs of anxiety, depression, aggression, lack self-control, have bad social skills, and do poorly in school.

These children might suffer from health problems like obesity and dental cavities too, because their parents are not strict when it comes to enforcing good habits like eating healthy and regular teeth brushing.

Authoritarian Parenting

What it is:

Not to be mistaken with authoritative parenting, the authoritarian way of parenting follows strict approach where the focus is on obedience. Unlike authoritative parents, authoritarian parents are more likely to resort to threats, strict rules and harsh methods of discipline and punishment.

Authoritarian parents do not believe in asking their kids for inputs. They expect their kids to obey them and follow the rules, simply because they said so. It’s all about exerting control through power.

Authoritarian parents usually tend to create strict meal time and bedtime schedules for their children. As an example, children might be forced to clean up their plates even when they are not hungry.

How it affects kids:

On the plus side, authoritarian parenting teaches children the importance of respecting and following the rules. These children are less likely to make impulsive decisions.

On the downside, children brought up in this parenting style may feel stressed out about not being perfect and meeting their parents’ expectations. They suffer from low self-esteem. They may also find it hard to confide in their parents, so they end up internalising their behaviours, and feeling withdrawn, depressed, unwanted or afraid.

Attachment Parenting

What it is:

In attachment parenting, there is extra emphasis on affection and physical touch, to enhance the attachment between the parent and child.

Attachment Parenting International (API) has identified eight principles, or parenting practices, which include:

  • Preparing for pregnancy, birth, and parenthood
  • Feed the infant/child with love and respect
  • Respond to their needs with sensitivity
  • Practice nurturing touch
  • Ensure safe sleep, both emotionally and physically
  • Provide loving care consistently
  • Use positive discipline
  • Aim for balance in your personal and family life.

Attachment parenting focuses on breastfeeding on demand, skin-to-skin contact, baby-wearing and minimising separation from your little one, especially during the infant and toddler years.

Kangaroo parenting is associated to this style of parenting because Kangaroo parents are often completely involved and emotively caring, while trying to strike a balance between developing their children’s IQ and EQ.

How it affects kids:

This parenting style was popularised by Dr Sears and his wife Martha Sears, according to whom, there is a lot of mutual giving and mutual sensitivity in this parenting style. Babies of attachment parents cry less and have fewer behaviour problems, and grow up feeling more secure.

Constantly tending to the needs of their children can be tiring for parents though, and may lead to them neglecting their own self-care needs.

Free-range Parenting

What it is:

In many ways, free range parenting is similar to permissive parenting. The difference though, is that there is still parental supervision, and activities are controlled by parents.

Organic parenting is associated is associated with this because they believe in the premise of not rushing kids to mature but instead nurture them at their own pace.

Organic parenting focus on making children more independent, and raising them to be self-reliant and responsible early on in life.

Parents help guide their children through their independent experiences. For example, you might let your child take the bus or train alone from school, but you have already educated him on how he needs to go about it, and what he should do if he were to get lost.

They believe in the idea that children develop coping skills by experiencing things, so it is okay to let them take safe risks.

How it affects kids:

Letting children become more independent and giving them more challenges can help them develop resilience.

Organic parenting encourages creativity and strong problem solving skills. On the downside, children below a certain age may be restricted by law to do certain things by themselves.

Uninvolved or Neglectful Parenting

What it is:

Uninvolved parents are unresponsive to their kids’ physical and emotional needs. They provide very little supervision and the parent is basically absent from the child’s life. This is probably the most harmful parenting style.

Uninvolved parents give children a lot of freedom. There is little or no expectations of children. There is a total lack of discipline, and communication is very limited. There is also very little nurturing, guidance and attention given.

For example, uninvolved parents won’t ask their child about school or homework, and they won’t know where the child has been, and with whom. They hardly spend time with the child.

There might be many reasons behind uninvolved parenting. The parent might be too overwhelmed with work, household, too many children etc. Or they might lack knowledge about parenting and child development.

Sometimes the lack of care may be because of the parent’s health problems, mental health issues, or other factors like substance abuse.

How it affects kids:

Children raised with an uninvolved parenting style tend to have low self-esteem and self-confidence. They have a hard time forming relationships and trusting other people.

They might seek other, sometimes inappropriate, role models to compensate for the uninvolved or neglectful parent.

Is there a right parenting style?

Now to the question, “Is there a right parenting style?”

The answer is that the right parenting style is the style that suits your child. Every child is different, and has a different set of needs, therefore, it is important to understand that what is right for one child may be wrong for another.

Every child also responds differently to what they see, hear and perceive. There are so many cases of children who were raised by loving and caring parents, and still turned out to be unprincipled.

And others, who were raised by bossy and controlling parents but turned out to be loving and responsible nevertheless.

Perhaps the right approach would be to customise your parenting style based on your child’s personality, and based on what your child really needs. For example, maybe your little one needs more attachment parenting for sleeping, and more discipline for something else.

Every parenting approach offers valuable benefits. As you and your child grow together, you can constantly re-evaluate your parenting style and modify it as necessary.

Your child needs a safe, loving environment where he/she can thrive. As parents, we need to support them, stay tuned to their needs, and show them that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be.

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