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Father with Two Children at Home

Four Different Parenting Styles

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Being consistent is a huge part of successful parenting, according to child experts. Children need to know what to expect from their parents on a daily basis and over time, and when they are met instead with a seemingly different parenting style for every situation, behavior problems are virtually assured. Experts say there are four basic parenting styles. Understanding the different types of parenting can help an individual parent maintain more consistency.


Under this parenting style, there is no doubt concerning the expectations of the parents. The children are to follow the rules without question or face often increasingly severe levels of punishment. There is commonly no negotiation when it comes to the rules of the household. For example, an authoritarian parent might explain that a certain rule must be followed “because I said so.” Studies show these children can have low self-esteem and also rank low in happiness.


This type of parent also believes in the importance of laying down rules for their children to follow. However, there is more of a give-and-take between these types of parents and their children that can often lead to slight changes in the rules. When a child breaks one of the rules, an authoritative parent is likely to compassionate and forgiving. The rule is still important, but the child learns that his or her feelings are important a well. Studies have indicated children are most likely to be happy and successful with this type of parenting.


A permissive parent believes that rules can hinder a child’s development and choke the development of a child’s unique personality. This type of parent is nurturing above all else and allows the child to make many of the decisions about the proper way to behave and interact with others. There is little discipline in a permissive household, and the relationship between parent and child may more closely resemble the relationship between close friends. These children can encounter issues with authority figures and do not tend to perform well in school.


The uninvolved parent loves and provides for their children adequately as any type of parent. However, this type of parent often is extremely busy outside of the home. The child’s needs are taken care of, but there is little interaction with the child and a third-party – often a nanny – acts as the main parenting influence in the home. Studies show these children are simply not as happy and not as competent or successful as other children.

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