A Quick Guide To The Pros And Cons Of Several Popular Parenting Styles

Four common types of parenting techniqies, with some pros and cons of each: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved.

"Will I be a good parent?" "Will my child be well behaved?" "How will my parenting style differ from how I was raised?" These are just some of the questions that new or expectant parents ask themselves.

First, communication with your spouse or co-parent is crucial. Discuss the various parenting styles and decide on how you want to parent as a team. It is vitally important that you put up a united front for your children. If you disagree with a rule or position that your spouse or co-parent has made, discuss it behind closed doors. Flip flopping or being overruled by the other parent in front of your child will ultimately confuse them. They will question who is in charge and this may allow them to think that they can play one parent against the other.

There are four types of parenting styles commonly referred to by parenting experts:

Authoritarian: Parents are the boss.

Permissive: Child is the boss.

Authoritative - also called balanced or democratic: Parents and children are co-bosses.

Uninvolved - also called rejecting or neglecting: Boss is out to lunch - permanently.

In the authoritarian household, the parents are the ultimate and supreme commanders. They require their children to obey at all times and to not question authority. Strict with discipline and punishment, these parents value compliance above all else. Many children who grew up in an authoritarian family are not socially capable, lack self esteem or may be openly defiant. They also have been found to be deficient in leadership abilities, be incapable of decision making and to not be innovative thinkers.



The permissive family allows the child to dictate behavior; some parents who adopt this style also subscribe to attachment parenting which promotes co-sleeping and "˜wearing' your infant in a sling close to your body. This style of parenting is often adapted by parents who were raised by authoritarians, and who wish to parent their own children in a completely opposite manner. Creativity and originality are highly prized in this family. Children from permissive parents are often impulsive, lack discipline and follow through, but score high when it comes to self esteem. These children are also often bored and expect others to take care of them, even when they reach adulthood.

Authoritative parents permit children to ask questions, but in the end the parents are the final decision makers of the household. As with authoritarian parents, authoritatives demand results from their children, but reach this end objective by guiding their children through discussion, caring direction and involvement. Usually these children are very social, do well in school and have high self esteem. Authoritative children are competent, have high leadership qualities, and do well with original thinking and concepts.

Children of uninvolved parents do not have rules and are often the "˜parent' in the relationship. Sometimes this stems from parents that are substance abusers or in some other way incapacitated, including mental or physical illnesses and are not capable of being a good role model for their children. Frequently these children are resentful, have behavioral problems and do not do well in school. Depression is elevated with children of uninvolved parents.

Children also play a part in parenting styles. A difficult child may make the authoritative parents to lean towards the stricter authoritarian end of the spectrum and an easy going child may have the opposite effect and have the same parents lean more towards the permissive philosophy.

Parenting styles differ greatly and can be a mix of some or all of the previously mentioned styles. Different degrees of philosophies, even within one mindset of parenting, fluctuates significantly. What might be non-negotiable in one instance may be up for debate in another. It's also important to remember that while flexibility is necessary, consistency is fundamental to letting your children feel a sense of stability within the family.

Most parents agree that they want to be good parents and want to have happy, satisfied children who grow into equally happy, self sufficient and productive adults. Finding a parenting style that works for your own individual family is essential to reaching this final goal.

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