Parents play a significant role in a person’s life, and parenting style has a marked effect on affective and social characteristics of a person. Research and studies on parenting have always been the centrepiece of the enduring efforts in the field of psychology to understand the impact of parenting styles on child’s development. Psychologist Diana Baumrind with her extensive studies on parents and children identified four patterns of parenting styles which are now called as Baumrind’s Parenting Styles. The current article on parenting styles is derived from Baumrind’s Parenting Typologies which details four types of parenting.
Baumrind proposed the typology based on two significant aspects of parenting behaviour – control and warmth:
Parental control: Parental control refers to the degree to which parents handle the behaviour of their children— very controlling through a set of rules and demands to being very lenient.
Parental warmth: Parental warmth refers to the degree to which parents are accommodative and responsive to the behaviour of their children as opposed to being negligent, unresponsive and rejecting. When these two aspects of parenting behaviours are matched in different ways, four primary parenting styles emerge, which include:
Authoritative Parents: Warm but firm
- Authoritative parents encourage their children to be independent, while they set limits and behavioural standards which have to be maintained. Codes of conduct are explained with reason.
- They adopt supportive disciplinary methods, not punitive.
- Praise and positive attention are used as rewards for good conduct.
- They always make efforts to understand their kid and find different ways of teaching them various aspects of life.
- They strive to enable their kids with self-regulation, social responsibilities, and assertiveness.
The effect of the authoritative parenting style on kids:
- Kids of authoritative parents feel conforming to rules and norms is good as they positively reinforced and taught.
- They tend to have well developed social skills and emotional regulation.
- They tend to be responsible, confident, goal-oriented and also are good at academics.
Authoritarian Parents: Little warm but highly controlling
- They are strict disciplinarians and conventional.
- They set strict rules of child conduct. Nonadherence to those rules is considered as a serious mistake.
- They do not explain rules but order and expect to follow them instantly without questioning. Discussions on any matter are never encouraged.
- Typical authoritarian parent’s phrase could be, “you must do this because I said,” and “because I’m the parent, not you” etc.
- Rewards and praises are not used as they believe it may spoil the kids. Children are often looked with critical eyes.
The effect of the authoritarian parenting style on kids:
- Kids of authoritarian parents imbibe the set expectations and rules of their parents and act accordingly, out of fear.
- They internalise the prevailing norms and value system and avoid any deviant behaviour which is punishable.
- They are not habituated to make independent decisions and generally don’t experiment with new ways of thinking and alternate plans.
- According to research,
- They are not much socially ‘skilled’ compared to kids from authoritative and permissive families.
- They find it hard to handle frustration: they may become rebellious and aggressive or become more submissive and dependent.
- They are more susceptible to face low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.
Permissive Parents: Very warm, but undemanding
- They are indulgent and passive in their parenting and believe that giving into wishes of their kids is an expression of love.
- They believe in giving complete freedom to the kid and they dislike the traditional child discipline and rigid codes of conduct.
- They encourage discussions and involve kids in the decision-making process, rather than just making them obey.
- They respond to children’s desires effectively, and they find it hard to say no or disappoint them. Thus they are scared of having conflicts with their children.
The effect of the permissive parenting style on kids:
- Kids of permissive parents tend to have high social skills, high self-esteem and low levels of depression as they are mostly included in decision-making processes and treated adults’ equal.
- They may tend to become bossy/dominating because of their conflict scared parents.
- They are likely to develop impulsive and ‘problematic’ behaviour such as drug and alcohol use and may not be great in academics as compared to kids from authoritative and authoritarian parents.
- They may demonstrate egocentric tendencies that can disrupt development of peer relationships.
Uninvolved Parents: Not warm and no demands on kids
- The uninvolved parents fulfil their children’s basic needs but are emotionally not connected: distant, detached, and disengaged from their lives.
- They interact very less, there are only a few demands and limits and, responsiveness is too low.
- They seldom consider their children’s input in decisions, and they do not want to be troubled by their children.
- Their behaviour could be a result of circumstances, or they could be self-centered. Parents might also take up this style if they are tired, frustrated, or have simply “given up” in trying to maintain parental authority.
The effect of the uninvolved parenting style on kids:
- Kids of uninvolved parents may also demonstrate impulsive behaviours due to issues with self-regulation as with kids of permissive parents.
- They tend to have low self-esteem, and they are less socially competent than children of raised with the other parenting styles.
- They perform most poorly in all domains.
Authoritative parenting is considered as ideal parenting type compared to others as it has high control on kids with great responsiveness and warmth through reasoning and logics. Authoritative parenting type plays a major role in shaping moral development, confidence, and holistic personality development of children. However, these parental types are only archetypal, as typically people may possess one primary parenting type that persists in most of the situations and may exhibit few traits from other parenting types according to the demand from different situations.
Evaluating one’s actions as a parent, understanding communication pattern with their children, analysing if the parental behaviour is meeting the children’s demands regarding healthy growth of their personality and binding family, helps one to rejoice parenting!
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- Collins Andrew W, et.al. (2000). Contemporary research on parenting: The case for nature and nurture. American Psychologist. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/dmessinger/c_c/rsrcs/rdgs/temperament/collinsBornstein_natureNurture.AP2000.pdf
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