Parenting styles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

A parenting style is a psychological construct representing standard strategies that parents use in their child rearing. There are many differing theories and opinions on the best ways to rear children, as well as differing levels of time and effort that parents are willing to invest. Parental investment starts before birth.

Many parents create their own style from a combination of factors, and these may evolve over time as the children develop their own personalities and move through life's stages.[original research?] Parenting style is affected by both the parents' and children's temperaments, and is largely based on the influence of one’s own parents and culture. "Most parents learn parenting practices from their own parents — some they accept, some they discard."[1] The degree to which a child's education is part of parenting is a further matter of debate.

Distinction with parenting practices[edit]

According to a literature review by Christopher spec (2005) called "A Review of the Relationship Among Parenting Practices, Parenting Styles and Adolescent School Achievement", Darling and Steinberg (1993) suggest that it is important to better understand the differences between parenting styles and parenting practices. "Parenting practices are defined as specific behaviors that parents use to socialize their children (Darling and Steinberg, 1993). For example, when parents want children to do well in school, they may model behavior as in sitting down and guiding their children in doing the homework, setting aside sometime for homework and reading or making school a priority by going to school functions like parent-teacher conferences. In contrast, Darling and Steinberg (1993) define a parenting style as the emotional climate in which parents raise their children. Parenting styles have been characterized by dimensions of parental responsiveness and demandingness (Baumrind, 1991)”

Theories of child rearing[edit]

Beginning in the 17th century, two philosophers independently wrote works that have been widely influential in child rearing. John Locke's 1693 book Some Thoughts Concerning Education is a well known foundation for educational pedagogy from a Puritan standpoint. Locke highlights the importance of experiences to a child's development, and recommends developing their physical habits first. In 1762, the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau published a volume on education, Emile: or, On Education.[2] He proposed that early education should be derived less from books and more from a child's interactions with the world. Of these, Rousseau is more consistent with slow parenting, and Locke is more for concerted cultivation.

Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development describes how children represent and reason about the world.[3] This is a developmental stage theory that consists of a Sensorimotor stage, Preoperational stage, Concrete operational stage, and Formal operational stage. Piaget was a pioneer in the field of child development and continues to influence parents, educators and other theorists.

Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, proposed eight life stages through which each person must develop. In each stage, they must understand and balance two conflicting forces, and so parents might choose a series of parenting styles that helps each child as appropriate at each stage. The first five of his eight stages occur in childhood: The virtue of hope requires balancing trust with mistrust, and typically occurs from birth to one year old. Will balances autonomy with shame and doubt around the ages of two to three. Purpose balances initiative with guilt around the ages of four to six years. Competence balances industry against inferiority around ages seven to 12. Fidelity contrasts identity with role confusion, in ages 13 to 19. The remaining adult virtues are love, care and wisdom.

Rudolf Dreikurs believed that pre-adolescent children's misbehaviour was caused by their unfulfilled wish to be a member of a social group. He argued that they then act out a sequence of four mistaken goals: first they seek attention. If they do not get it, they aim for power, then revenge and finally feel inadequate. This theory is used in education as well as parenting, forming a valuable theory upon which to manage misbehaviour. Other parenting techniques should also be used to encourage learning and happiness.

Frank Furedi is a sociologist with a particular interest in parenting and families. He believes that the actions of parents are less decisive than others claim. He describes the term infant determinism,[4] as the determination of a person's life prospects by what happens to them during infancy, arguing that there is little or no evidence for its truth. While other commercial, governmental and other interests constantly try to guide parents to do more and worry more for their children, he believes that children are capable of developing well in almost any circumstances. Furedi quotes Steve Petersen of Washington University in St. Louis: "development really wants to happen. It takes very impoverished environments to interfere with development ... [just] don't raise your child in a closet, starve them, or hit them on the head with a frying pan."[5] Similarly, the journalist Tim Gill has expressed concern about excessive risk aversion by parents and those responsible for children in his book No Fear.[6] This aversion limits the opportunities for children to develop sufficient adult skills, particularly in dealing with risk, but also in performing adventurous and imaginative activities.

In 1998, independent scholar Judith Rich Harris published The Nurture Assumption, in which she argued that scientific evidence, especially behavioral genetics, showed that all different forms of parenting do not have significant effects on children's development, short of cases of severe abuse or neglect. The purported effects of different forms of parenting are all illusions caused by heredity, the culture at large, and children's own influence on how their parents treat them.

Baumrind's general parenting styles[edit]

Diana Baumrind (1966) became particularly interested in the connection between the parental behavior and the development of instrumental competence, which refers to the ability to manipulate the environment to achieve one's goals. In her research, she found what she considered to be the four basic elements that could help shape successful parenting: responsiveness vs. unresponsiveness and demanding vs. undemanding. From these, she identified three general parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive.[7][8][9][10] Maccoby and Martin expanded the styles to four: authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglectful in 1983.[11][12] These four styles of parenting involve combinations of acceptance and responsiveness on the one hand and demand and control on the other.[1]

Maccoby and Martin's Four Parenting Styles
Baumrind's Three Parenting Styles

Baumrind believed that parents should be neither punitive nor aloof.[1] Rather, they should develop rules for their children and be affectionate with them. These parenting styles are meant to describe normal variations in parenting, not deviant parenting, such as might be observed in abusive homes.[13] Most parents do not fall neatly in one category, but fall somewhere in the middle, showing characteristics of more than one style.[original research?] In addition, parenting stress can often cause changes in parental behavior such as inconsistency, increased negative communication, decreased monitoring and/or supervision,[citation needed] setting vague rules or limits on behavior, being more reactive and less proactive, and engaging in increasingly harsh disciplinary behaviors.[14][full citation needed]

Authoritative parenting[edit]

The parent is demanding and responsive. When this style is systematically developed, it grows to fit the descriptions propagative parenting and concerted cultivation.

Authoritative parenting, also called 'assertive democratic'[15] or 'balanced' parenting,[16] is characterized by a child-centered approach that holds high expectations of maturity. Authoritative parents can understand how their children are feeling and teach them how to regulate feelings. They often help their children to find appropriate outlets to solve problems. Authoritative parents encourage children to be independent but still place controls and limits on their actions.[1] Extensive verbal give-and-take is not refused, and parents try to be warm and nurturant toward the child.[1] Authoritative parents are not usually as controlling as authoritarian parents, allowing the child to explore more freely, thus having them make their own decisions based upon their own reasoning. Often, authoritative parents produce children who are more independent and self-reliant.[17] An authoritative parenting style mainly results when there is high parental responsiveness and high parental demands.[18]

Authoritative parents will set clear standards for their children, monitor the limits that they set, and also allow children to develop autonomy. They also expect mature, independent, and age-appropriate behavior of children. Punishments for misbehavior are measured and consistent, not arbitrary or violent.[1] Authoritative parents set limits and demand maturity, but when punishing a child, the parent will explain his or her motive for their punishment. Children are more likely to respond to authoritative parenting punishment because it is reasonable and fair. A child knows why they are being punished because an authoritative parent makes the reasons known. They are attentive to their children’s needs and concerns, and will typically forgive and teach instead of punishing if a child falls short.[19]

Authoritarian parenting[edit]

The parent is demanding but not responsive. Elaborate becomes totalitarian parenting.

Authoritarian parenting, also called strict parenting,[16] is characterized by high expectations of conformity and compliance to parental rules and directions, while allowing little open dialogue between parent and child. Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punitive parenting style in which parents make their children follow their directions and respect their work and effort.[1] Authoritarian parents expect much of their child, but generally do not explain the reasoning for the rules or boundaries.[20] Authoritarian parents are less responsive to their child’s needs, and are more likely to ground their child rather than discuss the problem.[21] Authoritarian parenting deals with low parental responsiveness and high parental demand, the parents tend to demand obedience without explanation and focus on status.[18]

Children resulting from this type of parenting may have less social competence because the parent generally tells the child what to do instead of allowing the child to choose by him or herself.[22] Some children of authoritarian parents may develop insecurities and display anti-social behavior.[citation needed] Nonetheless, researchers have found that in some cultures and ethnic groups, aspects of authoritarian style may be associated with more positive child outcomes than Baumrind expects. "Aspects of traditional Asian child-rearing practices are often continued by Asian American families. In some cases, these practices have been described as authoritarian."[1]

Indulgent parenting[edit]

The parent is responsive but not demanding.

Indulgent parenting, also called permissive, non-directive or lenient,[16] is characterized as having few behavioral expectations for the child. "Indulgent parenting is a style of parenting in which parents are very involved with their children but place few demands or controls on them."[1] Parents are nurturing and accepting, and are responsive to the child's needs and wishes. Indulgent parents do not require children to regulate themselves or behave appropriately. This may result in creating spoiled brats or "spoiled sweet" children depending on the behavior of the children.[original research?]

Children of permissive parents may tend to be more impulsive, and as adolescents, may engage more in misconduct, and in drug use. "Children never learn to control their own behavior and always expect to get their way."[1] But in the better cases they are emotionally secure, independent and are willing to learn and accept defeat. They mature quickly and are able to live life without the help of someone else.[23]

From a recent study,[verification needed]

Neglectful parenting[edit]

The parent is neither demanding nor responsive.

Neglectful parenting is also called uninvolved, detached, dismissive or hands-off.[16] The parents are low in warmth and control, are generally not involved in their child's life, are disengaged, undemanding, low in responsiveness, and do not set limits. Neglectful parenting can also mean dismissing the children's emotions and opinions. Parents are emotionally unsupportive of their children, but will still provide their basic needs. Provide basic needs meaning: food, housing, and toiletries or money for the prementioned.[25] Neglectful parenting can stem from a variety of reasons, this includes the parents prioritizing themselves, lack of encouragement on the parent's parts, financial stresses, lack of support and addiction to harmful substances.[26]

Children whose parents are neglectful develop the sense that other aspects of the parents’ lives are more important than they are. Many children of this parenting style often attempt to provide for themselves or halt depending on the parent to get a feeling of being independent and mature beyond their years.[1] Parents, and thus their children, often display contradictory behavior. Children become emotionally withdrawn from social situations. This disturbed attachment also impacts relationships later on in life. In adolescence, they may show patterns of truancy and delinquency.[1]

A study done by Maccoby and Martin (1983) analyzed adolescents, aged 14– 18 in four areas: psychosocial development, school achievement, internalized distress, and problem behaviour. The study found that those with neglectful parents scored the lowest on these tests, while those with authoritative parents scored the highest.[27]

Other parenting styles[edit]

With authoritarian and permissive (indulgent) parenting on opposite sides of the spectrum, most conventional and modern models of parenting fall somewhere in between. The model or style that parents employ depends partly on how they themselves were reared, what they consider good parenting, the child's temperament, their current environmental situation, and whether they place more importance on their own needs or their idea of what will benefit the child. Parents who place greater importance on the child's physical safety may be more authoritarian.

Attachment parenting
The goal is to strengthen the intuitive, psychological and emotional bond between the primary caregiver. The parent seeks to create strong emotional bonds by avoiding physical punishment and modifying the child's behavior through interactions that recognize the child's emotional needs and focuses on holistic understanding of the child.
Concerted cultivation
A style of parenting that is marked by the parents' attempts to foster their child's talents through organized leisure activities, such as music lessons.
Emotion coaching
This style of parenting lays out a loving, nurturing path for raising happy, well-adjusted, well-behaved children by teaching the child how to recognize and express the way he is feeling in an appropriate way.
Historic developmental model
Also called the Child as Apprentice model. As a child's independent capacities emerge, opportunities are continuously presented at an age appropriate level. The child gains self-worth simultaneous to the emergence of various competencies in an ever-growing number of essential venues, as adulthood is approached. From the initial highly dependent relationship with parents, high levels of independence are attained seamlessly while special skills and abilities of the child have emerged in a manner relevant to adult vocational choices and life interests.
Nurturant parenting
A family model where children are expected to explore their surroundings with protection from their parents.
Parents who try to involve themselves in every aspect of their child's life, often attempting to solve all their problems and stifling the child's ability to act independently or solve his own problems. A helicopter parent is a colloquial, early 21st-century term for a parent who pays extremely close attention to his or her children's experiences and problems, and attempts to sweep all obstacles out of their paths, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover closely overhead, especially during the late adolescence to early adulthood years, when a level of independence and self-sufficiency is normal. Modern communication technology has promoted this style by enabling parents to keep watch over their kids through cell phones, emails, and online grades.[28]
Positive parenting
Consistent support, guiding them and supporting them for healthy development.
Slow parenting
Encourages parents to plan and organise less for their children, instead allowing them to enjoy their childhood and explore the world at their own pace. Allowing the child to develop their own interests and allowing them to grow into their own person, lots of family time, allowing children to make their own decisions, limit electronics, simplistic toys.
Spiritual parenting
Respecting the child's individuality, making space for child to develop a sense of their own beliefs through their personality and their own potentials.
Strict parenting
An authoritarian approach, places a strong value on discipline and following inflexible rules as a means to survive and thrive in a harsh world. Focused on strict discipline, demanding, with high expectations from the parents.
Taking Children Seriously
The central idea of this movement is that it is possible and desirable to raise and educate children without doing anything to them against their will, or making them do anything against their will.
Toxic parenting
Poor parenting, with a toxic relationship between the parent and child. It results in complete disruption of the child's ability to identify one's self and reduced self-esteem, neglecting the needs of the child and abuse is sometimes seen in this parenting style.[29]

Differing parenting styles for male and female children[edit]

Mothers and fathers tend to pick up different behaviors of parenting based on the sex of their child. Studies have shown that fathers can affect their daughters' emotional adjustment more through the style of parenting they demonstrate rather than through using disciplinary approaches, such as punishment. Also, both a father and mother sometimes tend to use an authoritative style towards their daughters, while feeling more comfortable switching over to an authoritarian style for sons.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Santrock, J.W. (2007). A topical approach to life-span development, third Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. ^ Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1762). Émile, ou De l'éducation. 
  3. ^ White, F., Hayes, B., & Livesey, D. (2005). Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to Adulthood. NSW:Pearson Education Australia. 
  4. ^ Furedi, Frank (2001). Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May Be Best for Your Child. Allen Lane. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-7139-9488-9. 
  5. ^ Petersen, Steve (January 10, 2000). "Baby Steps". 
  6. ^ Gill, Tim (2007). No fear: Growing up in a Risk Averse Society. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-903080-08-5. 
  7. ^ Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88.
  8. ^ Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology, 4(1, Pt. 2), 1-103.
  9. ^ Baumrind, D. (1978). Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. Youth and Society, 9, 238-276.
  10. ^ McKay M (2006). Parenting practices in emerging adulthood: Development of a new measure. Thesis, Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2009-06-14
  11. ^ Maccoby, EE and Martin, JA. (1983). Socialization in the context of the family: Parent–child interaction. In P Mussen and EM Hetherington, editors, Handbook of Child Psychology, volume IV: Socialization, personality, and social development, chapter 1, pages 1–101. New York: Wiley, 4th edition ISBN 978-0-471-09065-6
  12. ^ Chan TW and Koo A (2008).Parenting style and youth outcome in the UK, page 5. University of Oxford. Retrieved 2011-06-20
  13. ^ Parenting Style and Its Correlates Retrieved 2009-06-14
  14. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "What is assertive democratic parenting?". 
  16. ^ a b c d What's Your Parenting Style? Parents. The Anti-Drug. National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Retrieved 2009-06-14
  17. ^ "All about the authoritative parenting style". Pagewise. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  18. ^ a b "Parenting Styles", "Parenting Styles"
  19. ^ "Parent-Child Relationships: Information and Much More from". Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  20. ^ "What Kind of Parent are you?". Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  21. ^ "Authoritarian Parenting: An Overview - Parents -". Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  22. ^ "The Role of Parents in the Development of Peer Group Competence. ERIC Digest". Eric Digests. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  23. ^ "Do You Know Your Parenting Style? Authoritarian Parenting, Permissive Parenting or Authoritative Parenting". Brainy Child. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  24. ^ "Teens and alcohol study: Parenting style can prevent binge drinking". Brigham Young University and Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  25. ^ "Neuroscience, Psychoanalysis & Psychopharmacology: [Meeting] #40". NPSA: Neuropsychoanalysis. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  26. ^ [1] Consistent Parenting Advice. 9 Apr. 2012.
  27. ^ Laurence Steinberg, Susie D. Lamborn, Nancy Darling, Nina S. Mounts and Sanford M. Dornbusch. Over-Time Changes in Adjustment and Competence among Adolescents from Authoritative, Authoritarian, Indulgent, and Neglectful Families Child Development , Vol. 65, No. 3. pp. 754-770.
  28. ^ Gordon, Larry, and Victoria Kim. 2008. "Hovering Parents No Big Deal for Freshmen." Los Angeles Times (January 24) B1.
  29. ^ "12 Types of Parenting Styles and Child Discipline Strategies". Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  30. ^ Article: Parenting and Late Adolescent Emotional Adjustment: Mediating Effects of Discipline and Gender

Further reading[edit]