What Is My Parenting Style | Why Parenting Styles Matter? - India Parenting Tips - To deal with common parenting issues

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

What Is My Parenting Style | Why Parenting Styles Matter?

One striking feature of parenting style is its uniqueness. Every parent is different and so is every child. The way we deal with a particular situation depends on many factors. However, in spite of the many variations and uniqueness, generally for study or understanding purposes, we can broadly categorize various parenting styles under basic heads which I would be discussing in this article.

Being a mother of 3 kids is not an easy task for me. At every stage of life, children need support and guidance from parents just like a small plant grows after germination.
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Parenting styles

Moreover, parenting does not end no matter how big your child grows. Once a parent you are always a parent! However, with time and situation, the parenting style might change.

Raising children is a great responsibility that every parent understands once they have kids. It is the most challenging task to raise them in the right manner as a good human being. 

What is my parenting style?

If I am to judge and understand my parenting style I can say that I have a combination of parenting styles depending on the situation or issue and my particular kid.

While mostly I try to be democratic and open I am authoritative as well and sometimes permissive though I try never to be neglectful. However, in certain situations I become unresponsive. 

For example when my 4-year-old constantly nags for extra candies or junkies that I do not allow and I become unresponsive to his nagging demands. When children know that if they nag constantly they can have their own say they continue the same behavior. So that time being neglectful is the solution after you explain to them why you think it is not good for him or her. 

My pre-teen son at times sneaks out with the mobile to play his favorite games which makes me strictly authoritative. 

On the other hand, for my early teen son, I try to be democratic at times asking his way of handling things and his opinion when it comes to basic chores like cleaning his bookshelves or planning his weekend. I set the rules and boundaries and give him the freedom to choose his way of solving or handling things. That gives him a sense of freedom and responsibility to handle his issues with my guidelines and rules in mind. It also makes him feel self-confident and raises his self-esteem.

Why Parenting Styles matter when raising kids?

Does Parenting Style matter? Well of course it does.

Perhaps this is a question belonging to this era or generation. When I asked my parents and relatives they had no idea what it is about.

However, when I started my research on this topic I concluded that their parenting styles can be categorized under any one of the major types.

While parenting styles are unique and every parent is different, they invariable fall under one or more styles that I would be discussing in this article.

Coming back to the question ‘Why Parenting Styles matter when raising kids?’

To answer this simple question we need to understand first the various parenting styles and their parenting outcomes or result in children. This would give a clear idea of why parenting styles matter and guide us which style we must adopt.
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Human behavior

Research shows that genetics and environment play a roughly equal role in the development of human traits and behaviors. Major Psychologist classify parenting Styles into 4 main categories for study and analysis purposes namely:
  • Authoritarian
  • Authoritative
  • Permissive
  • Neglectful

It should be kept in mind that this parenting not absolute and real in the sense they are archetypes. These actual parenting style traits (cause) and its direct influence on the parental outcome (effect on children) is a challenge. It should not be taken in an absolute sense.

We all know that every child and every human being is unique and react differently in different situations and circumstances. Example Two children belonging to the same parents, living in the same environment can grow up to be different from one another having different personalities.

What does Research say about Parenting Styles?

The famous Diana Baumrind’s Study in the 1960s enlightens us with her Parent-Child Behaviour Study.

In her Study Diana and her team of research scholars did a study on 100 middle-class children, the primary research methodology being observation and interviews.

She aimed to understand and analyze the effect of western parenting style on children. Parenting style by Baumrind are of 3 types namely:

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Parenting style by Baumrind

Baumrind’s two measuring instruments were demandingness which means how demanding parents are when it comes to expectations from children and the other instrument is responsiveness which means how responsible parents are to cater to the child’s needs and requirements and whether they are able to provide the right inputs and resources to aid them to achieve the expected outcome. 
authoritarian parenting definition; permissive indifferent; neglectful parenting; indifferent parenting; authoritative parenting style; democratic parenting; permissive neglectful; permissive parenting examples,baumrind parenting styles
Baumrind measuring instruments

Further research was conducted by Maccoby and Martin (1983) in which the fourth category of parenting was added known as Neglectful or uninvolved Parenting Styles.
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Parenting style chart

These 4 types of parenting styles are based on two basic dimensions one being parental warmth which involves the affection of parents towards the children, being responsive to their needs and acceptance of the child, and the other being parental control which means how actively the parents play the role of ensuring rules to be followed and social etiquette and conventions to be adhered and followed. (Maccoby & Martin, 1983)

I shall discuss each of them with their pros and cons and to help understand why parenting styles matter and which parenting style one must adopt?

Based on Baumrind’s and Maccoby and Martin’s research on Children I have tried to explain the parenting styles in the following manner given below:

#1. Authoritative Parenting Style 

Authoritative Parenting Style has two main characteristics. First, it is High demanding and second, it is highly responsive.

This means while authoritative parents set high expectations and goals for children, they make ways for the children to achieve them by making sure they provide adequate amount of aids like time, affection, nurturing of skills, compassion backed by reasonableness and understanding.

Although the word authoritative might sound like a dictator or a strong taskmaster, in real sense authoritative parenting allows individual space and freedom while setting goals and norms due to its nature of reasonableness. These parents do not put unexpected pressure on children. They are warm, affectionate and supportive towards their children. That is why they are also known as democratic parents.
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Authoritative parenting

Authoritative Parenting Style Checklist:

  • Warm and Supportive
  • Responsive and Responsible
  • Set clear rules and boundaries
  • High expectations backed by aids/resources
  • Affectionate yet strict
  • Values independence (also known as democratic parenting)
  • Warmth and close involvement

Parenting Outcome:

  • Happy and confident kids
  • High Academic Performance
  • Enhanced Self Esteem
  • Good social skills
  • Less prone to mental stress and other disorders
  • Low rate of delinquency
  • Emotionally intelligent kids

#2. Authoritarian Parenting Style

While Authoritarian Parenting and Authoritative Parenting might sound alike, these two parenting styles are very different from each other.

Although both the parenting styles are High demanding in their expectations, what really and most importantly is strikingly different is their responsiveness.

Authoritarian parents have very poor responsiveness. While they demand and expect a lot from their children, they do not provide the necessary aids and facilities to help their children achieve them. Hopes are high and mostly unreasonable and rules are ambiguous.

Example A child maybe a good artist and the parents demand him or her to be a champion in sports without a reasonable understanding that it is not his or her passion. They neither provides any resources like training them or understanding the skills of the child according to which they can set achievable goals.

My son’s friend complained that his father forces him to concentrate on sports while his mother wants him to be a doctor. What about what the child is good at? What about what the child wants? Well all that child wants is to run his own food business.
The child further confessed that his parents give severe punishments when their expectation is not met like not allowing him food or drink, locking him indoors for a whole day and sometimes beating him.

The child looked extremely depressed and stressed. He started abusing his fellow mates. While other parents started complaining about him, I started to do my little homework to find out what exactly is going on in his life that is causing this sudden change of behavior.
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Authoritarian parenting

I found out that while the father who wants his son to be a sportsman is himself not successful in sports and is not a sportsman, while the mother who wants him to be a doctor barely cleared her basic elementary schooling. This is not to belittle anyone or make someone feel bad. All I want to say is that your child is not your extension!

Every child is unique and has their talent. When we thrust our wish on them, we become authoritarian and not authoritative as we lack reasonableness and sensitivity. The warmth and support are missing while the expectation level is high.

Authoritarian Parenting Style Checklist:

  • Unreasonableness
  • Lack of warmth and affective
  • Very High expectations
  • Lack of Support and aid/amenities
  • Ambiguous rules and boundaries
  • Unresponsive to child’s need and demands
  • Enforce Strict rules
  • Expect absolute Blind Obedience

Parenting Outcome

  • Poor academic performance
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor undeveloped social skills and behaviors
  • Mental stress and disorders
  • Abuse including drugs, Alcohol, vape, etc
  • Delinquency 

#3. Permissive Parenting Style

This is the third type of parenting Style which is felt is an irresponsible Parenting Style. Permissive Parenting style is just the opposite of the Authoritarian Parenting Style. While they are very low in demand with absolute zero expectation and demand from their children, they are highly responsive in the sense that they become a slave to their children' demand.

They set very less or no rules and boundaries and allow so much of liberty to their children that lead them astray. With zero expectations, no boundaries and too much indulgence children become out of control and not grounded properly. They often become stressed and depressed and with absolute indulgence, they start getting addicted to drugs and other harmful addictions. Over pampering and absolute freedom makes them arrogant, rude, unruly, disrespectful lacking family values and social mannerism. They simply don’t care about the people around or the environment.
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Permissive parenting

Permissive Parenting Style Checklist:

  • Extremely warm and responsible
  • Few or no rules
  • Absolute freedom & indulgence
  • Hates to say No
  • No expectation

Parenting Outcome:

  • Sudden Impulsive behavioral trait
  • Extremely Egoistic
  • Lack of Social Skills and mannerisms
  • It develops problematic and complicated relationships.

#4. Neglectful Parenting Style:

Neglectful Parenting style falls under the fourth type of Parenting Style which was later added by the research was done by Maccoby & Martin, in 1983.
This type of parenting style is just the opposite of the Authoritative Parenting Style. They are Uninvolved in parenting with Low demand and Low responsiveness.

Neglectful Parenting Style neither set any rules or boundaries nor get involved in their children’s needs and demands. These aloof and uninvolved parents have their own psychological or mental issues that had been neglected for years. It could be some issues with a marital relationship or typical issues with in-laws or extended family relationships. In some cases, they were victims of abuse and neglect.
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Neglectful Parenting

Neglectful Parenting Style Parenting Style Checklist:

  • Unresponsive and Cold attitude 
  • No boundaries or rules
  • Uninvolved
  • Aloof 

Parenting Outcome:

  • Arrogant Impulsive child
  • Victim of abuse
  • Mental Stress and Child depression
  • Physical Health issues like Diabetes, Obesity
  • Suicidal tendencies and poor mental health

What should be my parenting Style?

I have tried to analyze the four main types of Parenting Styles and I hope after reading this article my viewers would get a fair idea of how Parenting Style affects children’s psychology style should and which style should one adopt. As parents, we need to have the right approach to understand which parenting style to apply to a particular child and when. 

Remember, our approach needs to be rational and not biased when it comes to setting rules and expectations. We need to be sensitive to the child’s aptitude and needs as well.

Too much of anything is not good. What we need in life is to have a balance. Freedom if absolute leads astray and no freedom is enslavement.
Your parenting style should be sensible and yet authoritative. It should be warm and affectionate yet strict with adherence to rules. It needs to be supportive yet goal setting with reasonable expectations. Therefore to me, Authoritative parenting style is the best type of parenting style to nurture our child in the right way

However, it should be noted that being responsive and responsible does not mean to curtail individual freedom and thoughtfulness. We should remember that helicopter parenting which has become a common parenting style of authoritative parenting is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs for the betterment of the children.

So, what is your parenting style

To find out your unique parenting style, try the parenting style quiz test at PsychCentral.

Read, Share & comment to Support

Happy Parenting.


For more information you may check the following articles/paper:
  • Baumrind, D. (1989). Rearing competent children. In W. Damon (Ed.), CHILD DEVELOPMENT TODAY AND TOMORROW (pp. 349-378). 
  • San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Baumrind, D. (1967). Childcare practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-83.
  • Baumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 11(1), 56-95.
  • Baumrind, D. & Black, A. E. (1967). Socialization practices associated with dimensions of competence in preschool boys and girls. Child Development, 38(2), 291-327.
  • Maccoby, E. & Martin, J. (1983). Socialization in the context of the family: Parent-child interaction. Handbook of Child Psychology Vol. 4. Socialization, Personality, and Social Development, 4, 1-101.


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