Different parenting styles

A parenting style is a method or a strategy used by a parent to raise their child. There are many variations of these so-called styles but in simple terms, there are four.










Authoritative and authoritarian are alike in several ways. They both seek to instruct a child in the right way of behaving, setting goals approved by the parent and doing all to ensure the child has success. A major difference between the two is that there is little dialogue or discussion between the parent and child in an authoritarian style. This is not the case with the authoritative style where the parent encourages the child to be independent.

The permissive style is contrasted against the two previous styles. Here there are few if any rules and love and nurturing the child are seen as the best way to raise children. Parents pay close attention to their children but make few if any demands upon their time and actions. It’s almost as if the parent will do anything to win the favour of their child and is reluctant to place any discipline or punishment routines upon the young ones. As with a child raised in an authoritative style, a child from a permissive style of parenting may have a long and healthy relationship with their parents.


The so-called Neglectful style of parenting is bad news for all. It does not mean cruelty or criminal neglect but rather disengagement. Here the parent takes little interest in the child’s activities and although providing the basic needs of the child, has little love for their offspring. Because the child as an infant receives little affection, it is likely the child will have serious social problems in later years being unwilling or unable to establish strong emotional relationships.


Which is the best style of parenting?

So now we come to the main question. Which is the best style of parenting or, more importantly, which is the best style for you? The answer of course is that there is no right style for every parent. You need to assess several things.

 How did your parents raise you?

Was this successful do you think?

What do the experts suggest?

Have you spoken with other parents to see which style they use?

If so, what information have you obtained?  


Of course, it’s possible to have a combination of styles. There is no law or rule which says a parent must choose one style and stick to it. You can change your style but do so always thinking about your children. They want and need consistency. Having a parent who loves them is not enough. The love must be supported by a fair and clear picture of how the child needs to be a part of the family and share and care for others within that family.

Parenting styles may come and go out of fashion but there is never a wrong time to give your child firm guidance and loads of love and support. That’s one parenting style which will never go out of fashion.


What is Authoritarian Parenting and its Consequences?

Authoritarian parenting is just as its name suggests. It is a parent using their status, age and power to rule with authority. It is often seen by the child as being an authority devoid of love. The parent may love their child but so great is the desire of the parent to instil discipline into their offspring, that the child sees little if any love being shown by their parent.


The parent or parents want success for their child whether it be academic, sporting, social or whatever. So strong is the will of the parent to see their child ‘succeed’ that the child is subjected to a rigorous and on-going regime of hard work. In this type of situation, many children equate love with a high score in school grades or success on the sporting field.


There are several consequences of authoritarian parenting and the greatest is probably broken or less than the complete relationship between parent and child. As children grow they experience different problems. In seeking guidance and advice, the child tends to gravitate to a person with whom they feel empathy and love. A strict and pushy parent may not be that person so a major consequence is a fact that authoritarian parents can miss the intimacy and shared experiences many parents have with their children.


Another sad and misguided aspect of authoritarian parenting is the lack of understanding with words and behaviour. There is a marked difference between discipline and punishment. A successful parent will guide their child to impose their own form of self-discipline. A parent who administers punishment is seeking to impose their will upon their child. It seldom if ever works. In fact over the years, authoritarian parenting has become discredited and is rarely recommended today.


There are several types of parenting styles or approaches and authoritarian parenting can be divided broadly into two types – intrusive or non-intrusive. Both types issue clear and precise directions but some will have high involvement in the reaction of the child while the other tends to remain separate from the day to day activities of the child seeking only to judge the child according to the results achieved.


One of the saddest aspects of authoritarian parenting is the expectation by the parent that their word is the law, that the child may not challenge or question the authority of the parent and that the child should accept the attitudes and goals of the parents. All of this is to be carried out by the child without question. The consequences of this type of parenting are potentially serious for the present and the future.


Communication is a two-way street and by denying the child the opportunity to discuss an issue, the bond between the parent and child may be broken with serious consequences for the future. If the attitudes and goals of the parent are not those of the child, then a most unhappy relationship will exist and possibly continue well into the future.


Most parents indeed want their children to love and respect them. The problem is finding a way to raise your children which involves discipline but always includes love and respect from both the parent and the child.


What is Permissive Parenting and its Consequences?

Permissive parenting is not an ‘anything goes’ approach to parenting. It does not mean that children are free to say or do what they like. It does mean though that the parents strongly seek an absence of conflict.


Permissive parents want their home filled with love and hope that their children will love them, the parents, as much as the parents love their children.


But experts are not totally convinced. They say that all children need and desire some form of parameters. All children, it is said, feel safer when there are boundaries which they are instructed not to cross.

Outside the home, the rules of permissive behaviour may not exist. In school, all students may be graded. Certain tests may show the progress of each child. In a sporting or arts program, students may be in a competitive situation. Feelings of disappointment can appear. A child wants. They need rules of what is acceptable behaviour. But leaving the child to sort out their own problems is said by many experts to be unfair and unhelpful for a child.


One of the saddest aspects of permissive parenting is that, when they become adults, children of permissive parenting feel resentful towards their parents. The now-adult children seem to lack the ability to impose self-discipline. They feel they were not taught simple home lessons with rules and rewards and punishments and that somehow, their life is now lacking something.

Some parents who adopt the permissive parenting style do so because, as a child, they grew up in a rigid, authoritarian home and didn’t like it. So as a reaction, the new parents swing to the other extreme and give their children a free hand in deciding what they want to do.

What may happen and often does is that the intentions are good but the end result is all wrong. A parent may not wish to confront their child. They avoid conflict and use the permissive parenting style. But then things go wrong. The child retreats within themself thinking their parents have little or no interest in them. The child may become frustrated and express their anger.

Their ‘no-conflict’ parents fail to properly address their child’s frustration and the relationship sours.

It sounds trite but the advice to many parents is to fix their own life first, to be confident in what they are doing and how they feel about themselves before helping their child. By worrying that your child may not like you or appreciate you, a permissive parent is missing the point.

Critics of permissive parenting argue that the child is in charge of the parent and that that is not healthy. It can be doubly true when the child is a teenager and able to venture out and mix with the wrong crowd.

Perhaps in its favour, one benefit of permissive parenting is that if used as part of a parenting style, say mixed with the authoritative style, of parenting, the child may get the best of both worlds. The child can get rules and a structure but with little, if any conflict.

How Bad Parenting Affects Your Kids?

You may be a good parent at heart but if you carry out bad parenting actions, you are failing your kids and worse, setting them up for a possible lifetime of failure. So much of your child’s future happiness depends on how well you raise your kids today. The basics of good parenting are easy to understand and implement.

There are three main areas where you can engage in bad parenting – abuse of your child, ignoring your child and engaging in conflict and argument with your child. Some parents lack skills, some do not care and some are simply swamped by other problems and fail their kids as a result.

But there is something every parent needs to know and that is that bad parenting does have consequences for their child. And it can all happen in the first three years of the life of your child. Simple things like reading to your child and playing with them when young. Children who miss out on these things are more likely to have trouble relating to other children when pre-school and school times begin.

Of course, teachers can help children who lack social skills but a busy room of active children can often mean special time for an individual is not possible.

From pre-school, children who have suffered from bad parenting move to a school where they are more likely to fall behind. Their ability to communicate with teachers and other students is not as strong as it could be. Their schoolwork falls behind.

Then begins the domino effect. A child who is struggling with academic studies is far more likely to drop out of school. Children who drop out are far more likely to break the law and become troubled teen or adult. It’s a path that is only too easy to trace. Bad parenting for a baby and toddler ending a dozen or more years hence with a teenager being arrested or becoming addicted to drugs or life or crime.


One of the clear facts is that bad parenting, while more likely to occur within broken homes and with parents who are poor and unemployed, can occur at all levels of society. There are many examples of children from wealthy homes who have failed at school and gone off the rails.

The lesson clearly being that good parenting has so many possible benefits which can last a lifetime whereas the opposite is true. Bad parenting handicaps a child and puts them under far more pressure in their quest to succeed. Chances of a child becoming an at-risk youth are far greater if they endure bad parenting in their childhood.

Of course, some children suffer from bad parenting who go on to make a real success of their lives and some kids get wonderful parenting from caring parents only to see their child fall by the wayside. But the evidence is clear. Good parenting gives the child by far the better chance of being successful and living a happy and healthy life.

What are the Characteristics of Good Parenting?

One of the hardest things for any parent (adult) to understand is that the way a child thinks is often not the way they think. A child is not an adult. So when putting your parenting technique into practice, remember that a child’s mind is not functioning like yours.



For instance, if you make a rule and your child breaks that rule, that for you may be the end of the matter. But how does the child see their behaviour? They may believe their failure to obey is a weakness of their character. In short, the child may think that they are bad.


Your child must see breaking the rule as part of their behaviour. What it doesn’t mean is that your child is intrinsically bad. High is important for all ages and particularly so for young people.



Being aware of your child’s thinking is an excellent characteristic. Twelve is probably a good age for children to begin to understand that life has many shades of grey and is not always a black and white situation. Know this fact. Know that children do see things as right or wrong in their developing years and variations of good and evil are not something they consider until almost their teenage years.

Know too that time has a different meaning for a child. A short time to you can seem like an eternity to a child. Be aware of how they think and thus this will make you a better parent.

Teamwork is a no-brainer with parents being effective in raising their children. Having one parent operating one technique and another parent something else is likely to result in all sorts of problems not the least of which is a totally confused child.

Being practical is an excellent characteristic. Let’s say you announce a rule, your child disobeys and should therefore be punished. What do you do? Some suggest isolation. The child goes to a quiet room where they sit and contemplate their deed. But do you have such a place? Be practical.

Kindness can be a weakness with some parents. Your skills will not allow this failing. Giving a warning to a child may seem fair and reasonable. But giving warning after a warning is not good parenting and the rule itself is of little or no consequence if it is broken and the child suffers no punishment.
A good parent is a good listener. Nothing excites a child more than their parent taking a deep and genuine interest in the life of the child. It might be their schoolwork, their hobby, their friend or even their football team. Be seriously interested and by giving unconditional love to your child, you are using the best foundation for parenting which is available.



It’s a good idea to go with the flow. If your child is interested in something in particular, by showing an interest in that subject and your child, you are developing a seriously strong relationship. The strength of that relationship will make your parenting technique a joint effort with your child. Good parenting means listening and sharing.

What is Democratic Parenting?

The democratic technique is the one favoured by child experts today. It seems a mixture of the two techniques above but without the extremes or excesses of these techniques. There are rules but there is freedom. The rules are explained and the reasons given as to why behaving in such a manner is good for everyone. Children are encouraged to make decisions but all within a solid framework involving respect for others and the interest of everyone.

If ever there was a parenting technique for the 21st century then democratic is it.


There are important aspects of this democratic technique. At all times your child is to be congratulated on their success. Following a rule, making a decision to avoid danger and to assist others is something to be praised, mentioned and even rewarded.

Quality time is an expression used a lot these days and it means that you do actually spend time with your children during which they are your sole focus. Being with your children while they play and you do something else is not quality time.

There is a fine balance between stating the rules and sticking to them and then being flexible if circumstances warrant it. Children want consistency but they also want the chance to put their case on some occasions.


A parent using the democratic technique knows that everyone is on a learning curve – parent and child. Look for ways to improve your parenting technique, to become a more effective parent and enjoy the life you share with your kids.

It’s possible to list the aspects of a good parenting technique but there is one fact which can never be ignored. Every child is unique and the needs of each child have to be taken into account. To argue that one parenting technique fits all simply doesn’t work. To find the technique which the experts endorse and which you believe to be correct and then adapt it to meet the specific needs of your child.





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