4 Types of Parenting Styles, Explained: Authoritarian, Permissive, Uninvolved, and Authoritative
Parenting styles are as varied as the families who practice them. But, four general parenting styles have been identified: authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved, and authoritative. Each style has its own benefits and drawbacks for both children and parents but having a holistic view can help guide you in whatever style you choose (or piecing styles together of course). In this blog post, we’ll explore each of these parenting styles in detail and explain how they can affect your family life. We’ll also touch on Gentle Parenting, as we know this has been popularized greatly via social media. Please keep in mind that there truly is no one-size-fits-all-right-way to go about parenting but having tools to help you practice mindful parenting is the key.
Authoritarian, Permissive, Uninvolved, and Authoritative – Explained
Otherwise known as disciplinarians, authoritarian parents have strict rules and expectations for their children, and typically expect them to obey without question. At times, these parents can be demanding and unforgiving, and may use physical or verbal punishment to get their point across. While authoritarian parenting does have some benefits – such as teaching discipline and respect – it can also lead to children who are anxious or unhappy.
Permissive or “indulgent” parents mostly let their children do what they want, and offer limited guidance or direction. Oftentimes they may treat their children more like friends, rather than be seen as “parents”. While this style of parenting can be fun for both parents and children, it does have its drawbacks. Children raised with little discipline may lack self-control and be more likely to get into trouble. They may also have difficulty adjusting to the real world when they eventually leave home.
Not to be confused with the “friendly” demeanor or a permissive parent, uninvolved parents give children a lot of freedom and generally stay out of their way. Some parents may make a conscious decision to parent in this way, while others are less interested in parenting or unsure of what to do. Uninvolved parenting can be harmful to children, as they may not receive the guidance and support they need to grow into healthy adults. Children of uninvolved parents are more likely to have behavioral problems and struggle in school.
Authoritative parents are reasonable and nurturing, and set high, clear expectations. They combine warmth with firmness, and are able to listen to their children while also providing guidance. Authoritative parents have been shown to produce the best outcomes for their children. These kids usually have good self-esteem, do well in school, and exhibit responsible behavior.
So where does Gentle Parenting fit in all this?
By definition, the four main elements of gentle parenting are empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries. A keystone of gentle parenting is also to familiarize yourself with early childhood developmental stages to ensure that you are catering to a child’s developmental needs. While there is lots of debate as to what exactly Gentle Parenting entails (as we mentioned, Gentle Parenting verbiage has been popularized by social media) – it does resemble authoritative parenting in many ways.
Which parenting style is right for you? That’s something only you can decide. But, as we mentioned before, it’s important to be aware of the different types of parenting so you can make an informed decision. We’re all in this together, and we’re honored to help us do it (parenting!) more mindfully.