Types of parenting styles: Parents teaching daughter to colour

No parent-child relationship is the same. Once you have a kid, you’ll come to realize that there’s no standard approach to parenting. However, experts have identified types of parenting styles and how each affects your little one over time. Read on to know more.

Overview on Parenting Styles

Research shows that the environment that a child is raised in can influence behavior and values1. Effective parenting supports healthy growth and development. At the same time, poor parenting practices often lead to negative behaviors and trauma1.

The blueprint to the common types of parenting styles can be attributed to psychologist Diana Baumrind. Using naturalistic observation, she identified three types of parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive2. This theory was further refined by Maccoby and Martin by subdividing the last into two, the other one being uninvolved2,3. Since then, more parenting techniques have evolved.

Types of Parenting Styles

Here, we focus on the four popular types of parenting styles. Each style takes a unique approach and can be identified by several factors.


In this parenting style, children are expected to follow strict rules. Parents usually set high expectations, and failure to meet them results in punishment. The goal here is obedience. Furthermore, communication is often one-sided: Children are not allowed to ask for an explanation or question the rule itself2.

When raising your toddler, for example, you insist on unrealistic cooperation when it comes to mealtimes, tantrums, or potty training. This might be triggered by kids of his or her age who are already advancing.

Although setting boundaries isn't inherently wrong, allowing open communication is effective parenting. According to research, these kids can grow up to become perfectionists, have low self-esteem, suffer from anxiety, and lack social competence4. To prevent the negative effects of this type of parenting style, it is recommended for authoritarian parents to give their children breathing space and the opportunity to learn from mistakes.



Similar to the authoritarian, this type of parenting style also has high expectations for excellence and maturity. However, parents are more responsive and supportive. Instead of forcing their kids to just follow, these parents will discuss rules and appeal to reasoning. Moreover, they take into account their child’s viewpoint5.

As your child moves to toddlerhood, rules on health and safety are non-negotiable. For example, you ask them to wash their hands before eating or take away their toy come bedtime. Authoritative parents will use discipline to act as guidance for their children on the consequences of their behavior. They want their kids to be responsible and well-mannered but won’t use intrusive methods to impart values.

Encouraging positive behaviour and being attuned to a child’s needs whilst practicing positive discipline can help children to grow up independent, emotionally secured, and have happier dispositions2,4.


This is also referred to as indulgent parenting. Here, parents are very lenient and are not adamant about enforcing rules6. They don’t expect appropriate behavior, especially from younger kids, and would often dismiss it as “kids will be kids.”

Furthermore, they are more forgiving and unable to stick to consequences long enough. Permissive parents are quick to give out privileges and excuses if the child promises to be good. Rewards are allowed as long as you also assert your authority as the parent.

Children of this type of parenting style are confident and have better social skills. However, because they’re used to getting their way, they might find it difficult to follow rules2,6. They also have less regard for other people. Strike a balance by setting boundaries so your kids will learn the value of self-control and think before doing.


This parenting style is both low in expectations and responsiveness2. In most cases, these parents will provide the basic needs of their child, such as food and shelter, but they will display little to no interest in their child’s lives. This is also sometimes unintentional. A parent, for example, might have mental issues that prevent him or her from caring for the child.

As a result, the child might be more impulsive since they grew up without guidance. They will also display low self-esteem and would crave attention from others, even if they're inappropriate6.

Most research concludes authoritative parenting is the most ideal type of parenting style since it yields to more positive behaviors2. However, keep in mind that exceptions in some areas remain. For example, cultural differences and social expectations can affect parenting styles.

Make sure that you only enforce what is right, healthy, and safe. Remember, it’s entirely possible to maintain a positive relationship with your child while establishing boundaries and expectations.

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  1. The Science of Adolescent Risk-Taking: Workshop Report (2011). Retrieved November 27, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53418/
  2. 4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Effects 2028). Retrieved November 27, 2020 from https://www.parentingforbrain.com/4-baumrind-parenting-styles/
  3. Parenting Styles and Parent–Adolescent Relationships: The Mediating Roles of Behavioral Autonomy and Parental Authority (2018). Retrieved November 27, 2020 from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02187/full
  4. Authoritarian vs. Authoritative Parenting (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2020 from http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/parent.pdf
  5. Authoritative parenting style (2017). Retrieved November 27, 2020 from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/authoritative_parenting_style
  6. Parenting Styles (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2020 from https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/parenting-styles