Help Me Grow | United Way of Utah County

What is your Parenting Style?

Parenting styles, as defined by Diana Baumrind are strategies that parents use in their child-rearing. Those styles are Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved. Let’s take a deeper look into these 4 parenting styles.

Authoritarian- very strict rules, these kinds of parents have rules for their children with no flexibility to them. You can think of this kind of parenting as the parent who says, “It’s my way or the highway.” There are just too many boundaries. Children who grow up with this style will rebel more often both at home as they grow and as adults. It creates defiance of rules. The authoritarian style is often associated with not having much warmth toward your child. An example of what this looks like is a child asking your permission to stay out later but you refuse to consider or talk through the request.

Authoritative- these parents are warm towards their children and have rules but the rules aren’t so strict or rigid that it doesn’t allow for any flexibility. It teaches them what is and is not okay. It provides children with good problem-solving skills. An example of this could be that your child asks you if they can stay out later with their friends. You listen to why they would like to stay out later and make a decision together. Authoritative parents are allowed to have rules that don’t change the idea that it doesn’t happen with every rule or request. This kind of parenting leads to a child who follows rules but also knows how to problem solve and accepts and shows love to others.

Permissive- These parents are warm towards their children but often don’t have many rules. They fear children being upset with them, so it is a very loose and unstructured environment. The permissive parent would always say “yes” to the child in response to their requests. For example, a permissive parent would let children go and play as they please with little to no accountability. This kind of parenting often leads to children not respecting rules because they have not been taught that they are important. They often just expect everyone to approach them and their actions with love and warmth.

Uninvolved- The uninvolved parent shows little to no warmth or appropriate attention and are often neglectful. The uninvolved parent doesn’t take interest in their children. It is also the most harmful. An example of this is a parent who may do very basic things like feed the children but ignore all other needs. It is also associated with showing little interest in your children. Since this kind of parenting is associated with neglect the children learn to be independent but are surrounded by the need to survive.

It has been shown that children who grow up with parents whose parenting style most aligns with the authoritative parenting style do best in their learning, growing, and transitioning through the childhood years and into adulthood.

It can also be helpful to identify the style of your parents. We are likely to be similar to our parents. If you find you don’t currently have the authoritative style, start making small changes that will bring you closer to what that means for you and your children.

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