20 October 2021 (updated)

To Each Their Own: Finding Your Parenting Style

Everyone has a unique parenting style, but which one are you? Here are some of the different styles to see which one you best relate to.

How to Find Your Parenting Style

The views on what "right parenting" actually means can be extremely different. Most parents don't consciously choose a parenting style, but influences from their own childhood and education shape the way they parent. So parents or grandparents tend to either follow the example they've had or adopt the opposite technique.

Cultural influences and geography also bear strongly on our parenting styles. Americans generally tend to be more permissive parents than their more authoritative counterparts in other parts of the globe. But overall, a healthy mix of warmth and discipline is important within all different parenting styles.

In a sense, you could say: You don't find your parenting style; rather, it finds you. Or perhaps you find each other. Read on to learn more about different parenting styles.

Four Main Parenting Styles

There are almost as many ways to classify parenting styles as there are different types of parents! It can get truly overwhelming. One of the most common parenting style paradigms we use today developed was developed by clinical psychologist Diana Baumrind. She breaks parenting styles down into authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting, permissive parenting, and uninvolved parenting. Here they are in a nutshell.

  • Authoritarian Parenting: Authoritarian parents tend to emphasize discipline and following the rules but aren't very nurturing.
  • Permissive Parenting: Permissive parents are the exact opposite of their authoritarian counterparts. They're very compassionate and indulgent but tend to lack boundaries and discipline.
  • Uninvolved Parenting: This parenting style has the flexibility of permissive parents but the coldness of authoritarian parents. 
  • Authoritative Parenting: Authoritative parents embrace rules and discipline like authoritarian parents, but they also tend to be quite warm and affectionate with their children in their parenting.

In this paradigm, children with authoritative parents tend to have the edge when it comes to overall child development. But there's not even one specific way to implement the authoritative parenting style.

Authoritative Parenting in Action

Some of the benefits of authoritative parenting become obvious when it comes to situations like bedtime. If you're too permissive, your child won't even have a bedtime, or you'll give them infinite glasses of water, cuddles, or snacks before bed. If you're uninvolved, your child can stay up as late as they want to. And authoritarian parents might strictly enforce bedtime without any story or discussion. 
In contrast, authoritative parents will recognize the need for bedtime but can allow a certain amount of flexibility instead of rigid rules. This balance makes things easier for both your kid and you as parents. It also can improve a child's self-esteem, as they feel confident of both love and structure.

Rules And Boundaries: Essential Tools For Parenting

Child psychologists like Dane Jesper Juul are confident children definitely need boundaries and the framework authoritative parenting provides. Parents provide the framework in which they can move freely. However, parents must explain this framework to their children again and again. Pointing out personal limits to them is also a good idea. Also, the rules should be meaningful and coordinated with the needs. Parents shouldn't arbitrarily invent them.

In this scenario, parents have limits and boundaries but are also nurturing and provide certain amounts of flexibility when needed. In this approach, parents might need to adjust their rules based on their child's maturity level. When kids get older, you need a different framework than you would for toddlers.

Other Parenting Styles

Even within the authoritative parenting style, there's quite a bit of room for variation, especially accounting for child development stages. Some styles range more towards authoritarian, and others are more permissive. Here are a few that have been popular in recent years. 

Attachment parents usually fall somewhere on the permissive parenting spectrum, as they tend to their baby's needs. These parents are usually active proponents of baby-wearing and cosleeping so that they can know their child's needs. While attachment parenting usually won't last beyond the earliest years, it helps to set the stage to develop a parenting style.

Some attachment parents may evolve into helicopter parents, who might hover over all their child's activities. But these parents could either be authoritarian or more indulgent. You definitely won't accuse helicopter parents of being neglectful parents!  They could indulge their child's every desire or strongly encourage their child to follow a set path. Either way, they play an extremely active role in their child's development. 

Free-range parents, in contrast, are basically the opposite of helicopter parents, taking a more laissez-faire approach. They'll give children more responsibility at early ages, as a way for them to develop independence and learn about consequences. It's not permissive parenting, as there are regulations and expectations to guide children as they mature.

Tiger parenting, made popular by Amy Chua in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is another common parenting style, especially in Asian cultures. In this method, which falls between the authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles, parents often put a lot of pressure on their children to achieve greatness in their academics and life. 

Be Authentic: Create Your Unique Parenting Style

At the end of the day, it can be said again and again: There is no "one" correct parenting style- even within "authoritative parenting." Rather, you need to consider individual factors such as the personalities of the child and parents. Mothers and fathers often jump back and forth between different parenting methods depending on the situation. 

The important thing is to provide consistent structure and love so that your children can thrive.

What's your parenting style? Be sure to connect with friends and family on FamilyApp!



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