4 Types of Parenting Styles & Their Effects on Children

parenting Sep 21, 2017
4 Types of Parenting Styles

Think about your most vivid childhood memories, the kind that really stick out to you. Is it the love of a nurturing grandmother who taught you the value of hospitality? Is it the mentorship of an intentional father who passed along a strong work ethic?

When we take the time to revisit our childhood experiences, we quickly realize that our upbringing played a big role in making us the type of people we are today.

If that’s true, what would your own children say about you? Imagine they are 30 or 40 years old, reading a blog post like this, and they are asked the question, “How did your parents influence the type of person you are today?” What would their answer be? What would you hope their answer would be?

It’s a pretty convicting question to ask, isn’t it?

Take a deep breath, Dads. This post isn’t meant to make you feel bad. Instead, it's an opportunity for all of us learn about effective parent styles (and ineffective ones to avoid) and how to get better at raising our kids.

This is important because every parenting style has a unique and profound impact on our kids. So, let's talk about it!

Here are the 4 main types of parenting styles and how each one affects our children.

Authoritarian Parenting  

Authoritarian parenting style is extremely strict. Imagine all of the foreign world leaders that you learned about in school and all of their powerful speeches from the numerous world wars. Now picture those people parenting with the same tone.

Yikes, right?

An authoritarian parent likes a lot of structure and a lot of rules. And of course, rules and boundaries are important for children, but they also need the freedom to experience life, make mistakes, and learn about who they are. Unfortunately, that's very difficult to accomplish when a child grows up in an authoritarian environment.

How would we describe an authoritarian parent?

  • Use punishment to get your kid to do something
  • Come across as cold and not emotional
  • Strict rules that need to be followed… or else
  • “Because I said so” is a commonly used phrase

How would we describe a child who grew up with authoritarian parents?

  • Low self-esteem
  • Inability to engage in social situations
  • Associate obedience with love

We parent like this out of a place of insecurity or a deep need for control. And, honestly, when parents are tired and at the end of their rope, this is the style they fall back on.

But if you’re worried that you’ve done damage to your children because you’ve slipped up and used punishment to coerce them or you've said the dreaded phrase, "because I said so!", cut yourself some slack. All of us have had moments when we just need. Our. Children. To. Listen. To. Us!


The key here is self-awareness so that you can avoid being a full-blown authoritarian parent.  It does no good for your kids.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents are the opposite of authoritarian parents. These parents avoid conflict at all costs and don't instill many rules in their household.

How would we describe permissive parenting?

  • Avoid conflict with your child
  • Desire to be their friend rather than their parent
  • Use rewards or bribes to get your children to do things

Permissive parents are very warm and loving toward their children - which is a very good thing! However, that amazing love and warmth, when not combined with rules, boundaries, and lessons about self-discipline, can be detrimental to a child's development.

How would we describe a child who grew up with permissive parents?

  • Poor social skills
  • Total lack of discipline
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor academic performance
  • Problems with authority

Not only that, but teens of permissive parents are 3x more likely to engage in underage alcohol consumption.

You see, love is very good thing, but not at the expense of the rules and boundaries every child craves.


Uninvolved Parenting  

An uninvolved parent is the most destructive to the development of a child. Whereas authoritarian parents overdo their rules and boundaries, and the permissive parent joins their child in breaking the rules, the uninvolved parent neglects their children and has NO relationship with them.

How would we describe uninvolved parenting?

  • Don't know what’s going on their child’s life
  • The home is not a safe and secure place (there is no adult at home to protect the child)
  • Spend a lot of time away from the home, leaving the child alone at home
  • Turn to other adults to raise your child
  • Don’t spend time with your child outside of the home

How would we describe a child who grew up with uninvolved parents?

  • Extremely difficult time forming relationships
  • Inability to interact with other children

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting is the most effective parenting style. Period.

Within this style of parenting, there is structure, balance, and organization. And unlike the authoritarian style that we talked about earlier, this "structure" does not get out of hand to the point of stifling the child.

How would we describe authoritative parenting?

  • Strict but not too strict; rules but not too many; regimented but not too regimented
  • Consequences of misbehavior is not just a penalty. They are a learning experience about how to get better the next time.
  • Child has a clear understanding of what’s expected of them
  • Open communication. Your child feels safe coming to you and talking to you

How would we describe a child who grew up with authoritative parents?

  • Well-adjusted member of society
  • Ability to communicate well with others
  • High level of self-esteem and self-discipline

Want another parenting hack? Your parenting style has an impact on your child’s development. A lot of times, people will see a kid misbehave, or act differently than other kids, and chalk it up to “that’s just the way they are.” It's true that DNA plays a part in the demeanor of our children - that is just the way they are to some extent. But nurture, the experiences our children have, play a HUGE part in the type of person they become.

Watch the "4 Types of Parenting Styles & Their Effects on Children" video here:

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