Which Parenting Style Are You?
For more parenting tips, listen to our podcast episode What is Your Parenting Style?.
I know that so many times parents can feel so ineffective, as if they have no influence over their children whatsoever. While we cannot change a lot of things, like their parts of temperament, things like how energetic or determined our child is. We can shape, influence and work within their temperament with amazing results. For more on this see the class on temperament. But more than that research shows that we do have a huge influence on things like our child’s self-esteem, development of autonomy and initiative and social skills.
Diane Baumrind was the first psychologist to study and categorize parenting styles. She used two measurements, level of control and level of warmth, to categorize the different parenting styles. She then labeled three categories:
Authoritarian parents were high in control and expectation and low in warmth
Permissive parents were low in control and expectation and high in warmth
Democratic/Authoritative parents were higher in both expectation and warmth. They used moderate levels of control but with some room for kids to help make decisions for themselves. In other words, room for mistakes and therefore room to learn from them.
Many years later, Maccoby and Martin categorized a fourth type:
Disengaged/Neglectful: these parents are low in both control and warmth. They either just leave the kids to pretty much raise themselves or even worse, when they do engage with their child it is a negative and/or abusive manner. They can be outright rejecting. This is more common in parents with mental illness such as severe depression, alcohol or drug addiction or a personality disorder such as Narcissistic or Borderline personality disorders.
Dr. Baumrind then studies how these parenting styles affected the behaviors and characteristics in pre-school age children. Since her original research many other scientists have continued to study the outcomes of the different parenting styles through adolescence and even into adulthood. These studies have shown the following outcomes:
Children/adults from this parenting style tend to:
- Be poor problem solvers because they are always given the rules and expected to adhere strictly to them. They get no to very little opportunity to practice decision making, to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Be anxious and insecure because love feels very conditional. “If I don’t perform to expectations, I won’t get approval.”
- Be passive because they are never given any opportunity to be assertive or engage and practice leadership. They are expected to “do as I say and don’t ask questions.”
- Have low self-esteem
- Score lower on verbal IQ tests
- Rebel in teenage years. While many do not, for children of a particular temperament type who has been stifled for so many years and has been afraid of an overbearing parent, once he realizes he’s bigger and stronger or that parent is unable to control him, he finally gets an opportunity for freedom. Unfortunately without the practice of decision-making, he’s not very good at it.
children from permissive homes tend to:
- Lack life skills because expectations of them were so low. They don’t get practice at pitching in around the house, or doing things for themselves.
- Lack a sense of responsibility
- Lack self-discipline & internal motivation
- Prone to acting out because they lack emotional regulation.
children/adults from these homes tend to:
- Have healthy self-esteem
- Have internal motivation
- Have self-discipline and
- Have a strong sense of responsibility
- Be good problem-solvers
- Have healthier, happier relationships with their parents, friends, colleagues and romantic partners throughout life.
Parents will shift from one style to another at times but predominantly fall into one type.
With all of the benefits of democratic parenting style, still only 10-12% of parents predominantly fall into this category.