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Parenting style is a psychological construct representing standard strategies parents use in raising their children.

One of the best known theories of parenting style was developed by Diana Baumrind. In her research she identified four main parenting styles in early child development: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful.[1] These four styles are described below, each with its own pros and cons.

Authoritative parenting

This is characterized by high expectations of compliance to parental rules and directions, an open dialogue about those rules and behaviors, and a child-centered approach characterized by warm, positive affect. Authoritative parents encourage the child to be independent. Authoritative parents are not usually controlling allowing the child to explore more freely.[2] Authoritative parents are strict, demands obedience, but when punishing a child, the parent will always explain his or her motive for their punishment.[3] The resulting children have a higher self esteem, are independent, and happy. Children who are subject to this kind of parenting may debate with their parents and may form their own seemingly logical opinions in order to justify their disobedience.

Authoritarian parenting

Main article: Authoritarian parenting

This style is characterized by high expectations of conformity and compliance to parental rules and directions. Authoritarian parents expect much of their child but do not explain the rules at all, unlike the Authoritative parent.[4] Authoritarian parents are most likely to hit a child as a form of punishment instead of grounding a child.[5]

Permissive parenting

Main article: Permissive parenting

This parenting style is a warm,but lax pattern of parenting in which adults make relatively few demands and permit their children to freely express their feelings and impulses. Few rules;few demands They do not closely monitor their children's activity and rarely exert firm control over their behavior. Usually non-punitive. These children tend to be more selfish, impulsive, insecure and low achievers. They tend to lack in social responsibility.[citation needed]

Neglectful parenting

Neglectful parenting, also known as nonconformist parenting, is similar to permissive parenting but the parent does not care much about the child. The parents are generally not involved in their child's life, but will provide basic needs for the child.[6]


Research into the child behavior outcomes associated with each type of parenting has traditionally shown a strong benefit to authoritative parenting. These children have been shown to have more self-discipline, emotional self-control, more friends and better school performance. However, recent research has identified a number of caveats. First, authoritarian parenting may be more effective in certain contexts and in social groups other than those studied in early research. Secondly, little research has examined the genetic influences that may underlie the findings. For instance, harsh parents may produce harsher children through the mechanism of genetic transmission of these traits. Behavior genetics research is currently examining the influence of genes as they pertain to parenting styles.

An additional criticism of the parenting styles research is that parenting has been shown to be part of a bi-directional relationship between parent and child. Thus, characterizing a parenting style as arising from the parent leaves out the essential influence of the child on the parent-child dyad.

Parenting styles and cognitive functioning in offspring

Main article: Parenting styles and cognitive funtioning in offspring



  1. Baumrind, D. (1978). Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. Youth and Society, 9, 238-276.
  2. All about the authoritative parenting style. Pagewise. URL accessed on 2007-09-23.
  3. Parent-Child Relationships: Information and Much More from URL accessed on 2007-09-23.
  4. What Kind of Parent are you?. URL accessed on 2007-09-23.
  5. Authoritarian Parenting: An Overview - Parents - URL accessed on 2007-09-23.
  6. Neuroscience, Psychoanalysis & Psychopharmacology: [Meeting] #40. NPSA: Neuropsychoanalysis. URL accessed on 2007-09-23.



  • Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior, Child Development, 37(4), 887-907.
  • Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88.
  • Baumrind,D. (1978). Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. Youth and Society,9,238-276
  • Gruesec, I. E. ( 1997 ). A History of Research on Parenting Strategies and Children's internalization of Values, In Parenting and ChiIdren 's Internaliation of Values. edited by Grusecc, S. E., & Kucsyaski, L., John Wiley & Sons Inc.

External links

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