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Which Parenting Style Has the Best Outcomes?

Which Parenting Style Has the Best Outcomes?
December 13, 2020

As an adult, we all grew up experiencing parenting from our caregivers. Undoubtedly, you have your own opinions about the aspects of the parenting you received and which parts were good and which parts were less than desirable. Many of us decide to go on and have children of our own and find ourselves faced with the daunting task of now being in the parenting role. Most of us yearn to do as good or better than what we received as children but realize we may only have a single frame of reference with which to draw upon.

In this article, we will discuss the different parenting styles that exist, what they look like, and the potential impact on the child. In the 1960’s an imminent psychologist Diana Baumrind through years of research delineated three distinct parenting styles. In 1983 Maccoby and Martin expanding Baumrind model to include a fourth parenting style. Overarching these different parenting styles are two stylistic attributes that are quite important to discuss. The first is demandingness or discipline. This refers to a spectrum upon which the parent falls in terms of the degree to which they control their child’s behavior and expect them to behave maturely. The other stylistic attribute is responsiveness which refers to the extent to which a parent is nurturing and accepting of a child’s emotional and developmental needs. Some feel it encompasses the degree of love and affection toward a child. Now let’s look at these two main parenting attributes in the context of the four parenting styles.

Authoritative Parenting Style

These parents tend to be high of responsiveness and also high of demandingness. They hold high expectations for their children but are also warm, loving, and responsive. They take the time to explain to their children why the rules are the way they are and encourage them to understand. They enforce boundaries and hold their children accountable but execute this in a compassionate and caring manner. The general outcome for these kids is positive. Most of these children are happy, active and independent, do well academically, have good peer relationships, have fewer issues with mental health, and upwards of 80% have high self-esteem.

Authoritarian Parenting Style

These parents tend to be high of demandingness but low on responsiveness. Parents enact their demandingness in a different manner than the authoritative style. These parents tend to have an expectation of blind obedience. “You do it because I said so”, would be an example of what an authoritarian parent may say. These parents are not taking the time to explain and discuss rules with their children; they just want compliance. Their discipline tends to be more harsh and the use, or threat, of corporal punishment is common to control behavior. They may view their parenting as “tough love”. These parents also tend to be less responsive and nurturing, often not wanting to “spoil the child”. This was a very common parenting style through the 1900’s up until the 1970’s and 1980’s, where we saw the pendulum swing to the permissive parenting style. In terms of outcome, these children are less happy, less independent, struggle with social skills, perform lower academically, are more prone to mental health and substance abuse issues, may have more behavioral problems and poor coping skills. As a group only about 20% end up having high self-esteem.

Permissive Parenting Style

These parents tend to be high on responsiveness but low on demandingness and discipline. These parents set few boundaries and are reluctant to enforce rules and hold their kids accountable. On the flip side, these parents are very warm and nurturing almost to the point of indulgence. These parents don’t like to disappoint their kids and tend to give into most of their child’s desires. Many believe that parents who grew up with authoritarian parenting styles wanted to give their kids the opposite experience of what they didn’t enjoy growing up with. This translates into great amounts of warmth and love and no harsh discipline. Ironically, these children tend to struggle as adults. Many of them cannot follow rules, or don’t think rules should apply to them, tend to be quite egocentric and struggle to understand how others feel, do not possess very good self-control, have trouble social interactions and maintaining relationships. Similar to the authoritarian parenting style, only about 20% of these kids grew up to have high self-esteem.

Neglectful Parenting Style

As the name implies, these parents are low on demandingness and low on responsiveness. These parents tend to be lost in their own issues and are uninvolved in their child’s upbringing. They may provide the bare minimum and the essentials, but the child is often seen as a burden that must be endured. Many of these parents have mental health issues of their own or came from abusive homes themselves. Unfortunately, these children don’t have very good outcomes as adults. They tend to be impulsive, struggle to regulate their emotions, struggle academically, tends to act out behaviorally, and are highly prone to developing addictions and having mental health issues.

As you can see the authoritative parenting style tends to have the best outcomes, which has been shown around the world in many different cultures. If you are interested in talking more about parenting styles and exploring some parental coaching, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule a consultation with one of our psychologists so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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