16 Parenting Styles | Psychology and Impact on Children

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Parenting is one of the most challenging and fulfilling jobs on the earth – being a parent is just like riding a roller coaster ride. Every day you come across a new and challenging task.

One minute you have an unforgettable cheerful moment and the other minute you face an uneasy destressing time that you just want to put away from yourself.

Juggling through these ups and downs, you always try to be the perfect parent you can for your child.

However, none of us are perfect in raising children but applying different parenting approaches we can get the best child’s outcomes. These parenting approaches are referred to as parenting styles in today’s world.

It can be defined as a “psychological plan, comprises of different levels of strategies that parents use in raising children.”

Parenting style is one of the most determining components of your child’s development and its outcomes. It has a great impact on your child’s behavior and his psychological and social development.

The style you opt for your children can influence everything, from how they look to what they think about themselves.

Therefore, you need to assure that the one you choose should not only support your child’s normal health and growth but also help them become socially skilled and competent in their later life.

Links between Parenting Styles and child development

Parenting Styles and Child Development

Diversity in parenting styles and the parent-child interaction grades have always been well-established and prevailing research subjects of developmental psychology.

Several pieces of research and studies have been conducted to find the relationship between the style of parenting you apply to your child and their impacts on your child’s development. These researches have shown that there are links between parenting styles and effects produced by these styles on your children.

The way you interact with your children and your disciplinary action has a direct influence on all the aspects of your children’s behavior and their development.

These effects on children produced as a result of your parenting techniques can influence the rest of their lives and can persist in their adult behavior.

Theories on Parenting Styles

What kind of parent do you think you will be? And which parenting form will be best for your child development? To answer this, developmental psychologists have put a lot of thought and effort into these questions for a long period.

Over the past decades, several attempts have been made to explore the different types of parenting styles as different styles of parenting affect children in different ways.

Developmental psychologists have proposed different theories on parenting methods after carrying out profound researches, observations, and surveys on several parents and their families.

The following are the major theories. These theories show us the origin of different types of parenting styles that we use now!

Diana Baumrind’s Parenting Style (1967)

The concept behind the parenting styles was first introduced back in 1967 by Diana Baumrind1, an American developmental psychologist who studied preschoolers in her landmark study.

Diana Baumrind was one of the most renowned researchers of parenting styles. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. Baumrind’s work set the pillars for different types of parenting styles that are commonly applied in today’s psychology.

In 1960, Baumrind observed preschoolers from American European middle-class families and found that each of them exhibits a distinct kind of behavior. She noted that each child’s behavior is highly correlated to a particular style of parenting.

According to Baumrind theory “there is a direct relationship between a specific type of parenting style and children behavior which ultimately leads to unique child outcomes.”

After this research, Baumrind developed a two-dimensional framework for parenting styles, i.e.

  • Demandingness means to the measure of parent’s control on child behaviors – parents with high demandingness set boundaries, enforce strict rules, and demand for a high degree of obedience from their children.
  • Responsiveness refers to parents who are highly responsive and supportive of all kinds of their child’s developmental requirements. Parents with high responsiveness set clear and open communication, show attachment and warmth to their children.

After prolong and extensive studies, observations, surveys, and analyses, based on her two-dimensional framework, Baumrind demonstrated three main categories of parenting styles:

  • Authoritative
  • Authoritarian
  • Permissive

Each of these parenting styles has a great impact on your children’s behavior and development. The definition of these types of parenting styles and their effects on children are explained below in this article.

Maccoby and Martin’s Parenting Style (1983)

Although Baumrind builds the base for different types of parenting styles and categorized them, however, two psychologists Maccoby and Martin2 further extended the work of Baumrind and put forward the fourth type i.e. neglectful parenting style which is also known as uninvolved parenting.

Using the two-dimensional frame of parenting styles, Maccoby and Martin elaborated Baumrind’s third parenting style, the permissive style, and developed the fourth style of parenting in this framework.

Darling and Steinberg’s Parenting Style (1993)

Another important aspect of parenting style was studied by Nancy Darling and Laurence Steinberg3 in 1993, that there is a distinct difference between parenting practices and parenting techniques.

Parenting practices are the specific physical parental behaviors that parents use to socialize their children in different situations and domains. Whereas parenting styles are the non-physical, emotional setups that parents use in child-rearing.

They present the integrative model of parenting style according to that “parenting method can be visualized as a cluster of attitudes or a plan that involves the autonomy and parental authority that parents apply to their children within an emotional framework and climate”.

Darling and Steinberg studied the impact of parenting behaviors on adolescent’s development and their outcomes. According to the integrative model of Darling and Steinberg parenting style can affect the adolescent’s outcomes.

Zhang et al Parenting Style (2006)

Several factors can change parenting styles such as culture, society, parental behavior, political and economic attitudes, and parent-adolescent relationships. One of the prominent studies on parent-adolescent relationships and their effects on parenting styles is discussed here.

A Chinese psychologist Zhang4 et al studied the impact of parenting techniques on parent-adolescent relationships.

He researched high school children from mainland China and found that adolescent’s beliefs and expectations for behavioral autonomy and parenting authority can change the parenting methods effectively.

Adolescence is a critical stage of development, where children are not considered as passive social individuals. Adolescents perform an active role in changing and shaping parenting techniques and parents’ behavior. This ultimately leads to modifications in their outcomes.

Zhang’s study of adolescents has shown that there are links between parenting methods and parent-adolescent relationships. It has been examined that child-raising techniques have a great impact on mediating roles and behavioral autonomy expectations of adolescents.

Adolescent’s demands for behavioral autonomy mediated the links between child-rearing style and parent-adolescent relationships. Adolescents demand quick behavioral autonomy than their parents grant them.

Types of Parenting Styles

In addition to the above parenting styles given by various developmental psychologists, many other child-rearing styles have been introduced in our modern society.

Since each individual is different and imposes unique behaviors, therefore, each of these kid-rearing styles affects children in different ways.

The characteristics of each style of parenting and their effects on kids are given below. This will surely help you to find out which type of child-raising style tends to be best for your child’s development.

Authoritarian parenting

Do you think in any of these ways?

  • children shouldn’t be given any choice to express their feelings
  • Rules are made specifically for children and they’re supposed to follow them at any cost
  • Children don’t need any feedback their behaviors can be improved by natural consequences.

If anyone of these statements relates to you then you’re an authoritarian parent. Authoritarian parenting is one of the three parenting styles proposed by Baumrind.

Following the two-dimensional framework of parenting designed by Baumrind, authoritarian parenting is high in demandingness and low in responsiveness. It is the rigid type of parenting style in which children are expected to follow rules without any exception.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Authoritarian parents enforce strict rules without giving any specific reasons for these rules.
  • Authoritarian parents demand high obedience and discipline from their children.
  • Instead of encouraging self-control, they force their children to stick to parental authority for managing their behaviors.
  • Authoritarian parents are the least users of nurturance, warmth, and love. They remain cold, harsh, detach, and unresponsive to their children.
  • Authoritarian parenting is based on one- communication i.e. from parent to child. Parents of this style of parenting believe that children don’t need any feedback and negotiation
  • Authoritarian parents lack patience for the misbehaviors of their children. They have a zero-tolerance policy for undesirable attitudes of their children. Very often they make use of strict disciplines like repeated time outs, spanking, scolding, yelling, and corporal punishments to ensure that their children don’t make any mistakes.
  • They use criticism and shaming as the best tactic for improving their children’s behavior.

Effects on Children

The following are the effects of authoritarian parenting on children:

  • Children of authoritarian parents tend to be obedient at home and are good at following rules.
  • They fail to develop social skills and communication with their peers
  • They tend to show aggressive behaviors especially outside their home in the absence of their parents.
  • Children raised by authoritarian parenting are completely dependent on their parents, they remain hostile and have poor self-control.
  • Children seem to be unhappy in normal situations and fail to develop self-esteem
  • Children tend to develop bad habits like smoking, drinking and drug abuse and are more likely to undergo anxiety and depression

Authoritative Parenting

This is considered to be the most effective and successful parenting style among all Baumrind’s parenting styles. The Authoritative style of parenting is high in responsiveness and high in demandingness.

It is also known as the democratic style of parenting. Unlike authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting revolves around children and is child-centric.

It develops good parent-child interaction.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Authoritative parents are good listeners and highly communicative to their children and open to discussion
  • They set clear, precise and structured rules and give reason and explanation for setting these rules
  • Authoritative parents possess warmth, nurturance, and affection for their children
  • They offer choices to their children to discuss and teach them to solve their problems on their own
  • Authoritative parents use positive disciplines and consistent consequences in a case when rules are not followed by their children

Effects on Children

Children raised by authoritative parenting tend to exhibit the following characteristics:

  • They are more adaptive and socially skilled as these children are given space to discuss and communicate
  • Develop good problem-solving skills
  • Children of authoritative parents have strong self-respect and self-control
  • They tend to have happy moods and have an urge to learn new things which develop self-confidence in them
  • These children are independent and have decision-making abilities because they recognize the difference between right and wrong. However, parents provide consistent guidelines for making decisions.
  • They’re good followers of rules as know the reason and logical explanation behind the existence of rules

Permissive Parenting or Indulgent Parenting

The third type of Baumrind’s parenting style is permissive parenting. It is identified by high responsiveness and low demandingness. It is also known as indulgent parenting.

This parenting style is more focused on children’s freedom and independence rather than parent-child mutual interaction.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Permissive parents play the role of a friend rather than being a parent
  • They exhibit high levels of warmth, nurturance, and love towards their children
  • Permissive parents have very low expectations from their children
  • Indulgent parents hardly enforce rules and sometimes tend to enforce inconsistent rules
  • They tend to have very little parental authority and parental control
  • Indulgent parents use very few disciplines and consequences and tend to be lenient and lax
  • They offer children the freedom to make decisions on their own without providing any essential guidelines to them

Effects on Children

The following are the child outcomes of a permissive parent

  • Children raised by permissive parenting tend to show low levels of academic achievements because their parents have very low demands and low expectations from their children
  • They fail to develop self-discipline and self-control because of the lack of implementation of rules
  • Children of permissive parents are least socially skilled and develop aggression in situations where they feel stressed
  • They have a poor decision- making and problem-solving skills as they’re not given any essential guidelines and are left open in making their decisions
  • Children raised by permissive parenting are not good in following rules and due to the lack of consistent rules and consequences they tend to develop bad attitudes like alcohol, drug abuse
  • They develop poor time-management skills because there are no limitations and boundaries for any task

Uninvolved or Neglectful Parenting

After several pieces of research and studies, Maccoby and Martin5 (1983) added the fourth style of parenting into the original set of Baumrind’s parenting styles.

By name, it is obvious that parents using this neglect their children in all means. It is characterized by extremely low levels of responsiveness and low demandingness.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Uninvolved parents are highly unresponsive and show minimal or no involvement with their children
  • They lack warmth, nurturance, and affection and express no feelings for their children
  • Uninvolved parents have least to no expectations regarding their children’s behaviors
  • Parents of this style of parenting set no rules and boundaries and have no demands from their children
  • Neglectful parents make least or no use of parental authority and show poor supervision qualities
  • Neglectful parents often neglect the basic needs of their children like food, shelter, clothing and their health
  • Uninvolved parents are found to be occupied by financial, social and economic problems and sometimes face excessive workload due to which they’re forced to neglect their children

Effects on Children

Children raised by uninvolved parenting tend to show extreme negative outcomes. The following are the effects of neglectful parenting on their children

  • Children of uninvolved parents lack self-esteem and self-control and fail to develop social skills
  • They’re negligent in following rules especially in school and outside their home because they’ve not been imposed to any rules
  • Children raised by uninvolved parenting show poor academic achievements because of a lack of involvement and minimal expectations of their parents
  • These children tend to develop anxiety, fear, and feel stress under competing situations.
  • Children have poor disciplinary skills and problem-solving skills
  • They’re at high risk of drug abuse, alcohol and tend to develop bad behaviors due to the emotional detachment of their parents

Helicopter Parenting or Over Parenting

This type of parenting style was first introduced by Dr. Haim Ginott6 (1969) in his book “Between Parent and Teenager.” It is referred to as over parenting sometimes.

This style of parenting got its name from parents who tend to “hover like a helicopter over their children all the times i.e. they show over-involvement in their children’s behaviors.

Previously, this seemed to be common in adolescent age but it starts at a very early stage.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Helicopter parents tend to show extreme levels of responsiveness and are hyper-interactive
  • They show extreme involvement and heavy interests in their children and their tasks
  • These parents are highly concern about their children’s academic achievements and result, they’re anxious about failure and disappointment of their children
  • Parents tend to administer every task of their children from cleaning their room, tying up shoes and clothing to selecting their sports activities, their peers and jobs
  • Children are not given chances to make their own choices
  • Helicopter parents are over-protective and act as a shield to their children against failure and disappointment
  • Instead of assisting children in their homework and assignments helicopter parents complete their children’s projects and school work by themselves to avoid the chances of failure

Effects on Children

Children raised by this style of parenting exhibit the following behaviors

  • Children of helicopter parents develop poor self-control and self- esteem
  • These children are entirely dependent on their parents for making a decision and sometimes feel anxious and stressed when their parents are not around, this ultimately leads to mental instability and depression
  • Children of this style of parenting fail to develop problem-solving skills as they had been never given a chance to solve their problem on their own
  • These children are non-adaptive and are the least socially skilled
  • Children of helicopter parents, however, show good grades and high levels of academic achievements as their parents are directly involved in their studies
  • These children are unaware of hit and trial strategy and don’t know how to improve after failure as they are never being given a chance to make errors and mistakes

Attachment Parenting

This is one of the modern styles of parenting based on attachment theory that was proposed by two child psychologists William Sears and Martha Sears7.

According to this theory parent’s relation and response to their children at the infant stage has a long-lasting effect on their emotional and social development. It is believed that parental behaviors of attachment parents can affect their children in their future life.

Attachment parenting is focused on developing the parent-infant bond and closeness. The impacts of this style of parenting are everlasting and can be seen in adult’s behaviors.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Attachment parents are highly responsive and show maximum empathy, warmth, and love to their children
  • They believe that physical contact with their babies can develop strong parent-infant relationship therefore, they tend to use specific tools of parenting like mother feeding, child wearing, and co-sleeping
  • They used to wear or wrap their babies around them using a sling or sheet and hold their babies in arms as long as they can to provide close interaction and feeling of touch and love to their children
  • Attachment parents are prompt in responding to their children needs, they understand the body language and face expression of their babies and use their baby cries as signals or way of communication
  • They use structured and well-known decisions like they have multiple options for dealing with their baby’s illness
  • Attachment parents use gentle and positive disciplines to deal with misbehaviors of their children
  • Attachment parents are highly organized and keep a balance between family relationships

Effects on Children

Children raised by attachment parenting show the following outcomes

  • Children of attachment parents develop quick and good language skills as their body actions had been used as a way of communication by their parents
  • These children feel more secure and protective as they have physical contact with their parents
  • They are assured that all their needs will be fulfilled as their parents are highly responsive to their behaviors
  • Children of attachment parents have non-aggressive, happy and contended moods as their parents are always attentive and available for their cries
  • Children of attachment parents have shown some negative outcomes like they develop emotional distress in the absence of their parental touch
  • Co-sleeping and sharing of bed can lead to risks of breathing problems in infants, suffocation, and SIDs (infant death syndrome)
  • Attachment parenting is highly demanding on physical contact that can hamper parent’s health and routines

Unconditional Parenting

This style of parenting is first coined by Alfie Kohn8, a famous author who wrote many books on parenting and child education.

In his book, Unconditional Parenting he gave the concept of providing unconditional love and support to children in any situation.

According to this style of parenting providing children with rewards, punishment, and give them a message that they’ll be loved and cared only when they meet parents’ expectations for their behaviors.

Therefore parents should not love their children based on their behavior instead, they should love them unconditionally, regardless of their behaviors and actions. No matter who they are or what they do children should be loved as persons.

This should not be confused with the permissive parenting style. Unlike the permissive parenting style where there are no rules and boundaries, unconditional parenting has structured and comfortable rules and limits.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Unconditional parents are highly caring, responsive and nurturing to their children
  • They don’t practice traditional techniques of disciplines like punishments, time-out, spanking instead they use natural consequences to improve bad behaviors of their children
  • Unconditional parents believe that providing rewards, stickers, stars, and gifts are wrong ways of managing children’s’ behaviors because this will give them the idea that they’ll be loved only when they perform well!
  • Unconditional parents talk less and ask more – by leaving a question on their children’s misbehavior they offer their children a chance to think about their mistakes and in this way they can improve their behaviors
  • unconditional parents enforce flexible and gentle rules they’re more focused on long-term goals
  • Instead of using the traditional ways of time-out they use time-in to provide their children time to discuss what went wrong and why they misbehaved?

Effects on Children

Following are the effects of unconditional parenting on their children:

  • children raised by unconditional parenting develop strong self-esteem and self-confidence as they know their parents would love them even if they fail to meet their parent’s expectations
  • These children are free from the fear of failure, which ultimately reduces anxiety and stress from these children
  • Children of unconditional parents develop good problem-solving skills as they’re given chances to make amendments in their behaviors on their own
  • They develop good communication and social skills as they’re open to discussion and by providing answers to the questions put by their parents they can find solutions on their own
  • Children raised using this style develop an ever-lasting, healthy and powerful bond with their parents due to the unlimited and unconditional love of their parents
  • The negative outcome of unconditional parenting shown by these children is that they don’t know the value of rewards and praises and this can lead to low levels of their academic achievements
  • In some cases, unconditional parenting seems to show the loss of parental control on their children as there is less use of parental authority in maintaining children behaviors

Toxic or Narcissistic Parenting

While raising-children all parents made mistakes, since no one is perfect in child-rearing, but if these mistakes are made repeatedly from time to time they can lead to building a toxic environment around the child.

The type of parenting that is done in unloving, harsh, and insensitive way is called toxic or narcissistic parenting9.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Toxic parents usually suffer from mental disorders, emotional instability or immaturity
  • Generally, they’re abusive, narcissistic, barbaric, and sometimes addicted to alcohol or drugs
  • They usually leave an unloving painful effect on their children and cause psychological breakdown
  • Narcissistic parents are highly self-oriented their life revolves around their own needs and feelings they don’t take other’s feeling into consideration
  • They are ill-mannered, impolite and disrespectful, there is no room for respect, courtesy, and kindness for others in these parent’s attitudes
  • They are extremely manipulative they can easily twist ant situation and put their blame on others, sometimes their behaviors are unpredictable and they tend to overreact
  • Toxic parents are highly criticizing and demanding they demand their children to leave everything for their happiness and satisfaction
  • They never appreciate their children’s achievements instead they compete with their children and express jealousy with their children’s success
  • Narcissistic parents hurt other’s ego intentionally with their humiliating jokes
  • Toxic parents offer money and expensive gifts to their children and expect something in return and if their children could not meet their demands and expectations then these parents make them feel guilty and ashamed
  • These parents cross boundaries and limits and interfere with the privacy of their children like opening the door of their children’s bedroom without knocking and using their cell phones

Effects on Children

Children raised by narcissistic parenting show extreme negative outcomes

  • These children become highly anxious, mentally and emotionally crippled and distressed
  • They have extremely low levels of self-esteem and self-confidence due to the constant criticism and blaming of their parents
  • Children of narcissistic parents have poor communication and they’re least socially skilled because their feelings have always been suppressed by their parents
  • These children remain insecure and untrusted as their parents always scare and blame them for their mistakes and failure
  • Being Children of addicted parents, they suffer from physical and health problems like depression, anxiety, and post-turmeric stress
  • These children show poor academic achievements as never get encouragement and support from their children
  • These children are unaware of their self-worth as their parents always neglect their needs and constantly remind them that they are worthless which also lead to damage their personalities
  • Children of toxic parents show their anger and frustration to other people because they couldn’t express their feelings before their parents and lack love and affirmation from their parents

Holistic or Spiritual Parenting

Adopting the holistic style10 of parenting means that you bring out all the aspects of your child’s development. This is focused on the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social development of your children.

This parenting style suggests that children should be given a natural healthy environment for their better growth and development. It shows the relationship of the child with the natural environment.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Holistic parents are open-minded and pro-active; they use informed and tested decisions for their children. They have alternative options and holistic choices for the development of their children and they use the one that suits best to their children such as childbirth, mother feed, vaccination, health, nutrition and education
  • They are highly empathetic, nurturing, and loving to their children and sometimes use attachment parenting styles such as child wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and use of positive disciplines
  • Holistic parents believe in the development of the child as a whole i.e. Their mind, body, and spirit
  • They teach their children to respect and care for their natural environment and to protect their nature
  • Holistic parents teach their children the moral values and ethics, lead a simple life and avoid their children’s exposure to the non-virtual, materialistic and toxic environment that disconnects them from their natural environment
  • They keep a balance in all the aspects of child’s life and maintain healthy principles like eating healthy food, exercise, regular walk, natural healing, and effective communication
  • They’re open to discussion and spend time with their children to encourage their ideas and to explore their innate talents.

Effects on Children

Following are the outcomes of holistic children

  • Children raised by holistic parenting are physically, emotionally and morally strong as getting their upbringing in a non-toxic, non-materialistic, green and natural environment
  • They develop high levels of self-esteem, self- control and social skills as they are given a chance to express their ideas and explore the world
  • They develop a sense of security as their parents are in direct contact with them and provide them, unconditional natural love
  • Holistic children develop positive behaviors and mutual understanding with their parents and their natural environment
  • Following a healthy and balanced routine, these children can take good personal care and become healthy and active

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Positive Parenting

Positive parenting11 focuses on developing healthy parent-child interaction. It fosters positive behaviors in children.

It’s a democratic style of parenting in which parents play a dynamic role in developing a healthy and stronger relationship with their children.

Positive parents are highly responsive and consistent in their behaviors.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Positive parents exhibit optimistic parental behaviors, they are highly supportive, nurturing, caring, and guiding towards their children
  • They’re empathetic, affectionate, non-violent, empowering and highly communicative
  • They practice positive disciplines and natural consequences instead of applying the traditional ways of punishment and rewarding
  • They enforce rules and set reasonable and healthy boundaries that help their children to become self -disciplined and structured
  • Positive parents are open to discussion and encourage their children to express their emotions and explore the solution of a problem on their own
  • They find the reason behind the misbehavior of their children instead of criticizing and scolding them for their bad attitudes
  • Positive parents play their role as guidance or leader who lead their children on the right track of the self-development

Effects on Children

  • These children develop strong self-esteem and powerful self-control
  • Positive children develop, mental and emotional stability in their behaviors as their parents have a close interaction with them which also lead to the mutual understanding of both
  • Children of positive parents foster good problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities as they’re being offered by age-appropriate guidelines by their parents
  • These children are extremely socially skilled, adaptive and have excellent communication skills
  • Positive children acquire ever-lasting positive behaviors, remain happy and contented which strengthen their self-confidence and self-respect
  • Being confident and independent these children show high levels of academic achievements and produce good results

Free-range Parenting

It’s a style of parenting that aims at children’s freedom and independence providing them with little parental supervision. This style of parenting focuses on children’s autonomy and allows them to explore their environment freely on their own.

Free-range parenting was introduced by Lenore Skenanzy13, an American writer who left her 9 years old child alone for finding his way to the home upon his insistence. She provided her with the subway map, money, and cell phone to assist him and made sure that he would be able to reach home safely.

The boy just made it successfully. Later she wrote in her article “Why I Let My 9 years Old Ride the Subway Alone,” that children become more self-reliant if they are given the freedom to explore.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Free-range parents are extremely open-minded and focus on child freedom and proffer limited supervision
  • They guide their children whenever they do something wrong or make mistakes
  • They allow their children to roam around and explore new thing and solve their problems on their own
  • Free-range parents practice natural consequences, however, they incorporate other means if natural consequences don’t come out to be effective
  • They encourage their children to do unstructured activities such as, to pick up a game of their own choice and allow them to play with their peers and neighbors outside home
  • They build their child’s interaction with the natural environment by promoting outdoor games such as running or playing in parks, riding bikes, climbing trees and discourage the use of technology and electronics by their children
  • These parents generally break the laws established by the state for children’s well-being such as at what age a child should be left alone in the car? Or at home overnight or is he able to go to school alone?
  • Free-range parents make sure that their child’s freedom should be earned in learning something new and in accomplishing their tasks by themselves
  • Being unsupervised parents these parents are accused by their community and sometimes get the label of careless parents or neglectful parents!

Effects on Children

  • They’re highly self-reliant, self-confident and creative as they’re given the freedom to explore the world on their own
  • These children are adventurous and curious to discover new things around them and enjoy outdoor activities of their own choice
  • Children raised by free-range parenting style are physically and mentally fit as they build a relationship with a natural healthy environment and stay away from unhealthy digital activities like screen time, playing video games
  • Being independent and confident they’re able to get through the challenging situations and hence they prepare themselves for future life
  • The negative impact of this style of parenting is that free-range children get minimal or no parental supervision during their outdoor activities which may lead to them to the higher risks of accidents and mishaps since the world today is not so simple and safe as it was before so children always need to be attended by their parents
  • Being unsupervised these children may get involved in harmful activities of addiction to drugs or alcohol

Nurturant or Slow Parenting

It’s a type of parenting in which children are allowed to explore their environment with parent’s assistance and protection. Parents guide their children during their exploration.

It’s a progressive style14 of parenting in which, on one side children get the freedom to explore the world and on the other side they’ve to face structured rules and age-appropriate boundaries set by their parents.

This style of parenting is also known as slow parenting which means to be calm and steady in life rather than rushing through time.

This emphasizes on spending quality time with your children to develop a strong parent-child interaction.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Nurturant parents provide warmth, and care and protection to their children when they feel that children need it
  • They’re good listeners and highly responsive to their children and develop a strong interaction with their children
  • They encourage their children to express their feelings and emotions and support their ideas and beliefs
  • Nurturant parents practice positive disciplines by setting reasonable limits and rules and they explain the reasons and discuss with their children the importance of establishing the rules and all this is carried out in an open and healthy environment
  • They establish a healthy routine and family time and engage their children in outdoor activities and limit their digital activities

Effects on Children

  • They’re highly confident, develop high levels of self-esteem and self-control
  • These children are physically, mentally and psychologically strong and are socially skilled as they have been allowed to stay connected with their peers, friends, colleagues, and neighbors
  • They develop a sense of trust and security with their parents as their parents provide them protection and guidance in difficult situations
  • These children are morally strong, empathetic, friendly, affectionate and compassionate by nature
  • They exhibit positive behaviors and show good academic achievements as they get support from their parents
  • These children have the curiosity of exploring and discovering new things on their own, this makes them self- sufficient and enable them to deal with the challenging situations practically
  • The negative impact of slow parenting on children is that when they’re left independent or unguided to explore new things they may indulge themselves in unsuitable or wrong activities which may end up in creating troubles for them

Dolphin Parenting

The name of this parenting style suggests that this style of parenting is learned and adopted from characteristic traits of dolphins. As dolphins are playful, intellectual, and social by nature, they use these intrinsic traits in raising their babies.

The term dolphin parenting was first introduced by Shimi Kang15, the famous author of “The Dolphin Way” which is a guide for parents to raise their children in a way to support their health, happiness, and motivation. The concept of this is based on establishing a balanced lifestyle for your children.

This is just close to the Authoritative style of parenting and is focused on long-term goals.

While Dolphins are one of the creative, intelligent, and communicative mammals, they live and play underwater together in the form of a group, similarly, human beings are intended to live in a community to promote the spirit of community and contentment among their children.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Dolphin parents are highly nurturing, supportive, collaborative and firm yet flexible towards their children
  • They’re extremely resistant to over protecting and shielding parental behaviors and offer their children the freedom and independence to explore their surroundings on their own
  • They’re loving, joyful and playful towards their children and encourage their children to do unstructured activities of their own choice in an open and natural environment
  • Dolphin parents maintain a balance in their children’s life – they enforce clear and transparent rules, establish a healthy routine and avoid over-scheduling of extra-curricular activities
  • They’re highly adaptive and dynamic – they modify and change their rules and disciplines with time and with the developmental needs of their children

Effects on Children

  • They’re extremely confident, happy, physically and emotionally strong individuals
  • These children develop good problem-solving and self-discipline skills as they’re allowed to make errors and mistakes and learn from their mistakes that how to cope with it!
  • They’re socially skilled and develop a good spirit of community as they live in an open and healthy environment in collaboration with their parents, peers, friends, and neighbors
  • These children are curious, creative and explorative as they’re free to express their feelings and ideas
  • They understand their self- worth as their parents provide the support and guidance whenever they need it

Ethnic Minority Parenting

Ethnic minority16 is a group of individuals belonging to a different race, physiognomy, culture, religion, and social and economic beliefs.

They differ in their lifestyle, traditions, language, moral values, and other specific behaviors from the majority of dominant native populations living with them in the same community.

The ethnic minority of America comprises of African Americans, Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Hispanic Americans.

Several studies have shown that Authoritative parenting is the most popular style of parenting of European-American parents while ethnic minority parents including Asian-American and African American parents were found to be accustomed to Authoritarian parenting style.

Being in minority they are given less potent positions in the society as compared to the majority of ethnic populations due to racism. Their moral values, customs, and social and political beliefs are not much supported and practiced by the community in which they’re living.

Due to these racial disparities, these parents are forced to inherit traditional styles of parenting like authoritarian parenting, in which children don’t get enough freedom to express themselves socially and emotionally.

However, these parents do the best in their capacity to raise their children.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Due to racial differences offered by their community, these parents are more vulnerable to socio-economic problems such as income discrimination, poverty, less child-rearing education and single parenthood which leads to developing behavioral problems in these parents
  • Ethnic minority parents are generally distressed and less responsive to their children as they face many challenges such as language and cultural differences, an adaptation of new customs and culture and racism challenges that reduce their prenatal practices
  • Researches have shown that these parents are at high risks of anxiety, depression and posttraumatic problems

Effects on Children

  • These children develop low levels of self-esteem and self-confidence as they face community and racism pressure
  • Children of ethnic minority parents are physically and emotionally underdeveloped as they encounter poverty, economic and social barriers offered by their society
  • These children are least socially skilled as they’ve language, religion and cultural differences with their majority native peers
  • Several factors such as communication barrier, physiognomy, vocabulary, and reading problems and understanding of new culture and curriculum, contribute to their low levels of academic achievements in school
  • Many ethnic minority children have, however, shown improvement in their academic results after getting training and coaching programs arranged by the government
  • Being a minority these children get limited resources for their views and needs which affect their emotional and social development

Alloparenting Parenting

The term Alloparenting17 is a combination of two words i.e. a Greek word “allo” which means “other” and a Latin word” parens” which stands for” parents”.

Simply Alloparenting can be defined as the”parental behaviors of non- parents towards infant and young that does not belong to them.”

This style of parenting involves the child-rearing of non-descendants. It is also known as co-operative breeding. Many times parents handed their offspring and young to non-biological parents due to some social, economic, and environmental pressures.

In general, these constraints include; financial burden, job hunting stresses, difficulties in managing the time of occupation, or lack of essential resources.

Alloparents are referred to as non-parental caregivers or non- biological parents. Most commonly they include; siblings, grandparents, uncle, aunts, teachers, neighbors, and other relatives of the family. They provide care to children who are not their own.

Alloparenting has become a universal practice in human society. Researches have shown that humans with low reproductive rates are most likely to adopt this style of parenting.

Recent studies have shown that about three million children in the United States are babysat and parented by their substitute parents. This comprises 3.9 percent of the total child population of America.

Several studies have shown that alloparents like grandmothers and adult siblings can promote the survival of non-descendent children in society.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • Alloparenting brings benefits to biological parents, such as it reduces the economic pressure and the investment of resources and time that parents do with their children
  • It improves the physical and mental health and fitness of parents (especially in case of breastfeeding mothers) as they’re free from the pressure of child rearing
  • On the other hand, alloparents or non-parental caregivers get benefits by taking care of progeny that does not belong to them
  • Alloparents attain the knowledge and experience of child-rearing and that how to deal with particular children’s behaviors
  • Alloparenting makes these alloparents more caring, nurturing and patient by dealing with challenging attitudes and moods of children
  • In some cases, Alloparents suffer the costs of child-rearing and the expenses of the child developmental needs

Effects on Children

  • These children develop a new mutual or symbiotic relationship with their non-parental care providers
  • They’re cooperative and communicating as they may live with people of different languages and culture
  • Children of alloparents are more adaptable – they know how to cope with tricky situations and limited resources without their parents
  • These children develop the skill of multi-attachment relationships
  • The negative impact of Alloparenting is that children remain unhappy and emotionally distressed in the absence of their biological parents, after all, a child needs his attachment and attention from his “real parents”
  • Disconnection with maternal parents may lead these children to poor psychological and social development which ultimately result in low levels of their academic achievements

Differential Parenting

Do you practice any of the below statements?

  • Why can’t you behave like your brother?
  • Next time I expect the same grades from you as your sister has achieved!
  • Let your brother play first, he’s younger than you!

If any of the above statements match you then you’re among differential parents. Differential parenting18 is the style of parenting in which parents tend to act differently with their children.

In general, differential parenting can be defined as “the difference in parental behaviors towards their children or siblings of the same family.

This parenting style is based on picking the favorites from the siblings of the same family. Researches have shown that many factors contribute to this parental disparity.

Some of the major factors include; age and gender of child, poverty, social and economic imbalances, and mental instability of parents.

Sometimes the reasons for differential parenting are the past adverse happenings, that these parents may have experienced during their childhood and they represent the same to their children.

Characteristics and behavior attributes

  • These parents usually suffer from mental illness, anxiety, and high levels of emotional and psychological stresses
  • Differential parents are biased and less nurturing and caring towards their children
  • They have low decision-making abilities as they’re partial, they see only one side of the picture and make unfair decisions based on favoritism among their children
  • Due to impairment, these parents give adverse feedback to one child and give positive and encouraging feedback to the other child

Effects on Children

Differential parenting not only leaves a negative impact on children but also affects the entire family

  • Children raised by differential parenting develop low self-esteem and self-confidence especially the targeted child who receives the negative comments by his parents
  • They are emotionally and psychologically unstable as they do not get equal and balanced support from their parents
  • Children with negative feedback suffer from mental stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Children with positive feedback are over-confident and overrepresented, this can leave a negative impact on their personality
  • Due to the disproportionality proposed by these parents, the concept of jealousy is being created among siblings of the same family


In conclusion, parenting styles play a significant role in your child’s growth and development. They are directly associated with your child’s outcomes and behaviors.

Children raised by a democratic style of parenting are most likely to have better temperaments and behaviors than those who are reared with assorted child-rearing styles.

Therefore, you should choose the parenting technique that suits best to your child’s temperaments and fulfill all his age-appropriate needs of development.

Whatever parenting method you choose, the most important is that your child needs your full support and love to become a dynamic citizen of society.

Parenting Styles Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective parenting style?

Parenting is not just about setting a long list of rules or modifying disciplines rather, it reflects your image and your cultural values and that how you transfer these values to your children.

By now, numerous studies have shown that some parenting techniques are more effective and exhibit better children’s outcomes than others.
After prolong researches and observations experts have concluded that the Authoritative parenting style
20 is the most effective and democratic style of parenting from all the social, emotional, and psychological aspects of children.

However, the key to success here is to be consistent and flexible while adopting any child-rearing method. Read our review of the Children Learning Reading program.

Why are they important?

Parenting styles play a vital role in determining your child’s behavior and temperaments21. They’re the reflection of your child’s outcomes.

The technique you opt for your children will not only affect your child’s physical and mental development but also associated with the emotional and social development of your child.

Moreover, several pieces of research have proved that there are direct links between parenting styles and children’s behaviors. Whatever method you choose, has a direct impact on the child’s personality. They’re the determinants of your child’s stages of life.

What parenting style is associated with child aggression?

The impact of each parenting style is different in children’s development and behaviors.

The parenting techniques suggested by developmental psychologists are more effective and result in emotionally and psychologically stable children, while dysfunctional styles of parenting result in aggressive and unstable behaviors of children.

Some of these malfunctioned child-rearing styles are authoritarian parenting, indulgent parenting, and helicopter parenting where extreme parental control limits your child’s psychological and emotional development and develops potential abuse and aggression in your children22.

What parenting style is low in demandingness and responsiveness?

According to Baumrind’s two-dimensional framework of parenting styles, neglectful or uninvolved parenting style is low in demandingness and responsiveness23.

Uninvolved parents are seemed to be detached to their child’s developmental needs and don’t set any consistent boundaries for their children. As a result of which children develop behavioral problems which persist in their later life.

Researches have shown that low demandingness and low levels of responsiveness result in poor parent-child interaction due to which children become least socially skilled24.

Which parenting style is preferred by child psychologists?

For many years, child developmental psychologists have been longing to determine the best parenting style for raising children. After strenuous work and researches experts have concluded that the Authoritative parenting style is the best style of parenting until now!

It is considered to be the most successful and productive parenting technique. It’s a child-centered approach and is focused on developing mutual parent-child interaction.

Authoritative parenting method covers all the aspects of your child’s development i.e. his emotional, psychological, academic, social, and behavioral development. That’s why it’s highly recommended by developmental psychologists.

Which parenting style is best characterized as indifferent?

An indifferent parenting style is identified by being low in demandingness and low in responsiveness. Experts have found that the uninvolved style or neglectful parenting technique is referred to as an indifferent style of parenting.

Neglectful parents exhibit indifferent parental behaviors towards their children. They lack attachment and warmth for their children, rarely or sometimes never demand any expectations from their children.

They’re the least interested and often totally neglectful towards their children’s needs and behaviors.

Which parenting style is demanding and controlling?

According to the experts, the Authoritarian parenting style is one that is high in demandingness and low in responsiveness. It’s a parent-centered approach, in which parents practice high control over their children.

By enforcing structured and strict rules they monitor their children’s behaviors frequently.

They set a high level of expectations from their children and never allow them a chance for failure. Children of Authoritarian parents are under the influence of high parental authority and don’t get a chance to express their emotions.

Which parenting style leads to an egocentric child?

The permissive or indulgent parenting style develops an egocentric child. Indulgent parents are least connected to their children and provide minimal guidance in making decisions.

This parenting technique lacks clear rules and consistent boundaries due to which children fail to develop self-control and become egocentric. In addition to this, recent studies have shown that neglectful parenting method may also contribute to the development of self-centered behaviors in children.

How parenting styles affect a child’s development and personality?

Parenting styles have a strong impact on your child’s development and growth. According to child developmental psychologists, the style of parenting you choose leaves an everlasting impact on your child’s personality.

They act as the determining factor of your child’s development and growth. Researches have shown that children raised by Authoritative parenting style and other democratic styles of parentings like attachment and holistic parenting tend to show positive behaviors and develop better self-control and self-esteem.

While on the other hand practicing harsh and traditional styles like Authoritarian, indulgent, neglectful, and helicopter parenting styles may influence your child’s development adversely and result in aggression, anxiety, and depression in your child’s behavior.

Therefore, you should be very careful while choosing your parenting technique as it is the reflection of your child’s personality outcomes.

How parenting styles affect education?

Several pieces of research and surveys have revealed that parenting styles can directly influence your child’s education and his academic achievements25. Parenting methods like Authoritative and positive parenting develop a child’s interest in his school work and academic activities.

By getting constant support and guidance from their parents these children can complete their assignments, homework, and projects on their own. Positive parenting styles encourage your children to express their ideas and hence producing better academic results.

The parenting technique you choose for your child-rearing may increase or decrease his learning process. Therefore, you should adopt the child-raising style which not only promotes the personal aspects of your child’s development but also helps in building your child’s academic career.

How parenting styles influence social development?

Parenting styles have a great impact on the social aspect of your child’s development26. It is clear from the above discussion that children raised by Authoritative and permissive parenting methods develop better communication and social skills as compared to children reared by the Authoritarian style.

Since Authoritative parents give freedom to their children to express their ideas and opinions, that’s why they’re always open to communicate with their parents and other people. While on the other hand Authoritarian parents keep strict control of their children and don’t allow them to express their emotions.

These children are good rule-followers and show good academic achievements but due to the lack of effective parent-child interaction, they’re unable to communicate openly and are least socially skilled.

How parenting style influence a child’s behavior in the classroom?

Different parenting styles have different effects on a child’s behavior and personality. Numerous studies and surveys have shown that children raised by Authoritarian styles are quite disciplined and obedient in class as they’re good at following structured rules27.

However, these children are less communicative with their peers and friends in the classroom environment and show little participation in in-class activities. Conversely, children of Authoritative parents seemed to be highly communicative, happy, and confident.

They actively participate in classroom activities and develop healthy interactions with their peers, friends, and teachers. This ultimately leads to higher academic achievements.

Can parenting styles cause anxiety?

Developmental psychologists have measured all the factors that determine a child’s behaviors and outcomes. Recent researches have shown that parenting technique with excessive parental control leads to develop anxiety, depression, and other psychological problems in children.

These parenting styles mostly include Authoritarian parenting, helicopter parenting, and sometimes differential parenting may also lead to mental instability in children.

Generally, children reared with parenting styles that are high in demands and less in responsiveness, exhibit mentally distressed, anxious, and confused attitudes.

Can parenting styles cause autism?

Autism also known as Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is referred to as a combination of several abnormal behaviors such as poor social skills, difficulty in non-verbal communication, unusual facial expressions, lack of eye contact, and insufficient self-control.

It is a state of mental instability that mostly occurs in the early stages of a child’s development.

Research has shown that inappropriate parenting methods are one of the major causes of autism. Parenting styles with high parental authority such as helicopter parenting and Authoritarian parenting technique leads to this social impairment28.

The detached, cold, and unresponsive behavior of Authoritarian parents develop anti-social behaviors in their children and if they don’t get a chance to share their feelings and emotions with their parents and peers then they face problems in social interaction and become more vulnerable to autism.


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