The Four Parenting Styles


Diana Baumrind is a (now retired) Psychologist who specialized in developmental psychology and did research on the various parenting styles and their effects on a child’s development.

Her research yielded four parenting styles. They are as follows:


In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, “Because I said so.” These parents have high demands but are not responsive to their children. According to Baumrind, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (1991).


Authoritarian parenting styles generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.


Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children an willing to listen to questions. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Baumrind suggests that these parents “monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible and self-regulated as well as cooperative.” (1991)


Authoritative parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable, and successful.


Permissive parents have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. According to Baumrind, permissive parents are “more responsive than they are demanding. They are non-traditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation” (1991). Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking the status of a friend more so than a parent.


Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness an self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and end to perform poorly in school. Ex: Why should I listen to you when my own parents don’t set rules for me?


An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness, and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are generally detached from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children altogether.


Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem, and are less competent than their peers.



Be high in control (set rules, boundaries, limits and expectations) and be high in warmth. When the rules are broken and “punishments” are enforced, be sure to communicate a direct causal link between their behavior and their punishment. Do this warmly, ensuring that the point is to learn from mistakes, that everyone makes them, and that this does not mean they are less than or loved less.


Shout out to all the moms, dads, and general caregivers doing their best raising tomorrow’s future!

Dr. Engels

Baumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. Journal of Early Adolescence, 11(1), 56-95.


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