many parents tend to make

  • 4 types of parenting styles
  • Diana Baumrind’s parenting style theory
  • Statistics
  • Definition & Impact
  • Best parenting style
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Other parenting styles
  • Chart & infographic

4 types of Parenting Styles

The four parenting styles used in psychology are authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful parenting style. They are based on the work of developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1960s. Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin at Stanford University expanded the model in the 1980s.

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four prototypic dimensions of parenting styles model chart - 4 types of parenting styles psychology are categorized by demandingness and responsiveness

Diana Baumrind’s Parenting Styles Theory

Baumrind noticed that preschoolers exhibited distinctly different types of behavior. Each type of behavior was highly correlated đồ sộ a specific kind of parenting. Baumrind’s theory suggests a close relationship between the type of parenting style and children’s behavior. Different parenting styles can lead đồ sộ different child development and outcomes.

Based on extensive observation, interviews, and analyses, she initially identified three parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive.​1​

portrait of Diana Baumrind - Diana Baumrind's theory and baumrinds parenting styles in psychology is the most prevalent among the many different parenting theories.

Although Diana Baumrind is known for her work on categorizing parenting styles, Maccoby and Martin (1983) were the ones who expanded this 3-parenting-styles model using a two-dimensional framework.​2​

They added a fourth style and expanded Baumrind’s permissive parenting style into two different styles: permissive (also known as indulgent parenting style) and neglectful (also known as uninvolved parenting style).

These four parenting styles are sometimes called the Diana Baumrind parenting styles or Maccoby and Martin parenting styles.


In the US, roughly 46% of parents use the authoritative parenting style, 26% use the authoritarian parenting style, 18% use the permissive parenting style, and 10% neglectful parenting style.​3​

The distribution is relatively stable within the population, except that European-American parents are about 2% more likely đồ sộ have an authoritative style, while Asian-American parents are 2% more likely đồ sộ be authoritarian.

Parenting Style Definition & Impact on Child Development

Parenting styles are categorized based on two dimensions of parenting behavior – demanding and responsive.

Demandingness refers đồ sộ how parents control their child’s behavior or demand maturity.

Responsiveness refers đồ sộ how much parents are accepting and sensitive đồ sộ their children’s emotional and developmental needs.

parent holding girl's hands - authoritative parenting is the best parenting definition among the 4 styles of parenting

1. Authoritative Parenting Style (Democratic)

High demandingness. High responsiveness.

Authoritative parenting involves high expectations for achievement and maturity, but authoritative parents are also warm and responsive.​4​

These parents mix rules and enforce boundaries by monitoring, having open discussions, providing guidance, and using inductive discipline.

They provide reasoning and explanation for their actions. Explanations give children a sense of awareness and teach them about values, morals, and goals.

The disciplinary methods are described as confrontative​5​ – reasoned, negotiable, outcome-oriented, and concerned with regulating behaviors instead of coercive.

Authoritative parents are assertive but not intrusive or restrictive. Their disciplinary styles are supportive rather than vãn punitive. They respect their children’s autonomy, provide them with a lot of freedom and encourage independence.

Allowing bidirectional communication, this parenting style is also known as the democratic parenting style.​6​

Children of authoritative parents are cherished.

Based on Baumrind’s research on parenting styles, children of authoritative parents tend to:​7​

  • Appear happy and content
  • More independent
  • More active
  • Higher academic performance
  • High self-esteem
  • Competent social skills
  • Better mental health — less depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, delinquency, alcohol, and drug use​8–10​
  • Less violent tendencies
  • Develop secure attachment​11​
  • Good parent-child relationships

This is regarded as the best parenting style among the four types of parenting.

Child buries his face when authoritarian parent points at him - authoritarian parenting style definition

2. Authoritarian Parenting (Disciplinarian)

High demandingness. Low responsiveness.

High levels of parental control and low levels of parental responsiveness are the two characteristics of the authoritarian parenting style.

Although authoritarian and authoritative have similar names, they differ significantly in parenting beliefs, demands, and approaches.

While both styles demand high standards, the authoritarian style is directive, and obedience- and status-oriented. These strict parents demand blind obedience from their children without explanation. They use reasons such as “because I said so sánh.”

The authoritarian parenting style is also known as the disciplinarian parenting style.

Authoritarian parents view themselves as authority figures. They use stern discipline and harsh punishment, such as corporal punishment, đồ sộ obtain behavioral and psychological control. Their disciplinary strategies are dictatorial and coercive​12​, i.e., arbitrary, peremptory, domineering, and concerned with marking status distinctions.

They only allow one-way communication through strict rules and orders. Any attempts đồ sộ reason with them are seen as backtalk.

They are unresponsive đồ sộ their children’s needs and are generally not nurturing. They believe their harsh discipline is justified as it will toughen up their kids or make them more resilient.

Children of authoritarian parents tend đồ sộ have worse outcomes than vãn those with authoritative parents. They are more likely đồ sộ have the following characteristics.​13​

  • Unhappy disposition
  • Less independent
  • Insecure
  • Low self-esteem
  • More rebellious behavior
  • More behavioral or conduct issues​14​
  • Less emotional regulation skills and more temper tantrums
  • Worse academic performance
  • Poorer social competence
  • Prone đồ sộ internalizing behavior and mental issues
  • Substance abuse​15​
  • Less coping skills​16​
  • Prone đồ sộ depression
  • Linked đồ sộ avoidant attachment​17​ and disorganized attachment​18​
Parents show indulgent behavior while boy is acting lượt thích a king - Permissive Parenting

3. Permissive Parenting (Indulgent)

Low demandingness. High responsiveness

Permissive parenting sets very few parental rules and boundaries. If there are rules, these passive parents are reluctant đồ sộ enforce them.

Indulgent parents are warm and indulgent but bởi not lượt thích đồ sộ say no or disappoint their children. These lenient parents are generally carefree but less likely đồ sộ foster the growth of their children’s emotional regulation skills.

Children of permissive parents tend đồ sộ have worse outcomes than vãn those with authoritative or authoritarian parents.​19​

  • Cannot follow clear rules
  • Poorer emotional regulation
  • Lack of self-control
  • Problem behavior such as aggression
  • Lower self-confidence
  • Egocentric tendencies
  • Encounter more problems in relationships and social interactions
  • Associated with ambivalent attachment
Father watches TV and ignores son who speaks into a loud speaker - neglectful parenting style, negligent parenting

4. Neglectful Parenting (Uninvolved or disengaged)

Low demandingness. Low responsiveness.

Neglectful parents bởi not mix firm boundaries or high standards.

They are indifferent đồ sộ their children’s needs and are uninvolved in their lives.

These uninvolved parents may have unresolved issues themselves, such as depression, abuse, or emotional neglect when they were kids.

Children of neglectful parents have the worst child outcomes among the 4 parenting styles​20​.

  • Poor school performance
  • They are more impulsive
  • Cannot self-regulate emotion
  • Encounter more delinquent behavior and addiction problems
  • Have more mental issues — e.g., suicidal behavior in adolescents
  • Prone đồ sộ drug abuse or alcoholism

Best Parenting Style

From decades of studies, parenting research shows that authoritative parenting is consistently linked đồ sộ the best outcomes in kids.

The authoritative parenting style is considered the best parenting style by psychologists and psychiatrists.

This classification of child-rearing styles has been studied for over 25 years in different countries.

Results are generally found đồ sộ be as expected for each parenting style.

However, inconsistencies and exceptions in some areas remain.

Here are some important factors that may also play a part in determining how a child turns out.

Cultural and Ethnics Differences

Some studies found that the authoritative style isn’t always linked đồ sộ the best school achievement across families from diverse ethnic (e.g., Asian, Black, Hispanic) and socioeconomic status (e.g., income level, parental education, number of active parents).

For example, in one study, researchers found that African-American students with authoritative parents but without peer tư vấn did not perform the best academically.

As for Asian-American students, in some studies, they performed the best in school when they had authoritarian parents and peer tư vấn.

In Spain, a study showed that both indulgent and authoritative parenting styles were associated with positive outcomes​21​.

Child Temperament

Children’s own behavior can affect the parent’s choices and the outcomes, too.

For example, kids with a more sensitive temperament may be perceived as difficult, causing the parents đồ sộ change their parenting style toward more authoritarian.

In a study, it was also found that some aspects of child behavior, such as sociable and aggressive behaviors, are better correlated đồ sộ the child’s temperament than vãn đồ sộ the parenting style of their parents.

It seems lượt thích parenting style is not the only determining factor in the child’s outcomes.

Differences in a social context and child temperaments can make a difference, too.

But it is worth noting that, despite being widely publicized, not all of these study results have been successfully reproduced by other researchers.

In addition, these results are also not consistent across other types of outcomes, such as behavior or mental health issues.

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For example, while some studies found the use of authoritarian parenting in the Chinese American population was associated with the best academic outcomes​22​, others found authoritative parenting đồ sộ be the best in predicting school performance.

To this date, no study has conclusively disproved the benefits of authoritative parenting, while many others have consistently shown its advantages.

Parenting Styles vs. Specific Parenting Practices

Another component that can impact the outcome is the distinction between parenting style and parenting practice.

Parenting style is the emotional climate and control in which parents raise their children.

Parenting practices are specific actions that parents employ in their parenting.

Even parents with the same parenting style may choose different ways or different approaches đồ sộ implementing specific types of child-rearing practices that will affect the degree of outcomes.

Limitations And Criticisms Of Parenting Studies

When interpreting parenting research results, it is important đồ sộ note that most of these parenting studies only find links between parenting styles and outcomes.​23​

That is, the results are only correlation and not causation.

For example, parents who are warm and responsive tend đồ sộ have children who exhibit fewer behavior problems. One is tempted đồ sộ say that, therefore, warm and responsive parents result in better-behaving kids.

But you can easily turn that around and say that kids who behave cause their parents đồ sộ be more warm and responsive.

Different children have different temperaments, and they can, in turn, affect parents’ behavior.

This parenting research does not tell us which one is the correct cause-and-effect relationship.

So why bởi most psychologists and experts still recommend an authoritative parenting style?

One reason is that there are overwhelming volumes of studies showing these connections consistently, including longitudinal studies and those involving intervention.

When choosing a parenting style, parents must consider their parenting goals and the type of parent they want đồ sộ be.

Most parents’ ultimate parenting goal is đồ sộ raise a healthy, happy, kind, and responsible person who will love them and their family when they grow up. And they also want đồ sộ enjoy the experience of parenting.

It is hard đồ sộ imagine being cold and strict (authoritarian), cold and indifferent (neglectful), or warm and indulgent (permissive) will achieve all of these goals.

Which parenting style is most encouraged in modern America?

Of the four Baumrind parenting styles, the authoritative parenting style is the one that is most encouraged in modern American society.

Also See: Montessori Parenting

Nature Vs. Nurture

child hold a small plant in his palms - 4 parenting styles types of family rearing

Nature vs. nurture is one of the oldest debates in the history of psychology. Which one matters more?

A recent study by the Queensland Brain Institute and the VU University of Amsterdam has settled the Nature vs. Nurture debate. 14.5 million pairs of twins from almost every twin study ever done in the past 50 years were collected and analyzed​24​.

Researchers have found that a person’s behavior and character traits are influenced roughly the same by genetics (nature) and by environment (nurture).

Parenting is one of the most important parts of the environment a child is exposed đồ sộ since birth. Good parenting’s impact on a child is significant and undeniable.

Also See: What is the worst age đồ sộ lose a parent, Parenting

Other parenting styles

Several new forms of parenting have surfaced in recent years, and those ideas describe today’s parenting styles perfectly. These are a few of the most popular general parenting styles in the United States today.

Attachment parenting

Attachment parenting is a style of parenting aimed at meeting the emotional needs of infants responsively through close physical tương tác and emotional attunement. 

Parents create a positive, warm, and safe environment where their children can develop trust and closeness. They also give their child enough time đồ sộ feel comfortable and familiar with the world.

In 1993, William Sears’ book about attachment parenting popularized this parenting style. The parenting practices he recommends are based on the Attachment Theory developed by psychiatrist John Bowlby.

In Baumrind’s parenting style paradigm, attachment parenting emphasizes responsiveness. Since it focuses on a baby’s early years, there are no references đồ sộ parents’ demands.

Children with responsive parents tend đồ sộ have​25​ 

  • More cognitive competence
  • Better Communication
  • Healthier social-emotional development

Positive Parenting

The positive parenting approach focuses on children’s positive development. The emphasis is on what a child does right rather than vãn what they bởi wrong.

Positive discipline does not involve spanking, yelling, or other forms of negative discipline. Instead, positive parents use positive reinforcement and time outs đồ sộ teach children prosocial behavior.

Gentle Parenting

A gentle parenting style is characterized by kindness, empathy, and respect for children. This style is the opposite of authoritarian parenting, which involves strict rules and punishments. 

Rather than vãn punishing their children, gentle parents discipline them by letting them experience the natural consequences of their actions and helping them find solutions.

This parenting style is also different from permissive parenting, in which parents have few rules or don’t enforce them.

Helicopter parenting

Helicopter parenting is a term used đồ sộ describe the over-protective attitude and constant involvement of parents with their children. 

A helicopter parent hovers over their child, monitors and controls every aspect of their children’s lives, and steps in whenever a problem arises. They tend đồ sộ control the environment and activities that the child participates in, forcing them đồ sộ conform đồ sộ the parent’s expectations while at the same time depriving them of the chance đồ sộ learn things on their own.

This parenting style often interferes with a child’s development and leads đồ sộ negative results.

This parenting style does not fit neatly under any of Baumrind’s categories.

Helicopter parents are typically insensitive đồ sộ their child’s emotional needs. When the child fails đồ sộ live up đồ sộ their high expectations, these parents jump in đồ sộ help. Therefore, this parenting style is close đồ sộ authoritarian.

Children raised by overparenting tend đồ sộ have

  • Lower self-esteem​26​
  • Fear of failure
  • More likely đồ sộ develop disorders such as anxiety, depression, and drug abuse​27​
  • Poor stress coping skills​28​
  • Less independent

Tiger parenting

Tiger parenting is a strict parenting style. It is alleged đồ sộ be a common parenting style among Chinese American families or in the Chinese culture, but research has proven otherwise​29​.

It is characterized by a very strict and harsh mix of rules and regulations.

Tiger parents create a very rigid environment where the children have very little freedom or choices. Emotional abuse such as shaming and insulting is often used đồ sộ force children đồ sộ comply.

A tiger parenting style exemplifies the authoritarian parenting style.

Children of tiger parenting are more likely đồ sộ have:

  • Lower academic performance
  • Less sense of family obligation
  • More depressive symptoms

Free-range parenting

Free-range parenting is the practice of allowing children đồ sộ be more independent than vãn traditional parenting would allow. It is the antithesis of helicopter parenting.

Free-range parents allow children đồ sộ make decisions and develop a strong sense of responsibility for their own lives. In a free-range household, there is less control, less supervision, and more freedom.

Children can explore their environment and develop into independent adults. They make choices and learn from the consequences of their choices.

This parenting style emphasizes the child’s right đồ sộ make decisions and has been described as a natural parenting style that emphasizes self-direction and respect for the child’s needs.

These parents are sometimes accused of neglect in the United States, although the definition of child neglect is sufficiently vague.

According đồ sộ Baumrind’s parenting classification, neglectful parents are cold and unresponsive and have no demands or expectations from their children.

Nonetheless, free-range parents can indeed be warm and responsive đồ sộ their children, but simply believe that children should be given more freedom and autonomy​30​.

Also See: What To Do When Parents Don’t Agree on Parenting

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Chart & Infographic

Download Types of Parentings Styles (pdf)
summary of the 4 parenting styles in this article


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