As parents, we have the ultimate role in shaping our children into the individuals they will become. It is important to examine our role and understand how our parenting styles affect our children’s development.

Ultimately, we often chose to parent in ways that differ from one another.

However, through extensive research, psychologists and sociologists have determined four main styles of parenting that we often assume.

Let’s explore each of these parenting styles, their history, and their affect on our children.

History of Parenting Styles

A clinical and developmental psychologist known as Diana Baumrind is known for her role in developing a classification system of parenting styles. She then looked at how parenting styles affect childhood development. She created this system based on four elements in her research: responsiveness vs unresponsiveness and demanding vs undemanding.

Responsiveness is defined as the degree to which parents respond to their child’s needs whether that be physical, mental, or emotional.

Demandingness is defined as the rules in which the parent has established for their child’s behavior, their expectations regarding their child’s compliance to these rules, and the level of repercussions that will occur if those rules are broken.

It was Baumrind that created the first three parenting styles based on the findings of her research.

After exploring the above elements, she declared that there was authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting, and permissive parenting.

But wait. Didn’t you say there were four parenting styles?


It was later, in 1983, that Maccoby and Martin took the information provided by Baumrind and created yet another parenting style. In their research, they included the uninvolved parenting style.

The Four Parenting Styles Explained

Authoritarian parenting style

The overarching idea of this parenting style consists of strict rules and discipline.

This parenting style is thought to be an old-school type of parenting. Definitely out of the realm of what many think to be an appropriate parenting style nowadays.

Authoritarian parents are thought of as being cold and harsh. It may appear as though they do not express love for their children or lift them up.

In this parenting style, parents do not often take into account their child’s feelings, the child is expected to obey rules and face any punishment deemed necessary if these rules are broken.

These are the “because I said so” parents. There is no room for children to negotiate with parents that assume this parenting style and are rarely ever given an explanation for rules or punishments.

How do authoritarian parenting styles affect development?

  • Children that are raised using this parenting style often do not receive much love or nurturing.
  • Since these children may not receive an adequate amount of love, nurturing, or praise, they may experience:
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty expressing their feelings
  • Hesitancy in making decisions since they were never given the option to choose for themselves
  • Increased likelihood of acting in an aggressive manner with their future friends or family
  • Inability to enact self-discipline since they never had the chance to learn for themselves

Permissive Parenting Style

On the other spectrum of parenting styles, we have the permissive parents. Permissive parents are highly responsive to their children. They are very loving and nurturing. However, they don’t really set limits with their kids.

In this parenting style, there are few set rules to help guide children.

Even with the rules that these parents do implement, they will often give in because they do not want to hurt their child’s feelings. Therefore, children raised under this parenting style may not be taught the consequences of their actions.

How does this parenting style affect our child’s development?

  • These children may have difficulty listening to rules
  • They may lack problem-solving skills
  • These kids may act out and become defiant when not given what they want
  • They are more likely to engage in anti-social behaviors

Uninvolved Parenting Style

The uninvolved parenting style is just as it sounds. These parents do not take an active role in their child’s life. Completely opposite of passive parents, the uninvolved parent does not respond to their child’s needs and often do not give love and affection.

The children under this parenting style are grow up on their own. You may often see these children being from families of addiction or severe mental illness.

While the uninvolved parent provides some of the most basic needs children have, that is just it. These parents will provide the bare minimum to their children without setting expectations or giving guidance to them.

How does the uninvolved parenting style affect children?

  • They have difficulty forming meaningful relationships due to lack of love and support growing up
  • These children may suffer from mental health issues
  • They may engage in anti-social behaviors

Authoritative Parenting Style

This is the parenting style that is widely preferred by childhood development specialists. It is this parenting style that is said to produce happy and successful children.

The authoritative parenting style consists of the best parts of each of the other parenting styles.

These parents set rules and limits for their children but do not resort to punishing their children if their expectations are not met.

The children that are raised under the authoritative parenting style have room to be seen and heard by their parents. This provides them the opportunity to grow and have a high self-esteem.

When these children question rules, these parents explain the logic behind the demands they have instead of resorting to “because I said so”.

These children are allowed to explore and make mistakes. In fact, this is encourages so that these children can learn from their mistakes.

How does the authoritative parenting style affect children’s development?

  • These children have better social skills
  • They are more respectful of others
  • They follow rules but are capable of making their own decisions
  • These children have better overall mental health

Many of us inadvertently parent using the same parenting style we were raised under. Parenting styles are often passed down due to individuals only knowing and understanding that method of parenting.

It is important to start taking a look at the way that you parent though and ensure that the affect it has on your children is positive rather than negative. Learning how parenting styles affect our children’s development is the first step!

Ultimately, we want our children to be happy and successful.

We, as parents, play the largest role in doing so!

What parenting style do you engage in?

affect of parenting style

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