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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


Four Styles of Parenting


Parenting styles

Researchers have described four general styles of parenting: authoritarian, permissive, neglectful and authoritative. Most parents, however, do not fall neatly in one category, but fall in the middle, showing characteristics of more than one style. Also, some parents change styles depending on experience, age, maturity level of the child and the given situation. Parenting, however, is not the only factor influencing child outcomes. Cultural values, peer behavior, family circumstances and community characteristics all impact the development of children. These factors also influence the style of parenting that is used.

Authoritarian

  • Values obedience, tradition and order
  • May use physical punishment
  • Usually doesn't allow choices or freedom of expression

Possible outcomes: Children of authoritarian parents may become followers and depend on others for making decisions. They may develop low self esteem, become aggressive or defiant.

Permissive

  • Sets few rules and guidelines
  • Does not provide structure
  • Does not enforce limits when they are established
Possible outcomes: Children of permissive parents may have low self-control and little ability to handle frustration. They may remain immature and have difficulty accepting responsibility.

Neglectful

  • Rejects or ignores the child
  • Does not get involved in the child's life
  • Allows the child to do as she or he pleases
Possible outcomes: Children of neglectful parents may face many challenges, including difficulties with skill development, trust and self-esteem.

Authoritative

  • Sets appropriate rules and guidelines
  • Is firm, consistent and fair
  • Has reasonable expectations
  • Encourages child independence and individuality
  • Uses clear communication and reasoning
  • Allows choices and empowers the child
Possible outcomes: Children of authoritative parents are likely to be responsible, independent, have high self-esteem and able to control their aggressive impulses. This style of parenting provides a balance between setting appropriate limits and granting independence to the child. It is this style of parenting that provides warmth and supportive guidance.

What is your parenting style? Click here to find out.

Used with the kind permission of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia. Copyright 2000 University of Missouri. Published by University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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