How Parenting Styles Affect Children

By: Celine Chin

You might have wondered at one point why other people behave differently than you. While this can be due to the different personalities we are each born with, another thing that can contribute to this is parenting styles. There are many different approaches parents can take to raising their kids, and all of them can have a different impact on the child. The approach a parent chooses to take can be due to a variety of factors, such as opting to use a certain parenting style because that was the way their own parent had brought them up. However, the way a child is brought up can have effects that last a lifetime. For example, parenting styles can affect a child’s self-esteem, behavior, independence, and mental health.

There are four main parenting styles that have been identified by researchers Diana Baumrind, Eleanor Maccoby, and John Martin: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved or neglectful parenting. The authoritarian parenting style is characterized by high demands and low responsiveness from the parent towards their child. Authoritarian parents impose rules and expect their children to obey them, not listening when their children try to reason with them and often ignoring logic in their arguments. They may even view these attempts to reason as their children talking back to them. In trying to make their child obedient, they may punish them instead of simply disciplining them and teaching them to make good choices. Parents that use this style of parenting are typically not nurturing and are overall unresponsive, not showing very much warmth to their children and being inconsistent with caretaking. Although the children of authoritarian parents learn to follow rules, they tend to have issues with self-esteem because their opinions aren’t being heard. Children also tend to develop behavioral problems such as behaving aggressively as they get older and have poor social skills. It would be thought that authoritarian parenting would lead to good behavior in the long-term, but it is quite the opposite for many children. Children of authoritarian parents are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as well.

Similar to the authoritarian parenting style, authoritative parents set high expectations for their children, but are much more warm and responsive in comparison. They also enforce rules and standards like authoritarian parents do, but explain the reasoning behind them and are willing to listen and discuss things with their children. They respect their child’s wishes and ideas and encourage them to be independent. Authoritative parents use fair disciplinary methods instead of measures that focus on punishing the child. This parenting style is viewed as the most effective out of the four as the children of authoritative parents appear to be happy and independent, as well as normally having good self-esteem, mental health, and competent social skills.

With permissive parenting, parents set few rules and expectations and rarely enforce them. While permissive parents are warm and responsive to their children, they aren’t very demanding and don’t assert authority. They also don’t give their children a lot of responsibilities. The children of permissive parents are allowed to make the majority of their own decisions and their misbehavior is often not corrected by their parents. As a result, children grow up with a lack of self-control and are at risk for substance abuse. They also tend to act more aggressively and display low achievement in areas such as school. However, the permissive parenting style does come with some pros as well; it allows children to exercise self-assurance, exploration, and creativity because of the freedom that is given.

As for the last parenting style, uninvolved parents are unconcerned with the lives of their children and may be neglectful of their child’s needs. Not many rules are set by the parent and the parent is often not very affectionate or attentive. Uninvolved parents may also have mental health or substance use problems and be unable to take care of their kid’s physical or emotional needs as a result. The consequences of this parenting style are that the child may have poor performance in school, addiction problems, and mental issues. They may also be more impulsive, incapable of regulating their emotions, and have problems with delinquency.

The way a parent decides to raise their child can not only affect the child’s growth and development, but also leave imprints that play a factor in how their future plays out. Parents ultimately play a crucial role as they provide guidance, love, and support to their children and it’s important that kids have healthy relationships with their families so they can grow to be happy and content in life.


Q: What are the four parenting styles?

A: The four parenting styles are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved parenting. Authoritarian parenting involves high expectations for the child, but low responsiveness from the parent. Authoritative parenting involves high standards for the child as well, but the parent also demonstrates high responsiveness. In permissive parenting, low expectations for the child are set while the parent is highly responsive. In uninvolved parenting, there is low demandingness for the child and low responsiveness from the parent.

Q: Which of the four parenting styles is the most helpful for a child and why?