4 Different Parenting Styles and How They Affect Children Later in Life

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Are you worried you have different parenting styles to your friends? Is it possible your different parenting styles could have an effect on your children later on in life?

Many psychological researchers have agreed with four different types of parenting styles.

These are:

  • Authoritarian
  • Authoritative
  • Permissive
  • Uninvolved

Each style takes a different approach to raising children and can be identified by a number of different characteristics. Which of these different parenting styles can you relate to and how could they affect your children later on?

1. Authoritarian

Parents who believe children should be “seen and not heard” generally fall into the authoritarian parenting approach, which generally centers on the parent being the overruling influence. If you think when it comes to rules, you believe it’s your way or the highway and you don’t take your child’s feelings into consideration – chances are you are an authoritarian parent.

Authoritarian parents may use punishments instead of discipline. For example, rather than teach a child how to make better choices, they’re invested in making kids feel sorry for their mistakes.

Children who grow up with strict authoritarian parents tend to follow rules much of the time. But, their obedience comes at a price.

How does authoritarian parenting affect children in later life?

Children of authoritarian parents are at a higher risk of developing self-esteem issues because they are more likely to feel as though their opinions aren’t valued.

They are also more likely to become hostile or aggressive. Rather than think about how to do things better in the future, they often focus on the anger they feel toward their parents. Since authoritarian parents are often strict, their children may grow to become good liars in an effort to avoid punishment.

2. Authoritative

If one of your different parenting styles encompasses relationship building with your child, i.e. you would rather be a “friend” than a parent, then you are likely to be an authoritative parent.

Whilst you put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with your child, you may also explain the reasons behind your rules and enforce them with consequences. It is this which give you authoritative parenting features.

Unlike authoritarian parents, authoritative parents will also take their children’s opinions into account. They validate their children’s feelings, while also making it clear that the adults are ultimately in charge.

Authoritative parents invest time and energy into preventing behavior problems before they start. They also use positive discipline strategies to reinforce good behavior, like praise and reward systems.

What is the effect on children of authoritative parents?

Researchers have found kids who have authoritative parents are most likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their opinions.

Children raised with authoritative discipline tend to be happy and successful. They’re also more likely to be good at making decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own.

3. Permissive Parenting

When considering your different parenting styles, do any of these statements sound like you?

  • Rules are set but rarely enforced.
  • There are usually no consequences.
  • You think your child will learn best with little interference from you.

If those statements sound familiar, you might be a permissive parent. They are often much more lenient on their children and will usually only step in when there’s a serious problem.

Permissive parents are quite forgiving and are more likely to adopt an attitude of “kids will be kids.” When they do use consequences, they may not make those consequences stick. They might give privileges back if a child begs or they may allow a child to get out of time-out early if they promise to be good.

Permissive parents usually take on more of a friend role than a parent role. They often encourage their children to talk with them about their problems, but they usually don’t put much effort into discouraging poor choices or bad behavior.

How does permissive parenting affect children?

Kids who grow up with permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically. They may exhibit more behavioral problems as they don’t appreciate authority and rules. They often have low self-esteem and may report a lot of sadness.

They’re also at a higher risk for health problems, like obesity, because permissive parents struggle to limit junk food intake.

4. Uninvolved Parenting

These different parenting styles are the polar opposite to the authoritarian parent. As the label suggests, “uninvolved” parenting is very hands off. There is no pressure on children to do homework, their whereabouts is quite often unknown and you are unlikely to spend much time with them.

There tend to be few rules. Children may not receive much guidance, nurturing, and parental attention. Uninvolved parents expect children to raise themselves. They don’t devote much time or energy into meeting children’s basic needs.

They can also be neglectful, but this is not always intentional. For example, a parent with mental health issues or substance abuse problems, may not be able to care for a child’s physical or emotional needs on a consistent basis.

At other times, uninvolved parents lack knowledge about child development. And sometimes, they’re simply overwhelmed with other problems, like work, paying bills, and managing a household.

How does uninvolved parenting affect children?

Children with uninvolved parents are likely to struggle with self-esteem issues. They tend to perform poorly in school. They also exhibit frequent behavior problems and rank low in happiness.

Sometimes parents don’t fit into just one category, so don’t despair if there are times or areas where you tend to be permissive and other times when you’re more authoritative.

With dedication and commitment to being the best parent you can be, you can maintain a positive relationship with your child while still establishing your authority in a healthy manner. And over time, your child will reap the benefits of your authoritative style.


By Becky L.


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