Which Parenting Style is Best to Raise Successful Children?

Updated: Apr 29

Confused Dad


When it comes to child-rearing, there are many different parenting styles that we can fall into. Some parents opt for an authoritarian parenting style, while others prefer a more authoritative approach. Still, others may be more permissive, and some happen to be uninvolved altogether.

So how do you know which parenting style you are following and what will the effects be on your kids? This is a question that many parents ask themselves. Each parenting style has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to take the time to study each one before we actualize our fear... of "ruining our children."

Ok, so maybe that was a little dramatic.

But in all seriousness, the way that we choose to parent our children can make a huge difference in current child behavior and the rest of everyone's life that's involved.

Here are the 4 parenting styles as developed by Diana Baumrind (and recognized pretty much everywhere):

  1. Authoritative

  2. Authoritarian

  3. Permissive

  4. Uninvolved

Raising children isn't easy (as you already know). However, if we implement the best parenting style we will be able to improve our relationship with our kids from early childhood through adulthood. Let's dive into each of the parenting styles below to see how they can affect you and your kids.

Table of Contents

Authoritative Parenting Style

Authoritarian Parenting Style

Permissive Parenting Style

Uninvolved Parenting Style

My Personal Experience

Additional Resources

4 Parentings Styles
Source: The Minds Journal

Authoritative Parenting Style

"Authoritative parenting is a style of child-rearing that combines warmth, sensitivity, and the setting of limits. Parents use positive reinforcement and reasoning to guide children." - Foundations Counseling, LLC

Synonyms for Authoritative Parenting:

Gentle parenting or Positive parenting

Authoritative parents should not be confused with permissive parents (as you will see later). An authoritative parent is someone who gives room for their kids to do as they please but will enforce rules to teach kids what actions are appropriate and when actions are appropriate. At times you may see an authoritative parent avoid intervening as they let their kids make mistakes to learn valuable lessons.

Unlike permissive parents, however, they will step in afterward to do an "after-action review" and use those moments as an opportunity to teach kids. This effective parenting style will inspire cooperation as the child and parent use open communication to create structure and learn good behavior.

Authoritative parenting includes:

  • Set Limits: Setting reasonable (non-negotiable) rules for your kids and enforcing them helps them learn about healthy boundaries.

  • Validate Emotions: Emphasize open communication between both parent and child. Be open about your feelings and let your child share theirs. This helps meet your child's emotional needs and you can teach them how to use emotions effectively.

Authoritative parenting is ideal for those who want a warm relationship between themselves and their children. Having clear expectations in place while also allowing room for autonomy and mistakes will give children the opportunity to learn self-discipline.

Authoritative parents expect their kids to follow the set limits, but also allow room to hear their child's opinion and provide explanations as needed to understand why limits were set. By doing so, authoritative parents employ attributes akin to a "coach" that help with proper child development that will shape their child's behavior in a way that sets them up for future success.

Unlike authoritarian parents, authoritative parents tend to use gentle phrases at a lower volume (instead of screaming/yelling) to get their point across. They will get down on their child's level to help their child understand their emotions or actions and how to respond to situations to behave responsibly.

Mother helping her kids
Source: Media from Wix

The authoritative parenting style (aka "positive parenting style") has been shown to produce children that are:

  • More likely to do well in school and have successful futures.

  • Better adjusted socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.

  • Lowered risk of depression and anxiety

Examples of Authoritative Parenting phrases:

  • "I see that you are very frustrated right now, can you help me understand why you feel frustrated?"

  • "It looks like you feel angry right now. Can you tell me why? Can I help you find a good way to express your anger?"

  • "I hear you that you want ice cream right now. Ice cream is one of my favorite desserts too. But, our family rule is that we only have ice cream on Monday and Friday nights. So, no ice cream today."

  • "I saw you hit your sister just now. Can you help me understand why you did that? Can I help you find a better way to see if she will share that toy with you?"

Authoritarian Parenting Style

"Strict parents raise the best liars." - Unknown

Synonyms for Authoritarian Parents:

Drill Sargent parenting, old fashion parenting, parenting style from the 1950s

In an authoritarian style of parenting, parents set very strict rules for their children. They have high expectations when it comes to how their children should behave. If these expectations are not met, the child will likely face consequences that can be anything from verbal punishment to physical discipline. This style of parenting often employs a "my way or the highway" type of mentality which leaves no room for negotiation.

Authoritarian parents also expect blind obedience and will often ignore children's emotional needs or see their outbursts as negative or inappropriate. Doing so will stifle a child's critical thinking and problem-solving ability as this parent-child relationship doesn't allow room for mistakes. If the child doesn't clean their room, play with their toys, or talk the "right way"... The child gets in trouble.

Authoritarian parent actions:

  • You will typically see parents who aren't particularly interested in communicating or connecting with their kids on any kind of emotional level; however, they do expect them to follow ALL orders and rules without questioning them.

  • Often, but not always, physical punishment is used in order to get children to comply with the parent's wishes.

  • Employ a Drill Sargeant approach to raising their kids (including raising their voice in an attempt for full parental control)

Research suggests that these children who grow up with authoritarian parents may have a higher risk of doing poorly in school and in social settings. They are unable to navigate their own emotional climate as they've been asked to push their feelings down. Resulting in a lack of ability to regulate their own emotions risking behavior problems as well.

Source: Unsplash

The authoritarian parenting style has been shown to produce children that:

  • Are obedient but may have low self-esteem and be less likely to take risks later in life.

  • May find it difficult to connect emotionally with others as they grow older.

  • Turn out rebellious, resentful, and defiant.

  • Have a poor relationship with their parents going into middle and late adulthood.

  • Being prone to anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.

Examples of Authoritarian Parenting phrases:

  • "I don't care if you aren't tired. You will get into bed and go to sleep."

  • "Because I said so."

  • "You need to clean your room now. No ifs, ands, or buts."

  • "If you don't eat your vegetables, you can't have dessert."

Permissive Parenting Style

"Permissive parents are lenient. They often only step in when there's a serious problem. They're quite forgiving and they 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 he promises to be good." - Bambini's Place

kids playing unsupervised
Source: Unsplash

Synonyms for a permissive parent:

"do whatever you want to" parent, laissez-faire parent, a child's best friend, indulgent parenting style, free-range parenting

The most difficult parenting style to define, permissive parenting, is characterized as having few behavioral expectations for children. These parents are very loving and nurturing but provide few guidelines and rules.

A permissive parent may also allow children to regulate their own behavior without any guidance; letting kids "get away with anything." This parenting practice avoids precious opportunities of teaching kids self-control, how to help children utilize their character traits effectively, and problem-solve on their own.

This parenting practice includes:

  • Giving your kids absolute freedom while only intervening if there is a major problem (which could vary from parent to parent).

  • Parents who are more interested in being friends with their children than setting boundaries.

  • Lack of punishment when "rules" are broken.

  • These parents often give in to their kid's demands, even if they know that it isn't the best thing for them.

The permissive parent rarely punishes their child for poor behavior (or doesn't punish at all). Instead, they may try reasoning with them as a way of teaching how to behave better next time around. Children who have permissive parents tend not to be self-disciplined because there were no consequences set up beforehand by mom/dad.

In this permissive style of parenting, parents allow their children to do basically whatever they want with little to no consequences.

kid alone
Source: Unsplash

The permissive parenting style has been shown to produce child outcomes such that they:

  • May find it difficult to deal with disappointment or frustration as they get older since everything has always been handed to them on a silver platter.

  • May struggle with taking orders from other authority figures.

  • Perform worse in academic environments.

  • Tend to be more aggressive and impulsive with their actions and they are unable to regulate themselves.

  • May not interact well with other kids as they ignore social norms.

Examples of Permissive Parenting phrases:

  • "I'm too tired. Go do it yourself."

  • "You're such a good kid. You don't need a time-out."

  • "I don't want to fight with you about this."

  • "Sure, you can come out of time-out. Just stop screaming at me."

Uninvolved Parenting Style

"Uninvolved parents make few to no demands of their children and they are often indifferent, dismissive, or even completely neglectful." - Very Well Mind

Synonyms for an uninvolved parent:

hands-off parenting style, disengaged parenting style, negligent parenting style

The uninvolved parenting style is characterized by low levels of parental engagement and supervision. This parenting practice, unlike permissive parenting, shows absolutely no interest in their child's lives. Uninvolved parents completely ignore the social development of their children as well.

This type of parenting includes:

  • Parents who don't really have any expectations for how their kids should behave.

  • Parents that are emotionally distant or neglectful due to mental health issues or other circumstances that prevent them from being able to be present in their child's life.

  • Parents may be unable to provide any kind of emotional support for their kids because they don't know how themselves.