Which Parenting Style is Best to Raise Successful Children?
Updated: Apr 28
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):
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
"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.
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 approa