Parenting Styles Jeff Moon CNSL 504 5/30/2011 Nicole Paul

PARENTING STYLES Parenting Styles Parenting styles vary widely between families and potentially within a given family over time, and impact the health of parent-child relationships and child emotional well-being. Diana Baumrind (1966) summarized four types of parenting styles and their general effects within families: authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved and authoritative. The authoritarian parent is controlling (Baumrind, 1966). Control varies by degree per family and culture (Crowley et al, 2009), and there is not necessarily an exact measure to determine whether or not a parent is too controlling, but too much control has its drawbacks. When a parent’s control shifts from self-control to child-control, child autonomy can decrease, which is unhealthy. They might do well academically, but face frustration from experiences of discouragement against expressing their feelings and opinions. In the permissive parental setting, contrary to the authoritarian family, constraints are lacking rather than extremely tight. Without proper limits on behavior and clear expectations along with their predictable consequences, children’s acquiring appropriate self-control and balanced parenting skills later in life is not modeled. Feedback might be lacking or missing, leaving the young person to find his or her own resources and ways to discover how to mature.


Uninvolved parents’ behaviors resemble those of the permissive style in some respects, but the results are potentially more damaging. In addition to lacking positive feedback, this style might include negative feedback through disinterest or rejection (Feldman, 2008). Little healthy modeling occurs, while unhealthy examples push developing children away and do not foster appropriate social skills. The fourth parenting style, the authoritative style, is the most desirable of the four (Feldman, 2008), generally the most likable and successful. These parents are strict, but not controlling. They offer emotional support, but also encourage independence. Rather than

PARENTING STYLES imposing punishment, they are interested in teaching their children principles which they can generalize into other new life situations as they arise. These parenting styles can apply to other areas of life, such as employment settings, teacher-student relationships, and many other social settings. But probably the most impacting situations are those within the home, especially during the developmental years. Styles can change, and parents might shift between them. For example, parents who use authoritarian techniques might learn that these methods are not the most effective, and adjust accordingly. Or even at one point time, parents or older siblings within a family might use differing approaches. Doing so can cause confusion and conflict between each other and the child(ren), and might also lead to unhealthy alliances.


Most parents likely sway between multiple parenting approaches, even at one point in time. Since life involves a complex array of situations, our approaches require a large repertoire of responses. As we experiment with different reactions, and assess the results, we try what we think has worked in similar situations in an effort to gain the most desirable results. But we also conduct these assessments through our own faulty thinking and unhealthy experiences, and limited understanding. In different situations we pull from the various means at our disposal, so there is room for much experimentation and variation. The named parenting styles are not exhaustive, and they do not describe all the nuances of parenting. They are not meant to, so this is not a fault. But this distinction is important to note, because to place excess weight on any system is to omit necessary thoroughness that belongs in human relationships. No framework is complete, and should be treated accordingly. The four parenting styles are very effective, but must be taken as generalizations. When used appropriately, they show very helpful trends and can assist people in various relationships to become better in their roles. The most relevant application is most likely within parenting.

PARENTING STYLES References Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior, Child Development, 37(4), 887-907. Crowley, S., Donovick, M., Rodriguez, M., (2009). Parenting styles in a cultural context:


observations of "protective parenting" in first-generation Latinos. Family Process, 48(2), 195-210. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Feldman, R. S. (2008). Development across the life span (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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