The three main parenting styles identified by the research of Diana Baumrind circa 1978 are called authoritative, permissive and authoritarian. Some people include a fourth, neglectful, which falls under the category of the permissive parenting style.
An authoritarian parenting style means that a parent typically sets high standards and expectations for their children. These standards are accompanied by a large set of rules and restrictions. Methodical studies show that children that are raised under an authoritarian parenting style often lack confidence and feel inadequate because they are not given the freedom to make their own choices. Furthermore as it is difficult to adhere to many rules, tight restrictions often are accompanied by criticism from parents. An authoritarian parenting style creates responsible and productive adults that are however at risk for nervous breakdown due to their perfectionist nature. The children of authoritarian parents are also more likely to rebel in adolescence.
A permissive parenting style means that parents tend to set few if any rules or limitations for their children. Children are free to do whatever they like and consequently tend to have a hard time getting along with other people. Permissive parents care for their children but do not set rules for a variety of reasons. Neglectful parents are similar in that they do not set limitations however they rarely provide affection or basic needs and in affect are absent from their child’s life. For this reason many people don’t consider neglectful as a parenting style because neglectful parents don’t make an effort to raise their children.
Children that are raised under a permissive parenting style often tend to feel insecure and very dependent because they were not given the direction, routine and model that is required for children to learn confidence. These children also tend to have a weaker sense of responsibility and remain dependent on others. The children of permissive parents are more likely to use drugs or get into legal trouble as teenagers and adults.
An authoritative parenting style means that parents determine and lay down a certain set of rules which are not too numerous but which are understood by children to be important. The authoritative parent discusses these limits with their children in a respectful way and provides them with the reasons for why they need to be upheld. Authoritative children have a good sense of responsibility, independence, respect and confidence.
Derived from years of research, developmental psychologists believe that an authoritative parenting style results in the most well adjusted kids and adults. The authoritarian parenting style comes in second over the permissive parenting style as a preferred way to guide children. Although most parents love their children and raise them in the best way they know how, determining and adjusting one’s parenting style can help to avoid later conflict especially in the adolescent years.