What’s Your Parenting Style? (And Which Style is Best)


Psychologists Baumrind, Maccoby, and Martin used observations and interviews to identify parenting styles. The researchers assessed disciplinary strategies, communication styles, displays of nurture and warmth, and expectations of maturity and control. Their research suggested that parents fall into four main categories of parenting styles: authoritarian, uninvolved, permissive, and authoritative.

Authoritarian parents have high expectations of behavior but often ignore the wants and needs of their children. They tend to punish children for mistakes without taking the time to ensure a full understanding of what was done wrong and how it can be avoided in the future. Baumrind referred to this style as “spare the rod, spoil the child parents.”

The positives of the authoritarian approach are obedience and proficiency. The negatives are that these children are more likely to lie and behave appropriately to avoid punishment. Children raised by authoritarian parents report lower levels of happiness and competence.

Uninvolved parents place few demands on their children and display low desires to respond and communicate minimally. Uninvolved parents meet their children’s basic needs but do not take the time to develop secure attachments. They provide very little guidance, structure, rules, and support to help their children feel safe and secure. Children raised by uninvolved parents struggle to self-regulate their emotions and establish healthy social relationships. They frequently develop symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Children raised by uninvolved parents are the least likely to be successful members of society. Sadly, I have seen a tremendous increase in this style since “smart devices” have become common among families.

Permissive parents tend to demand very little from their children. This style of parenting is often called “gentle parenting” because it focuses on collaboration more than expectation. Permissive parents prioritize fun and a nurturing environment.

They have few rules and encourage children to make their own decisions. Children raised by these parents are more likely to be self-sufficient and independent but have weak impulse control and self-regulation skills.

Authoritative parents have clear rules/expectations and take the time to communicate effectively with their children by answering questions. Authoritative parents prioritize teaching over punishing. They provide warmth, support, and feedback. They set standards by clearly defining and upholding appropriate boundaries. The authoritative parenting style helps children develop strong executive functioning skills.

If you want to be the “best” parent you can be, it is vital to understand your personal parenting strengths and weaknesses. The healthiest of these styles is authoritative. Research has repeatedly shown that children raised by authoritative parents are more likely to be productive members of society. I have learned that the easiest way to ensure you are an authoritative parent is by joining with your children to ensure that they do what you have asked them to do. Simply provide your presence, encouragement, and support until the expectation is met.

If you want to examine your parenting style closer, there is an insightful quiz at

Dr. Beth Long received her education in Counseling Psychology from Chapman University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Beth has worked in six unique clinical environments across the country and currently owns Works of Wonder Therapy in Montgomery. Beth utilizes the knowledge from a variety of different disciplines to give her patients the best care possible. To learn more visit


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