What is the Best Parenting Style? Facts Only!

Krystal DeVille

Happy family walking in park.

Parenting is a challenging task that requires parents to make countless daily decisions, one of the most crucial being the choice of a parenting style. These major parenting styles refer to the different approaches and strategies that parents use to raise their children. Each style has its unique characteristics and consequences, and choosing the right one can have a significant impact on a child’s development.

As we explore these four major different styles together, we aim to provide valuable insights and tips to help you make an informed decision that will contribute to raising happy, healthy, and well-rounded kids.

Key Takeaways:

  • Parenting styles refer to the different approaches and strategies that parents use to raise their children.
  • There are four primary parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved.
  • Choosing the right parenting style can have a significant impact on a child’s development.

Understanding Parenting Styles

Understanding parenting styles is crucial for parents who want to make informed decisions about how to raise their children.

There are four main parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. These styles differ in their level of control, warmth, and responsiveness. We go over these main parenting styles in our article right here, Uncovering the Different Parenting Styles and Their Effects on Children.

  1. Authoritarian Parenting: This is characterized by strict rules and high expectations, with little room for negotiation.
  2. Authoritative Parenting: This style is more democratic. An authoritative parent sets clear rules and boundaries while still allowing for flexibility and open communication.
  3. Permissive Parenting: These parents are more laid-back and have few rules or expectations.
  4. Uninvolved Parenting: These parents are not very involved in their kids’ lives and don’t offer much support or structure.

Which Style is Best?

Research shows that parenting style can have a significant impact on a child’s development, including their behavior, emotions, and social skills.

Experts agree that the authoritative parenting style is generally considered the most effective and positive style. This style involves setting clear rules and boundaries while also being warm and responsive to the child’s needs.

Despite the benefits of the authoritative parenting style, it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. Every child’s preference is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.

Considering the child’s personality, cultural background, and family values can help parents find the right balance and create a positive and supportive environment that fosters healthy development and well-being.

Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting is a style of parenting that is characterized by strict rules, high demands, and low responsiveness. Parents who use this authoritarian style of parenting tend to have very high expectations of their children and often rely on punishment as a means of control.

Characteristics of Authoritarian Parents

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Children who are raised in an authoritarian parent or household are expected to obey their parents without question. They may be punished for even minor infractions and are often made to feel fearful of their parents. Moreover, authoritarian parents tend to be very controlling and may not allow their children to make decisions for themselves.

Impact on Children

The impact of authoritarian parenting on children can be profound, affecting their emotional well-being, social development, and relationship with their parents. They may use fear as a means of parental control too, which can lead to feelings of resentment and rebellion in their children. This can also lead to a lack of self-esteem and a fear of making mistakes.

Children raised in an authoritarian household may struggle with:

  • Decision-making
  • Have difficulty expressing themselves
  • May have trouble developing healthy relationships with others

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting is a parenting style that combines both support and limits to guide children toward independence and self-regulation.

According to PsychCentral, authoritative parents are nurturing, responsive and supportive parents while setting clear expectations and limits.

Characteristics of Authoritative Parents

Authoritative parents are warm and affectionate towards their children while also providing structure and discipline. They listen to their children’s needs and opinions and provide guidance and support while still maintaining a sense of authority. This parenting style is often associated with positive outcomes for children in areas such as:

  • Academic achievement
  • Social-emotional development
  • Behavioral regulation

Furthermore, authoritative parents also set clear expectations and limits for their children. They provide consistent consequences for misbehavior and use discipline as a teaching tool rather than punishment. This approach helps children understand the consequences of their own mistakes and actions and learn how to make better choices in the future.

Impact on Children

Parents who use this parenting style often praise their children for their efforts and accomplishments rather than just their innate abilities. This type of praise helps children develop a growth mindset and encourages them to continue to work hard and persevere.

Permissive Parenting

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Permissive parenting is a parenting style characterized by low demands and high responsiveness. Parents who adopt this style are typically indulgent and lenient, setting few rules or boundaries for their children.

Characteristics of Permissive Parents

While authoritarian parents set strict rules and expect their children to follow them without question, permissive parents tend to let their children make their own decisions and choices. These parents tend to be very loving and nurturing, but they do not expect mature behavior from their children and often seem more like a friend than a parental figure.

Impact on Children

Children raised in a permissive environment may feel more free to express themselves and may have a stronger sense of independence. However, the negative effect takes place on:

  • Lack of discipline
  • Struggle with self-control
  • Suffer from responsibility later in life

Good To Know: It is important to note that permissive parenting is not the same as neglectful parenting. Permissive parenting is characterized by high responsiveness, while neglectful parenting is often marked by a lack of attention to a child’s needs.

Uninvolved Parenting

Uninvolved parenting, also known as neglectful parenting, is a parenting style in which parents do not respond to their child’s basic and emotional needs.

Characteristics of Uninvolved Parents

Uninvolved parents may be indifferent, dismissive, or even completely neglectful. They make few to no demands of their children and provide little guidance or support. Neglectful parents may also fail to provide their children with basic needs, such as:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing

Impact on Children

Children with uninvolved parents might experience emotional neglect, resulting in insecurity, low self-esteem, and subpar academic achievement. Such neglect can cause enduring developmental issues.

Furthermore, these children often grapple with establishing wholesome and nurturing relationships, asserting boundaries, and regulating their emotions, potentially leading to mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

The table below summarizes the distinct characteristics and potential effects on children of four different parenting styles.

Parenting StyleParenting Traits Effects of Different Parenting Styles
AuthoritarianStrict, demanding, high expectations, rules without question.Low self-esteem, poor social skills, lack of creativity, mental health issues, high stress and anxiety.
AuthoritativeWarm, responsive, clear boundaries.High self-esteem, good social skills, confidence, creativity, resilience.
PermissiveLenient, indulgent allows children to make decisions without clear boundaries.Low self-esteem, poor social skills, lack of self-reliance, health problems, lack of resilience.
UninvolvedLenient, indulgent allows children to make decisions without clear boundaries.Low self-esteem, poor social skills, mental health issues, lack of resilience, poor academic performance.

Parenting Strategies and Approaches

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Parenting is a challenging and rewarding experience that requires caregivers to make sound decisions and set clear expectations for their children. As mentioned earlier, there are several types of parenting styles, approaches, and strategies that can be used to help children develop problem-solving skills and learn to make responsible choices.

Let’s take a look at each one.

Positive Reinforcement

One common approach is positive reinforcement, which involves praising good behavior and rewarding children for their efforts. This approach helps children develop a positive self-image and encourages them to make good choices.

Natural Consequences

Another strategy is natural consequences, which involves allowing children to experience the consequences of their actions.

For example, if a child refuses to wear a coat on a cold day, they will feel cold and learn the importance of dressing appropriately for the weather.

Clear Boundaries

Children need to know what is expected of them and what the consequences will be if they break the rules. By setting clear boundaries, caregivers can help children feel safe and secure while also teaching them to respect others and take responsibility for their actions.

When parents set limits, they make the children understand what is expected of them and provide a sense of security and structure.

This, in turn, can help boost their self-esteem and promote healthy development.

KinVibes Pro-Tip: Consistency in parenting is key. Understand and respond to your child’s unique needs, ensuring they feel heard and valued for a harmonious relationship.

Discipline Strategies

Discipline is also an important aspect of parenting. Effective discipline strategies include using logical consequences, time-outs, and positive reinforcement. These strategies help children learn from their mistakes and develop problem-solving skills.

Encouraging Responsibility and Decision-Making

Finally, parents should encourage their children to take on responsibilities and make sound decisions. By giving children age-appropriate tasks, parents can help them develop a sense of independence and self-confidence. Additionally, parents should model responsible behavior and decision-making to help their children learn by example.

Outcomes of Parenting Styles on Child Development

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents adopt an authoritative parenting style, which is characterized by parental warmth, clear rules, and consistent consequences.

Emotional Development

In terms of emotional development, children raised by authoritative parents tend to be more emotionally secure, display better self-regulation, and develop empathy towards others, as they are provided with emotional stability and a balanced environment of warmth and discipline.

Similarly, permissive parenting can result in difficulties with self-regulation, while uninvolved parenting often hinders the formation of secure emotional attachments. Lastly, while attachment parenting aims to strengthen emotional bonds, there are concerns about potential overdependence on parents.

Social Development

Regarding social development, authoritative parenting helps children develop social competence, healthy relationships, and good communication skills. Conversely, children from authoritarian parents may become socially withdrawn or display aggressive tendencies.

Permissive parenting can lead to a lack of respect for authority, while uninvolved parenting significantly hinders a child’s social skill development. These children often face challenges in forming and maintaining friendships.

Cognitive Development

Lastly, cognitively, authoritative parenting stimulates a child’s love for learning. In this case, an authoritative parenting approach nurtures a child’s passion for learning and enhances their ability to solve problems. In contrast, the rigid structure of an authoritarian parenting style can suppress creativity and independent thought.

Children from permissive households might struggle with focus, affecting academic and cognitive milestones. Uninvolved parenting often results in poor academic performance and stunted cognitive development.

Parenting Styles and Their Consequences

Understanding the varying consequences of different parenting styles is crucial to making informed decisions about how to raise children.

Psychological research has shown that successful CEOs, doctors, and psychotherapists are often raised in authoritative households, where they are taught to think critically, make good choices, and take responsibility for their actions.

Parenting StyleDescriptionConsequences
AuthoritarianStrict and demandingGood rule-following; struggles with decision-making, low self-esteem, social anxiety; may exhibit rebellious behavior, poor academic performance, and engage in substance abuse.
AuthoritativeSupportive and nurturingExhibits better social skills, higher self-esteem, and better academic performance; makes better choices and has a lower risk of engaging in risky behaviors including substance abuse.
PermissiveLenient and indulgentStruggles with impulse control, low self-discipline, and poor academic performance; may engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse and exhibit bad behavior.
UninvolvedNeglectfulStruggles with emotional regulation, low self-esteem, and poor academic performance; may engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse and exhibit bad behavior.

Overall, when parents make mistakes or poor choices, it is essential to seek help through therapy or other forms of support. Overwhelmed parents may benefit from therapy to learn new parenting strategies and techniques. This can help them better understand their child’s needs and provide a more supportive and nurturing environment.

Parenting Styles: Pros and Cons

Each parenting style has its own set of pros and cons that can affect a child’s development. Therefore, it’s important to remember that there is no “best” parenting style. Each family and child are distinct, and parents should adopt a parenting style that suits them and meets their children’s needs.

Here are some of the pros and cons of the four main parenting styles:

Authoritarian Parenting

Pros: Children raised with this parenting style are often well-behaved and obedient. They tend to be achievement-oriented and perform well in school because they are used to following rules and meeting expectations.

Cons: Children may resent their parents and rebel against their strict rules. This parenting style can lead to a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem in children.

Authoritative Parenting

Pros: Kids will tend to be confident and self-assured in this parenting style. They are more likely to become responsible adults who can make their own decisions. In addition, this is a balanced parenting style that emphasizes encouraging independence, communication, and understanding.

Cons: Authoritative parenting style requires a lot of effort and time from parents. Therefore, it can be difficult to balance the need for rules and discipline with the need for understanding and communication.

Permissive Parenting

Pros: Children raised with this parenting style are often creative and independent. Additionally, they tend to have high self-esteem because they are allowed to make their very own choices and decisions. It is also considered to be a relaxed parenting style that emphasizes freedom and independence.

Cons: This parenting style can lead to a lack of discipline and responsibility in children. Children may struggle with boundaries and have difficulty following rules.

Uninvolved Parenting

Pros: There are no pros to this parenting style.

Cons: You can notice that kids and young adults often struggle with emotional and behavioral problems. They may have difficulty forming healthy relationships and may struggle with self-esteem. Thus, it only focuses on detachment and disengagement and does not set rules or expectations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of authoritative parenting?

Examples of authoritative parenting practices include setting clear rules and boundaries, being responsive to a child’s needs, and using positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior.

What are the effects of the permissive parenting style on child development?

Some negative effects may include a lack of self-discipline, poor academic performance, and difficulty with authority figures. Children raised in permissive households may struggle with impulse control and have a harder time adapting to rules and structure in other areas of their life.

How do different parenting styles impact a child’s behavior?

  • Authoritative parenting has positive outcomes, including higher self-esteem, better academic performance, and fewer behavior problems.
  • Authoritarian parenting, on the other hand, can lead to negative outcomes, including lower self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
  • Kids raised in permissive parenting may struggle with self-control and have difficulty adapting to rules and structure.

Can a parent switch from one parenting style to another?

Yes, parents can switch from one parenting style to another. Parents who want to switch to an authoritative parenting style, for example, can start by setting clear rules and boundaries, being responsive to their child’s needs, and using positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior.

What are some recommended books on parenting and child development?

Some recommended books that can provide practical advice and strategies for parents are:

  • “Parenting with Love and Logic” by Charles Fay and Foster Cline
  • “The Whole-Brain Child” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson,
  • “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish


Parenting is a dynamic and complex journey that requires a thoughtful approach to ensure the healthy development and well-being of children. While the authoritative parenting style is generally considered the most beneficial, it is crucial to recognize that each child and family is unique.

With the right guidance and support, parents can unlock their children’s full potential, setting them on a path filled with confidence, resilience, and joy. It is a powerful responsibility that should not be taken lightly, as our choices have the ability to shape the next generation and, ultimately, the future of our society.

About Krystal DeVille

Hello! I’m Krystal DeVille. By day, I wear many hats: a homeschool teacher, wife, and mother. By night, I’m a fervent journalist, pouring my thoughts and experiences onto paper. Parenthood, for me, has been an exhilarating roller-coaster filled with emotions, invaluable lessons, and moments of sheer joy. With three wonderful kids of my own, I’ve journeyed through the highs and lows — from sleepless nights to their very first steps and those unforgettable proud parent moments.

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