Being a parent means there is a lot of variation in how we raise our children and our parenting style differs.

However, there is enough similarity that researchers have grouped parents into four common styles.

Your style refers to the combination of tools you use to raise your children.

Diane Baumrind’s work in the 1960s caused a general categorisation of parenting styles.

The four parenting styles of Baumrind have different names and characteristics:

1. Authoritarian or disciplinary

2. Consent or indulgence

3. Uninvolved

4. Authoritative

Each style varies in these areas: discipline style, communication, nurturing, and expectations.

1. Authoritarian parenting

Authoritarian parents are often considered disciplinary. They use a strict disciplinary style with as little negotiation as possible. Punishment is common.

Communication is usually one way: from parent to child. Rules are generally not explained.

Parents with this style are usually less nurturing.

The expectations are high with limited flexibility.

2. Consent parenting

Permissible or indulgent parents usually let their children do what they want, and offer limited guidance. They are more like friends than parents.

There are limited, or no rules and children have the freedom to figure out problems themselves.

The communication stream is open, but these parents let children decide for themselves rather than directing them.

Parents also tend to be warm and nurturing.

The expectations are usually minimal or are not set by these parents.

3. Uninvolved parenting

Children receive a lot of freedom and usually stay out of their parent’s way. Some parents make a conscious decision to do so, while others are less interested in parenting or not sure what to do.

No specific discipline style is used. An uninvolved parent usually makes a child do what he wants, probably for lack of information or care.

There is not much communication or nurturing.

4. Authoritative parenting

Authoritative parents are reasonable and set high, clear expectations. Children with parents who show this style tend to be self-disciplined and think for themselves. This style is considered the most beneficial for children.

Disciplinary rules are clear, and the reasons for this are explained.

Communication occurs frequently and fits the child’s understanding.

The expectations are high but clearly stated. Children may have input into goals.

So, what’s your parental style?

Few of us fit in perfectly with one parenting style, but rather raise children in various styles.

Consider the four styles as a continuum instead of four different ways of being parents. Ideally, we think about what our children need from us at specific times.

Although it is easier for the family if both parents practice the same style, some research shows that if at least one is authoritative, it is better than having two parents with the same, less effective style.

Let us know what your parenting style is.

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