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4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Impact on Child Development




There are multiple variables that impact the type of parenting style that you have, your personality traits, age, gender, religion, your own parents’ style, etc. all play a part.


Even though we have so many differences individually, psychologist Diana Baumrind discovered that the majority of parenting styles can still fit into 4 different categories (the fourth being discovered by psychologists from Stanford later on). Each of these styles have a different impact on how a child develops throughout their lifetime. 


Together we’ll explore what the 4 main parenting styles are and how they impact your child’s growth in different ways: 


  1. Authoritative


This parenting style is seen as the most ideal and beneficial for the development of children. It’s one that allows for freedom, but has strict standards in place that the child is expected to abide by. Authoritative parents are nurturing while still upholding their expectations for their children. Opinions from children are accepted and considered within this style, but the parents will still have the ultimate say after considering the child’s desires. Punishment is fair in relation to the “offense” of the child, and boundaries are set in place to allow for exploration of their own abilities. According to Baumrind, these parents are “tough but fair.” 


This type of parenting style allows the child to foster their own sense of responsibility, figure out how to overcome difficulties independently, gives them a sense of confidence in their own decision making, and helps them gain self-confidence. 



  1. Authoritarian


To be slightly extreme, compared to the other parenting styles, Authoritarian is most reflective of a dictator. Some common phrases in this parenting style are “Because I said so,” or “Because I’m the parent.” Questions are not to be asked, only submission and obedience are expected.

Punishments are typically severe with this type of parenting style, no matter what the disobedience was from the child. Obeying takes precedence over the child’s wants and desires since the parent “knows what’s best.” 


As children, this type of parenting style can lead to less creative ability as the child doesn’t trust their own strengths. As the child grows, they may harbor some of these feelings going into adolescence and adulthood. As teenagers this type of parenting style may lead to more rebellion, they behave when the leader is in the room but will rebel in the hopes of finally feeling some freedom.


In adulthood, they’re typically not leaders, they’re submissive and have a submissive mindset. Since they learned how to be a “good girl” or “good boy” growing up, they may also deal with self-esteem issues as they are continually looking for approval from authority figures.


  1. Permissive

This parenting style is exactly how it sounds. These parents are very responsive to a child’s needs, and provide ample affection. However, they are typically too responsive. 


The child doesn’t have to deal with any hardships because their helicopter parent handles everything for them. They don’t have boundaries when it comes to their children and they especially don’t have boundaries for their children. 


The parents take on the role of a friend rather than that of an authority figure. There are little to no rules or structure in place so the child does what they want when they want to. 


Children of this parenting style can come off as extremely privileged or they may be anxious because they don’t know how to navigate things when they’re away from their parents. They also struggle in social settings as they lack necessary skills like sharing and caring. 


Some other areas that are impacted by this type of parenting are: 


  • Emotional regulation: 

  • The child expects to receive what they want when they want it which can lead to stunted emotional regulation as adults. 

  • Defiance: 

  • They don’t comprehend hearing “no.” If they don’t get what they want, even in adulthood, it can lead to tantrums and excessive defiance. 

  • Passive Lifestyle: 

  • They tend to give up when they’re faced with challenges because they didn’t have to overcome them growing up due to their parents always handling the issues for them. 


  1. Uninvolved/Neglectful 

This is another parenting style that doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. The parents have no rules or structure in place and they also do not provide affection for the child. The child is left to fend for themselves. 


The parent does not interact with the child often, they do not show interest in their lives, and they give no attention to their well-being beyond the necessities (sometimes not even that). 


As one can imagine, this has ample effects on the child’s development. It can lead to depression, isolation, issues with emotional regulation, anger issues with delinquent behaviors, and physical harm due to lack of nutrition. 


In adulthood they will typically struggle with emotional attachment, may be very sexually active, be isolated from society, and may struggle with taking part in society. 


You most likely don’t fit into one of these categories perfectly. However, if you notice aspects from one parenting style that you like, try implementing it more in your day-to-day interactions. Or may be a style that you embody right now that you don’t particularly love, this is when diving in with a counselor may be helpful to see why you embody that style and how you can go about changing it. 


As we all know, no parent gets it right every time, but we can keep in mind that we don’t have to stay “stuck” in our ways either.



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