The 4 Parenting Styles: Advantages, Disadvantages, And Impacts On Child Development

To be an effective parent, you need to understand the various parenting styles and how they each impact the development of children, depending on their individual differences and needs. 

Not everyone knows this, and that’s why some parents keep wondering about the best way to engage in effective parenting.

Some wonder if their current parenting approach aligns seamlessly with their kids’ needs and well-being. 

But more than that, some parents feel like they’re not doing enough as parents and wonder what areas of their responsibilities need improvement.  

These questions are all important because they come from a position of DOUBT—a tool that encourages open-mindedness, motivation for improvement, critical thinking and analysis, resilience, and introspection—all essential for effective parenting. 

And the best part? Effective parenting is not difficult but can be pretty challenging for parents who are not enlightened, especially new parents.

Effective parenting - infantslab

On that note, we are going to explore the four different parenting styles, uncovering everything you need to know about them—their distinct approach, which includes their core characteristics, advantages, disadvantages, and most importantly, how they tend to influence a child’s development in the long run. 

However, the purpose of this guide is not just about their mere classifications and differences; we also aim to promote a deep understanding of these styles to allow you to reflect on your parenting approach and consider potential adjustments to enhance your child’s development. 

By understanding the underlying principles and outcomes associated with the various styles, you’ll gain valuable knowledge to make informed decisions and cultivate a healthy parenting environment that suits the individual needs of your kids. 

Imagine for one second: the satisfaction of knowing that your parenting choices are laying the foundation for a bright future, the joy of seeing your kids grow into confident, self-reliant, and compassionate individuals (especially in our world where such values are scarce) because you took the proper steps.  

Such an experience is a big win for parents that have achieved it, and we want the same for every parent out there, including YOU. 

That said, whether you are a new parent still seeking guidance or an experienced parent looking to upgrade or refine their parenting approach, this guide is all you need for now.

Let’s get started.

The 4 Types Of Parenting Styles

The 4 parenting styles

Picture this: Imagine having a roadmap that can transform your parenting journey, guiding you toward the secrets to creating a loving and supportive environment where kids can thrive. Sounds cool, right? 

Well, get ready to see for yourself as we discuss in detail the four parenting styles widely adopted, consulted, and researched by reputable parenting institutions and practitioners.  

Each style demonstrates a unique set of demands, expectations, nurturing, discipline, and involvement, leading to distinct patterns of interactions and impacts on a child’s emotional, social, and cognitive development. 

So, throughout this section, we’ll explore the various styles, from AUTHORITATIVE PARENTING, which strikes a perfect balance between warmth and structure, to AUTHORITARIAN PARENTING, which promotes discipline and subordination; we’ll uncover their advantages and potential downsides. 

Not leaving out the PERMISSIVE PARENTING, which demonstrates more of a laid-back approach towards the kids, and finally, the UNINVOLVED PARENTING, which, as the name suggests, promotes a hands-off attitude, and of course, can have a series of consequences in the long run.

Authoritative Parenting 

authoritative parenting

Authoritative parenting is the best parenting style. This is because it is characterized by a balanced approach that promotes warmth and structure.  

According to studies, authoritative parents are more likely to raise kids that are: confident, academically successful, have better social skills, and are more capable in problem-solving situations. 

This is true, given the approach that authoritative parents follow. For example, authoritative parents understand the need to teach VALUES and REASONING to their kids by guiding them through open and honest conversations. 

In authoritative parenting, parents set clear rules and expectations for their children while being supportive and responsive toward the children’s needs.  

They set boundaries and guidelines but also encourage the kids to develop some sense of individuality and independence. 

They also know how to communicate with their kids by making them feel heard, putting the child’s feelings and opinions into due consideration, and being responsive to their emotional needs.  

They do all of these while maintaining high standards and expectations. 

The high level of concern and support from authoritative parents plays a significant role in their children’s development—the kids tend to be more happy and successful.  

They also stand a higher chance of making informed decisions and are more likely to be good at evaluating safety risks on their own.  

Furthermore, authoritative parents give their kids the opportunity to make mistakes.

This fosters flexibility and allows the kids to learn from their mistakes while making them understand that their parents are always there to support them. 

Kids raised by authoritative parents are more likely to be good at dealing with conflicts because how we deal with conflicts is, fundamentally, a reflection of how we were raised.  

Authoritative parents help their kids deal with conflicts healthily by supporting them in looking for solutions, unlike permissive parenting, where solutions to conflicts are generally up to the child, which could lead the child to become self-centered. 

In authoritative parenting, parents don’t use the coercive disciplinary method of authoritarian parenting; instead, they follow a confrontative disciplinary approach—reasonable, negotiable, outcome-oriented, and concerned with regulating behavioral conduct. 

Advantages Of Authoritative Parenting

Emotional Well-being: Kids of authoritative parents tend to have better emotional well-being because they are raised with good emotional support, understanding, and warmth. 

Self-Discipline: Authoritative parents help their kids develop self-discipline since they are being taught from childhood the need to follow the rules and the reasons for them. 

Independence And Autonomy: Authoritative parents foster independence and autonomy in their kids by helping them develop their decision-making skills and taking up responsibility for themselves. 

Healthy Self-Esteem: The warmth and supportive nature of authoritative parenting naturally helps the kids develop healthy self-esteem, as they receive positive feedback and recognition for their achievements.  

Open Communication: The communication dynamic of authoritative parents and their children is free, open, and honest. This creates room for learning opportunities and makes it easier for the kids to bring up tough conversations, unlike other kids who might have a hard time handling tough conversations. 

Social Competence: Through open communication and responsive interactions, authoritative parenting invariably promotes the development of strong social skills, as the kids are raised through effective communication, cooperation, and empathy. 

Development Of Problem-Solving Skills: Authoritative parents help their kids develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking by teaching them reasoning and values. This is further promoted because authoritative parents also encourage autonomy and independence. 

Academic Success: Kids raised by authoritative parents tends to be academically successful since they are raised in a properly structured and supportive environment that encourages education and learning. 

Reduced Risk-Taking Behaviors: Authoritative parenting sets a model that discourages risk-taking behaviors like abuse of substances, delinquency, and other negatively-driven behaviors.  

Long-Term Positive Outcomes: According to research, kids raised by authoritative parents eventually become responsible adults with well-adjusted behaviors and higher chances of success across various aspects of life.

Potential Drawbacks Of Authoritative Parenting 

High Expectations: Sometimes authoritative parents tend to set expectations that are too high, even for the kids. This could lead to undue pressure and stress on the kids, especially if they constantly struggle to meet those expectations. 

Time-Consuming: The demands of authoritative parenting require a lot of time and effort since parents have to actively participate in the child’s life, especially in areas of communication, reasoning, and explanations, and they have to do these while holding the kids to high expectations, which can be time-consuming. 

Cultural Variations: Parenting styles are sometimes influenced by a range of cultural factors, and authoritative parenting may not align with the cultural practices of certain settlements or even allow the full amount of the parenting style to be applied. 

Potential Parent-Child Conflicts: The democratic nature of authoritative parenting can sometimes lead to conflicts between the parents and children, as the kids might express differing opinions or refuse to follow instructions. Sometimes they can even challenge authority outrightly. 

Potential To Be Considered Strict: The distance between authoritative and authoritarian parenting is hardly much, so it’s easy for children to misinterpret authoritative parents as strict or controlling, especially when compared to permissive parenting

Potential Inconsistency: Parenting is never easy, especially for authoritative parenting. So parents might struggle to strike the PERFECT BALANCE between warmth and structure. In other words, parents might deviate from the recognized standard, leading to confusion or, in some cases, conflict. 

Potential Parental Burnout: The high demands of authoritative parenting can lead to parental burnout if the parents don’t devise an effective self-care system and a healthy work-life balance. 

Difficulty Adjusting To Other Parenting Styles: Children raised by authoritative parents will mostly have a hard time adjusting to other parenting styles because no other style offers the KIND of support and structure that comes with authoritative parenting.

Authoritarian Parenting

authoritarian parenting

Authoritarian parenting is characterized by a blend of HIGH PARENTAL CONTROL and LOW PARENTAL RESPONSIVENESS. So they are usually referred to as the disciplinarian parents. 

Authoritarian parenting and authoritative parenting might sound similar but trust me, they have significant differences, especially in beliefs, expectations, and modes of approach. 

While authoritative parents demand high standards and expectations, authoritarian parents demand high standards too, but more than that, they also demand blind obedience from the children without explanations. 

The only reason they provide is the famous “because I said so” reason. They are the perfect definition of STRICT PARENTS, which is consistently demonstrated in ways like the “you either do it my way or the highway” approach. 

Authoritarian parents have a one-way communication system where the parents establish strict rules, and the children obey without questions—no negotiations, no explanations.

And if the kids fail to play by the rules, their failure is usually met with harsh punishment or sanctions. 

Parents of this style see themselves as authority figures and use harsh punishments to obtain obedience from the kids. Their disciplinary methods are coercive, and it’s how they control the children’s behaviors. 

They pay little or no attention to the children’s needs—they only provide what they believe is their responsibility to provide as parents—like regular food, clothing, shelter, education, etc.

Anything more than this is seen as overindulgence by them. 

They justify their harsh actions by believing it’ll toughen up their kids and make them more resilient.  

Furthermore, children raised by authoritarian parents will usually be the most well-behaved in the room.

Still, their good conduct comes only from a position of fear—the fear of being punished for misbehaving.  

Additionally, the children are also good at following instructions precisely, sometimes making it easier for them to reach certain goals in life.  

For example, they usually attain academic success because authoritarian parents often place so much importance on education and emphasize academic achievement.

This naturally motivates the kids to perform well academically. 

But in the long run, children of authoritarian parents are more likely to have worse outcomes than children of authoritative parents.  

They usually end up with outcomes like developing higher levels of aggression, rebellious tendencies, behavioral misconduct, poor social skills, substance abuse, lack of emotional control—temper tantrums, depressive tendencies, etc. 

Lastly, kids of authoritarian parents tend to develop low self-esteem, which further reinforces their inability to make informed decisions (since the parents make most of the decisions for them), and they are prone to rebel against authority figures as they grow older.

Advantages Of Authoritarian Parenting 

Discipline And Orderliness: Authoritarian parents prioritize discipline and order, which can help the kids behave themselves by following rules and respecting authority figures. 

Academic Achievement: Authoritarian parents often place so much importance on education and emphasize academic achievement. This naturally motivates the kids to perform well academically. 

Safety And Protection: Safety is one of the perks of authoritarian parenting since the parents can establish a safe and protected environment for the kids by enforcing strict rules that prioritize the well-being of the children. 

Respect For Authority Figures: Kids of authoritarian parents tend to develop a sense of respect for authority figures due to the strict rules they’re being made to follow by their parents. 

Reduced Risk-Taking Behaviors: The strict and disciplinary methods of authoritarian parenting usually prevent kids from indulging in risky behaviors because they fear the consequences of misbehaving. 

Reduced Decision-Making Stress: Decision-making can be complex and challenging, so authoritarian parents do not allow their children to make decisions—the parents take care of that for them. 

Clear Boundaries And Structures: Authoritarian parents set clear rules and expectations that kids must live up to without questions. This gives the children a sense of structure and knowing exactly what’s expected of them.

Disadvantages Of Authoritarian Parenting 

Lack Of Autonomy: Authoritarian parenting is designed to limit the autonomy of children since the parents are always the decision-makers, and the kids are made to obey without questions. 

Low Self-Esteem: Kids raised by authoritarian parents tend to develop low self-esteem due to the rules and harsh punishments they are constantly subjected to. This model has a way of making children feel inadequate. 

Emotional Suppression: Authoritarian parents pay little or no attention to the emotional needs of their kids, and when the kids see that their emotional demands are constantly being neglected, emotional suppression sets in. Such kids grow up with poor emotional intelligence and structure. 

Limited Problem-solving Skills: Authoritarian parenting do not promote independence or autonomy, so the kids can’t develop values like critical thinking and problem-solving skills because they’re expected to always obey the rules without questioning or even seeking alternatives. 

Difficulty Adapting To Autonomy: When kids raised by authoritarian parents grow older, they will most likely find it challenging to become independent to adapt to a situation where they need to make critical decisions for themselves, and this is because their authoritarian parents have always been the ones taking decisions for them all their life. 

Limited Flexibility: Authoritarian parents have limited flexibility in almost every area of life. They find it rather challenging to properly adapt to changing circumstances, which is pretty dangerous in our fast-paced world. This limited flexibility also makes it difficult for them to recognize their kids’ individual differences and needs. 

Negative Impact On Mental Health: Kids sometimes suffer undue pressure due to the high expectations, strict rules, and harsh punishments of authoritarian parenting. So, the pressure to always meet up with what is expected of them can contribute to increased stress, anxiety, and other potential mental health complications that’ll eventually prove detrimental to the kids if corrective steps are not put in place.

Rebellious Behaviors As They Get Older: As kids of authoritarian parents get older, there’s a high chance they’ll begin to grow defiant and express rebellious behaviors. This is because their inner self is trying to assert independence, to declare an identity.

Permissive Parenting

permissive parenting

Permissive parenting can be identified as less demanding and high responsiveness—it is regarded as the indulgent form of parenting, where kids get to do whatever they want because the parents tend to be conflict-avoidant. 

Permissive parents are warm and nurturing, even to a fault. They usually have little or no expectations, which often results in minimal use of discipline—there are significantly fewer consequences for misbehaviors. 

In this style of parenting, parents can be very passive. They set limited rules and find it rather challenging to enforce those rules due to their passive nature.

This can lead the kids to develop a series of unhealthy patterns like poor eating habits, disrespectfulness, etc. 

Permissive parents are often forgiving and tend to overlook the excesses of their children, and sometimes, they excuse bad behaviors with phrases like “kids will be kids.” 

And if they decide to ever punish the child, maybe by grounding, it won’t take long before they give privileges back to the child at the first sign of distress. 

The indulgent nature of this kind of parenting makes it difficult for the parents to stand firm on a decision—they hardly say no to the kids because they don’t like to disappoint them.

In the long run, their leniency prevents the growth of their children’s emotional regulation skills. 

The relationship dynamic between permissive parents and their children is more like friendship rather than a parenting role.

They usually avoid conflict with the kids and often allow them to do what they want with little or no guidance or moderation. 

In the end, children raised by permissive parents tend to have worse outcomes in life, even worse than authoritative or authoritarian parents.  

They might have some self-esteem and, in some cases, good social skills.

However, they can also be impulsive, demanding, condescending, selfish, arrogant, rude, emotionally unstable, and lack self-control.

Advantages Of Permissive Parenting 

Autonomy And Independence: The leniency of permissive parents offers the kids the opportunity and freedom to make their own decisions and develop some sense of autonomy and independence from an early age. 

Warm And Nurturing: Permissive parenting creates a warm and nurturing environment for children, which promotes the parent-child bond by enhancing the emotional connection. 

Open Line Of Communication: The communication line in permissive parenting is always open to the kids—they can express themselves freely without fear of judgment or punishment, plus they can bring up tough conversations without being scolded. 

Flexibility And Adaptability: Permissive parenting encourages flexibility and adaptability due to the freedom they grant their children—they learn to navigate and adjust to various situations and challenges, albeit limited. 

Limited Power Struggle: With very few rules and expectations, permissive parenting invariably reduces the potential for conflicts and power struggles between parents and kids. 

Exploration, Adventure, And Curiosity: Children raised by permissive parents are natural adventurers who are always curious and tend to explore their curiosities. In a positive sense, their adventures and explorations expose them to enhanced learning and development, and sometimes, they tend to get exposed to great experiences that’ll eventually set them apart from their peers. 

High-Level Creativity: Permissive parents encourage their kids’ flexibility and freedom to express themselves, explore their interests, and love their passions. This dynamic help fosters the children’s creativity and self-expression.

Disadvantage Of Permissive Parenting 

Limited Respect For Rules And Authority Figures: Permissive parenting often leads to disrespect towards rules and authority figures because the children aren’t constantly guided or held accountable for their misbehaviors and actions in general. 

Unrealistic Expectations: The excessive indulgence associated with permissive parenting can result in children having unrealistic expectations of the world and people around them. This is because they tend to overestimate themselves, thinking the world revolves around them. 

Substandard Academic Performance: The low expectations, lack of structure, and lack of accountability associated with permissive parenting tends to play a significant role in the academic performance of the children, as they’ll fail to foster good study habits and may take pleasure in using study time for irrelevant activities that fall within their interest. 

Lack Of Structure And Boundaries: Boundaries and structures are not strictly and clearly enforced in permissive parenting, and this often leads to uncertainty and confusion, as children may find it challenging to understand what’s expected of them. 

Indiscipline: Kids raised by permissive parents often struggle with self-discipline and self-control because they spend most of their lives not taking responsibility for their actions. 

Struggles With Making The Right Decisions: The indulgent nature of permissive parenting often meets up with the demands of the children, even to a fault. In the long run, the kids may struggle with making good decisions because they’ve been accustomed to having their desires met without understanding the cost or consequences behind such decisions. 

Potential Entitlement: Kids raised by permissive parents have the potential to grow into entitled children. Since all their needs are usually met at home, they’d expect other people (including outsiders) to treat them the same. 

Potential To Be Ungrateful: Something that comes easily will soon lose its value. This is the reality of permissive parenting, where the kids easily get whatever they want when they request it. If this goes on long enough, the kids will stop being grateful because they feel they can always get their desires fulfilled effortlessly, and this is because they don’t understand the amount of effort it takes to fulfill a demand. 

Development Of Narcissistic Tendencies: Kids raised by permissive parents stands a high chance of developing narcissistic traits like grandiosity, unreasonably high sense of self, entitlement, lack of empathy, etc. If this goes on long enough, they may fall deeply into the toxic narcissistic spectrum, and at that point, they become a menace to people around them, including potential life partners.

Uninvolved Parenting 

uninvolved parenting

Low expectations and low responsiveness are precisely what characterizes uninvolved parenting—it is considered neglectful parenting, where the parents tend to seem indifferent toward the children’s needs. 

Now understand that this neglectful parenting doesn’t always translate to the carelessness of the parents—it’s not always intentional; sometimes, the parents have a series of unresolved personal issues they’re struggling with. 

For example, issues like depression, mental health issues, and abuse can make a parent become uninvolved in the children’s lives. 

Uninvolved parents feel less concerned about the welfare of their kids—they are less bothered about their kids’ whereabouts or who their kids hang out with.

They expect the kids to raise themselves, providing little or no guidance and significantly fewer expectations.  

In some cases, such parents don’t have a clear understanding of child development, and sometimes, they seem to believe the child will do well regardless—without the need for their guidance. 

Statistically, children of neglectful parenting tend to have the worst outcome among the four parenting styles.

And while that may be true, there are still cases with exceptions. 

For example, some children raised by uninvolved parents turned out to be more resilient and developed a sense of self-sufficiency than children of other parenting styles.

However, these skills were only developed out of necessity. 

Furthermore, the children of uninvolved parents can grow up to become several things, whether good or bad—no assurances regarding neglectful parenting.

Additionally, uninvolved parenting is the only style where the outcome is not always certain, based on my experience. 

Finally, kids raised by uninvolved parents might struggle with controlling their emotions, have poor social skills, and may also suffer poor academic performance.

And it’s important to understand that no matter the benefits, uninvolved parenting is generally considered detrimental to a child’s development.

Advantages Of Uninvolved Parenting 

Developed Sense Of Self-sufficiency: Neglectful parenting fosters self-sufficiency in children who are starved of guidance and expectations. So they learn to rely on themselves and learn how to meet their own needs. 

Enhanced Resilience: Children raised by uninvolved parents tends to develop resilience and some coping mechanisms early in life as they learn to face challenges and navigate difficulties without the support of their parents. 

Development Of Problem-solving Skills: Uninvolved parenting encourages the kids to naturally develop creative problem-solving skills since they learn how to find solutions to their problems and handle challenges by themselves early in life. 

Development Of Self-awareness: Neglectful parenting offers the freedom needed for the kids to explore their interests and values. This, in turn, enables them to develop a sense of self-awareness and self-identity. 

Freedom Of Expression: Uninvolved parenting provides an environment where kids can easily express themselves and their emotions without fear of judgment, punishment, or interference. 

Reduced Pressure And Expectations: In neglectful parenting, there’s little or no pressure and expectations, allowing children to grow and develop at their own pace. Also, the less pressure and expectations style of this parenting protects the kids from pressure-related issues like depression, anxiety, etc.

Disadvantages Of Uninvolved Parenting 

Low Self-Esteem: The neglect and abandonment kids suffer from uninvolved parenting can make them develop low self-esteem since they do not receive adequate attention and validation from their parents. 

Lack Of Guidance And Structure: Kids raised by uninvolved parents may lack guidance and structure as they grow up. This often leads to confusion and uncertainty later in life. 

Poor Academic Performance: The lack of expectations, involvement, and support of the parents can negatively impact the academic performance of the children, as they don’t have access to the necessary motivation and guidance they need to excel academically. 

Emotional Neglect: The less involved nature of uninvolved parenting can lead to emotional neglect since the parents are not really invested in the emotional needs of the children. Sometimes, cases like this make the children emotionally stunted, not knowing how to navigate their emotions in a healthy way. 

Impaired Social Development: Kids raised by uninvolved parents may have difficulties developing good social skills, eventually making them struggle to form healthy relationships and navigate social situations. 

Risk Of Developing Behavioral Problems: According to studies, uninvolved parenting is often associated with an increased risk of behavioral problems in children. These problems are socially unacceptable and may put them in harm’s way. 

Lack Of Boundaries And Regard For Authority: Children of uninvolved parents may struggle with understanding boundaries and respecting authority figures because their parents did not correctly guide them around situations involving rules and guidelines. 

Attachment Issues: Uninvolved parenting can cause children to develop attachment issues since they may struggle to form healthy attachments or bond with their parents, usually due to their parent’s emotional unavailability.

Additional Types Of Parenting Styles 

Experts like pediatricians, clinical psychologists, and researchers have uncovered more parenting styles besides the regular ones we just discussed.  

Some of these styles are just a sub-component of one of the four styles discussed earlier, while some are a mixture of two or more styles.  

And while you may think these recent styles won’t make much of a difference, their impact on child development has proven to be distinctive compared to other styles.

So it’s essential to know them and understand their implications and method of application.

This way, you become more attuned to the demands of parenting. But most importantly, the journey gets easier.

Helicopter Parenting 

parenting styles - helicopter parenting
Image Source: iStockphoto/Prostock-Studio

Helicopter parenting is a style of parenting where the parents feel the need to always keep a close eye on the children, watching their every move. 

This type of parent always wants to be involved with everything the child does—their whereabouts, the circle they keep, what they do, how they do it, and when they do it.  

They rarely let the kids out of sight and never let them make their own decisions. 

Such a level of concern is undoubtedly coming from a place of love and wanting to ensure the safety of your kids; after all, we only protect the things we value.  

However, such involvement in the children’s lives can harm their development and independence. 

And according to research, the adverse effects of helicopter parenting have similar patterns to that of lawnmower parents, plus other issues that include depression and higher levels of anxiety.  

Kids raised by helicopter parents tend to have difficulties dealing with the demands of adulthood because they were never given the opportunity to explore life for themselves while growing up.

Attachment Parenting 

parenting styles - attachment parenting
Image Source: iStockphoto/FreshSplash

Attachment parenting is a style of parenting that promotes bonding between parents and children. It also helps to create a secure attachment between parents and their children. 

Attachment parenting aims to create a responsive and nurturing environment that meets the emotional and physical needs of the child. 

On the part of responsiveness, attachment parenting may seem like a mixture of authoritative and permissive parenting to an extent, but what sets it apart is how fast and consistent the parents respond to the child’s needs. And also how attached, they become to the children.

They build this closeness to establish a deep connection with the kids, and they achieve this by providing comfort, support, and consistent care.

This approach also involves practices like co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, carrying the baby for an ample time, etc. 

In attachment parenting, another critical factor that makes it unique is how prioritized the baby’s needs are.

Whether hungry, tired, or uncomfortable, the parents respond to their needs at the sign of any distress, no matter how unserious it might seem. 

This further promotes the development of trust and security in the parent-child relationship, which in the long run, plays a positive role in the social development of the child, as well as their emotional well-being. 

But on the flip side, experts have demonstrated some concerns that some parents tend to overdo in trying to meet every request of their child.

And according to The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, “it can be exhausting and counterproductive for parents.”

Lighthouse Parenting 

parenting styles - lighthouse parenting
Image Source: iStockphoto/FG Trade Latin

This form of parenting strikes a healthy balance of independence with dependence. Not just that, it also comes with a mix of protection with trust.  

Parents that mostly fit into the lighthouse parenting are those who want to be there for their kids, giving them the necessary guidance, but are not interested in directing the kids’ lives themselves. 

Such parents are usually interested in helping the kids find their path in life while helping and supporting them during difficult challenges—they are just present enough to keep the kids going.

Tiger Parenting 

parenting styles - tiger parenting
Image Source: iStockphoto/bluecinema

This form of parenting has similar patterns to that of authoritarian parenting. In Tiger parenting, parents put a lot of intense pressure on the kids to achieve high-level success, especially in academics. 

Now I understand we usually refer to this approach as tough love. But, most times, this also means the kids, especially in tiger parenting, are discouraged from social activities and other activities that may not align with their parent’s expectations. 

However, the good thing about this parenting style is that it pushes the children to their best performance—and they often do well academically, with good results, but usually to the detriment of their development as kids. 

Kids raised by tiger parents statistically have one of the worst outcomes compared to most parenting styles, and this is due to the harsh standards they were made to beat while growing up.

And it’s a no-brainer that harsh parenting often leads to the worst developmental outcomes among children.

Lawnmower Parenting 

parenting styles - lawnmower parenting
Image Source: iStockphoto/Alina Demidenko

As the name suggests, this is a form of parenting where the parents go out of their way to clear the path for their kids, to remove and protect them from any possible adversity, challenges, or failure that the kid may face in life. 

Such parents are usually wealthy, so they don’t allow their kids to go through even the slightest distress—they use the resources (wealth, influence, connections) at their disposal to make life as smooth as possible for their kids.  

In cases like school admissions, they can use their influence to clear the path for their kids, not minding if their kid is qualified or not—they feel it’s their responsibility as parents. 

Finally, while this may be fun and cool for the kids, it doesn’t set the right precedent for children to navigate the labyrinth of life when they finally come of age.  

And when they do and eventually encounter conflicts, they won’t be able to deal with the challenges because their parents were paving the way for them while growing up.

So difficulties will seem so foreign to them.

Free-range Parenting 

parenting styles - free-range parenting
Image Source: iStockphoto/PeopleImages

Free-range parenting follows a hands-off approach and aims to raise self-reliant children. This form of parenting encourages children’s independence. 

However, one key thing about free-range parenting is that they only allow the kids to have more age-appropriate freedom—it’s not a situation of “anything goes”—so they are free to explore their interests.

Still, there are certain limits they can’t cross. 

The goal is for them to develop a well-trained and deserved independence to set them up for a successful life. 

And according to research, children raised by free-range parents are associated with improved mental and physical health.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Type Of Parenting Is Most Effective? 

Authoritative parenting is the most effective style of parenting, and this is because it is the only parenting style that strikes a healthy balance between warmth and structure—two essential factors needed for kids to thrive. 

It is a form of parenting where the parents are caring, loving, and affectionate but also create structures, rules, and boundaries to guide the children’s behaviors. 

Also, the parents understand how to dish out punishments and sanctions whenever rules are broken. This will keep the kids in line and teach them to accept responsibility for their actions.

Which Parenting Style Encourages Children’s Independence? 

Free-range and authoritative parenting both encourage children’s independence, although with slight variations.  

For example, free-range parenting encourages children to be independent by giving them the necessary freedom to explore their interests.

However, their freedom has limits. The purpose of these limits is to regulate the kids’ behavioral conduct. 

In authoritative parenting, children’s independence is also encouraged.

However, the freedom offered by authoritative parents is not as flexible as that of the free-range parents, and it’s due to the high expectations for achievements and structures in place for the kids to follow. 

So, both parenting styles encourage children’s independence, but at different levels.

It’s a matter of preference at this point—you decide the level of freedom and independence you want for your children.

Can A Parent Switch Between Different Parenting Styles Base On The Situation?

Yes, parents can switch between different parenting styles depending on the situation.  

Understand: While people tend to have a dominant parenting style that reflects their overall approach to parenting, it doesn’t stop them from exhibiting other styles in certain circumstances, especially if it’s necessary to promote positive development. 

For example, a typical authoritative parent may follow permissive parenting when the child explores their interests or expresses their creativity.  

In the same way, a typical authoritarian parent may adopt authoritative parenting when making sensitive decisions that directly involve the children. 

While the flexibility to adopt different parenting styles may be beneficial, it’s important to understand that parenting consistency is essential for proper child development. 

So it’s recommended that parents strive for a balanced approach to parenting (including healthy flexibility), putting the individual interests and needs of their kids into due consideration.  

Learning to navigate properly between various parenting styles can help create a supportive environment for your children.


At this point, we’ve exhaustively uncovered all the parenting styles, their advantages, disadvantages, impacts on child development, and everything you need to know about them. 

We also believe that you’ve seen a reflection of yourself in one or more of the styles discussed in this guide.

That said, we encourage you as parents to understand the parenting styles and their impacts and then use that information to adjust your parenting method to support the healthy development of your kids, considering their individual needs. 

Finally, you should know that parenting styles exist on a spectrum, meaning that parents may exhibit varying degrees of each style, albeit having a dominant one.

So it’s okay if you notice yourself exhibiting one or more styles.

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