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Running head: PARENTING STYLES 1

Parenting Styles

Jeff Moon

CNSL 504


Nicole Paul

Parenting Styles

Parenting styles vary widely between families and potentially within a given family over

time, and impact the health of parent-child relationships and child emotional well-being. Diana

Baumrind (1966) summarized four types of parenting styles and their general effects within

families: authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved and authoritative.

The authoritarian parent is controlling (Baumrind, 1966). Control varies by degree per

family and culture (Crowley et al, 2009), and there is not necessarily an exact measure to

determine whether or not a parent is too controlling, but too much control has its drawbacks.

When a parent’s control shifts from self-control to child-control, child autonomy can decrease,

which is unhealthy. They might do well academically, but face frustration from experiences of

discouragement against expressing their feelings and opinions.

In the permissive parental setting, contrary to the authoritarian family, constraints are

lacking rather than extremely tight. Without proper limits on behavior and clear expectations

along with their predictable consequences, children’s acquiring appropriate self-control and

balanced parenting skills later in life is not modeled. Feedback might be lacking or missing,

leaving the young person to find his or her own resources and ways to discover how to mature.

Uninvolved parents’ behaviors resemble those of the permissive style in some respects, but

the results are potentially more damaging. In addition to lacking positive feedback, this style

might include negative feedback through disinterest or rejection (Feldman, 2008). Little healthy

modeling occurs, while unhealthy examples push developing children away and do not foster

appropriate social skills.

The fourth parenting style, the authoritative style, is the most desirable of the four

(Feldman, 2008), generally the most likable and successful. These parents are strict, but not

controlling. They offer emotional support, but also encourage independence. Rather than

imposing punishment, they are interested in teaching their children principles which they can

generalize into other new life situations as they arise.

These parenting styles can apply to other areas of life, such as employment settings,

teacher-student relationships, and many other social settings. But probably the most impacting

situations are those within the home, especially during the developmental years.

Styles can change, and parents might shift between them. For example, parents who use

authoritarian techniques might learn that these methods are not the most effective, and adjust

accordingly. Or even at one point time, parents or older siblings within a family might use

differing approaches. Doing so can cause confusion and conflict between each other and the

child(ren), and might also lead to unhealthy alliances.

Most parents likely sway between multiple parenting approaches, even at one point in time.

Since life involves a complex array of situations, our approaches require a large repertoire of

responses. As we experiment with different reactions, and assess the results, we try what we

think has worked in similar situations in an effort to gain the most desirable results. But we also

conduct these assessments through our own faulty thinking and unhealthy experiences, and

limited understanding. In different situations we pull from the various means at our disposal, so

there is room for much experimentation and variation.

The named parenting styles are not exhaustive, and they do not describe all the nuances of

parenting. They are not meant to, so this is not a fault. But this distinction is important to note,

because to place excess weight on any system is to omit necessary thoroughness that belongs in

human relationships. No framework is complete, and should be treated accordingly. The four

parenting styles are very effective, but must be taken as generalizations. When used

appropriately, they show very helpful trends and can assist people in various relationships to

become better in their roles. The most relevant application is most likely within parenting.


Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior, Child

Development, 37(4), 887-907.

Crowley, S., Donovick, M., Rodriguez, M., (2009). Parenting styles in a cultural context:

observations of "protective parenting" in first-generation Latinos. Family Process, 48(2),

195-210. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Feldman, R. S. (2008). Development across the life span (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice Hall.