Three types of parenting
Some developmental psychologists and researchers have classified parenting style into three types. These are permissive parenting, authoritarian parenting and authoritative parenting.
Permissive parenting is a style of parenting that is accepting of the child. A parent with a permissive style doesn’t try to control the child. They generally avoid punishing the child and they place little demands on the child.
The opposite of permissive parenting is authoritarian parenting. A parent with an authoritarian style of parenting will try and control the child and influence them in order to be respected. They use this style to also ensure obedience.
The middle approach is authoritative parenting. This type of parenting allows the child to use their own drive and self-will. The parent balances this freedom with expectations regarding conformity to rules and behavioral norms.
Characteristics of an authoritative style of parenting
Although there is no clear recipe for positive parenting, certain parenting characteristics are often used when positive parenting is described. These characteristics are usually found in an authoritative style of parenting. This includes key components related to support and connection, regulation and respect:
• Parental support and connection is a key component. This is achieved through, for example, a parental style that is positive, warm and supportive, and also mostly predictable.
• The third component is respect for the child’s individuality. This can be achieved through, for example, respecting the unique characteristics of the child and providing them with adequate space to grow, explore and develop. This can also be demonstrated through avoiding manipulating the child or intruding on them in an invasive way.
Often when authoritative parenting is demonstrated the parent will praise and reward their child, they will engage their child and be responsive toward them. Parent(s) will also help guide and facilitate childhood experiences, they will enable and demonstrate empathy and understanding, and they will display affection and warmth toward their children.
Why does this matter?
Parenting style influences the beliefs that our children develop. It shapes how they develop and also how well they develop. An authoritative style of parenting has been shown to help children develop well psychologically, emotionally and socially. It helps with facilitating responsibility and empathy in children, and it may even aid their academic achievement. Therefore, putting positive parenting into action may help.
Dyches TT. Smith TB. Korth BB. Roper SO. Mandleco B. Positive Parenting of Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis. Research in Developmental Disabilities 2012 Nov-Dec;33(6):2213-20.