I will often have one parent come in and say their co-parent complains about their parenting style or vice versa. So, what is the “best” parenting style?
Let’s review the different styles to begin:
- Authoritarian Parenting: Parents of this style tend to have a one-way mode of communication where the parent establishes the rules and the child must obey. There is little to no room for negotiation or explanation. Mistakes by the child lead to punishment. Children that grow up with authoritarian parents will usually be the most well-behaved because they are afraid of the consequences. This style may also result in children who have higher levels of aggression, shyness, social ineptitude and unable to make their own decisions. This style of parenting often leads to rebellion as the child grows older.
- Authoritative Parenting: Parents of this style develop close, nurturing relationships with their children. They have established clear guidelines and explain their reasons for their choices. There is frequent and appropriate communication between the parent and child. This style tends to result in children who are confident, responsible and able to self-regulate. Since these parents encourage independence, these children learn that they are capable of accomplishing their goals leading to higher self-esteem, higher academic achievement and functioning independently.
- Permissive Parenting: Permissive parents tend to be warm, nurturing and usually have minimal expectations. They impose very few rules. Communication is open and parents allow children to figure things out for themselves. Parents are more often “friends” than parents. The limited rules can result in unhealthy eating habits leading to increased risk of obesity and other health problems. Freedom for the child to choose bedtime and homework completion also comes with risks. Children of permissive parents usually have decent self-esteem and social skills but may be impulsive, demanding, selfish and lack self-regulation.
We know that Authoritative parenting often leads to the most mentally healthy children and parent-child relationships. Consistency and stability are also key to leading to the mental wellness of children.