The Four Parenting Styles

There are four main parenting styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Neglectful.

Authoritarian: High Control, Low Empathy

Authoritarian parents have a 'my way or the highway' approach to parenting. They are punitive and do not waver. There is one right way and if the child does not fall in line the child is punished. There is little leeway given for emotion or circumstance, and often little allowance for developmental level. Children that are a product of this parenting are often fearful, anxious, and may have poor social skills. They tend to do well in school, but may feel the need to constantly look over their shoulder. On the extreme end, this style may include physical abuse.

Authoritative: High Control, High Empathy

Authoritative parents have high control, they set firm limits and expect good behavior, but they are also empathetic. They are more likely to use problem solving techniques with their children. They take the children's emotions and opinions into account, and work towards a solution that works for the whole. Ultimately, the parents set the rules and enforce them. This is considered the ideal parenting style. Children raised this way are more likely to be out of the box thinkers, good leaders, empathetic, and resilient because they know how to handle their emotions in a healthy manner.

Permissive: Low Control, High Empathy

Permissive parents are the ones with children that run the home. Their children are out of control and have little respect for other people or property. The parents may worry about hurting the child's feelings, and avoid discipline in an effort to keep the child from experiencing negative emotions. The parents could also be unable to maintain control because of physical illness, depression, or addiction. The parents may be overcompensating for a lack in their upbringing. The children from this upbringing may be entitled and used to getting their way. They tend to have high self-esteem.

Uninvolved: Low Control, Low Empathy

Uninvolved parents may be inconsistent with presence, rules, and love. The children would have a high amount of freedom. The parents could often be suffering from addiction, depression, or illness, but they could also be busy and make no time for the children, or some other variation. The children live in a state of chaos, they don't know when their needs will be met. The children could suffer from anxiety. This style could veer into neglect on the extreme end.

No one is going to be any one thing all the time. You may get too sick to get off the couch and practice a more uninvolved or permissive style while you recover. You may get frustrated and react in an authoritarian manner. You are not going to reach the ideal way every time, and that is ok. Life is made up of a series of events. You won't ruin your child by having a hard day, if most of the time you practice an authoritative approach. You won't even ruin your child by realizing your parenting style so far is maybe not the ideal. It's ok to change. Apologize, explain your new plan, and be patient as you put it into effect.

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