The parenting style of parents greatly influences who a child turns out to be in adulthood. Parenting is a bitter-sweet journey filled with love, challenges, and even fear. The success of parenting is often tied to parenting styles, a lot of intentional parents are open to learning and want to know the best parenting style and why.
As it’s natural to want to provide for your child in the best possible way and desire that they turn out to be the best they can be. There are five main parenting styles – Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive, Neglectful, and Uninvolved.
In this article, we will closely look at each style, the merits and demerits of each approach, and the best parenting style to employ to help your little ones create bright futures for themselves.
What are the 5 Parenting Styles?
Let’s look at the 5 parenting styles studied by psychologists and child development experts together and draw conclusions about which is best.
1. Authoritative Parenting:
The authoritative parenting style is considered the best parenting style. It maintains a fine balance of high expectations and high responsiveness. Authoritative parents create clear rules and boundaries, but they also provide emotional support and make room for open communication.
This style encourages independence while maintaining a nurturing environment. Children raised under authoritative parenting tend to be self-reliant, socially intelligent, and academically successful.
2. Authoritarian Parenting:
The authoritarian parenting style is the opposite of the authoritative parenting style. Here, rules are strict, and most often negotiations are not welcomed. There’s an uneven balance of emotional support and expectations. These parents prioritize discipline and obedience above all.
While this approach may produce well-behaved children, it can also harm creativity and independence. Critics argue that it can make children overly compliant or rebellious.
3. Permissive Parenting:
Permissive parenting is the laid-back kind of parenting. Parents in this category tend to be lenient and indulgent, often trying to avoid upsetting their children. They prioritize their child’s happiness and desires over important aspects of their grooming.
While this may seem like an ideal environment, it could make children have issues with self-control and responsibility. Without proper boundaries, navigating the real world can be challenging.
4. Neglectful/Uninvolved Parenting:
Neglectful or uninvolved parenting involves a lack of emotional involvement and attention. Parents in this category may be physically present but emotionally distant.
Children raised in this environment tend to suffer from feelings of neglect, low self-esteem, and a lack of guidance. The consequences in the long run can be severe, leading to emotional and behavioral issues.
5. Perfectionist Parenting:
Though not as commonly discussed, perfectionist parenting involves setting extremely high standards and expectations for children. These parents often push their children beyond their strengths to achieve excellence.
While this approach can result in high-achieving children, it can also lead to burnout, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. Having discussed these parenting styles, we can now look at which is the best parenting style and why.
What is the Best Parenting Style?
Contrary to common belief, there’s no best parenting style. While some parenting approaches are completely unhealthy, there are good sides to some. For instance, perfectionist parenting can be balanced with realistic expectations, support, and love that does not need to be earned.
Also, what works best can vary and depend on several factors like the child’s temperament, cultural background, and family dynamics. While the authoritative parenting style remains a standard that parents should aim for, there are key principles every style should have to ensure proper child development and positive outcomes.
Some of these principles include:
1. Flexibility and Adaptability
A key principle is flexibility and adaptability. For parenting to be effective, parents need to be able to adjust to the unique needs and personalities of your children.
Children are not perfect beings and what motivates and nurtures one child may not work for another. Hence, the best parenting style should be one that is flexible enough to adapt to individual differences.
2. Balancing Warmth and Discipline
Another important aspect of effective parenting is finding the balance between warmth and discipline. A parenting style that leans too heavily in one direction can result in unintended outcomes.
For instance, being overly permissive may lead to children lacking boundaries, while being too authoritarian can negatively affect a child’s sense of autonomy. The best parenting style should make room for both warmth and discipline in a balanced way.
3. Open Communication
Communication is the center of healthy parent-child relationships. The best parenting style should encourage open and honest communication. Children should feel safe discussing their thoughts, even intimate ones, feelings, and concerns with their parents.
Authoritative parenting, for instance, often makes room for this, promoting a sense of trust and mutual respect.
4. Supporting Independence
As children grow, championing their independence becomes necessary. An effective parenting style should encourage children to develop self-reliance and decision-making skills. An authoritative parenting style can help in achieving this as it focuses on guiding children to make choices so they can learn from their experiences.
Read Also: How To Build Resilience In Children
Why is Authoritarian Parenting The Best?
Many experts in child development argue that among the various parenting styles, authoritative parenting stands out as the most effective. So, why is authoritative parenting often considered the best? This is the best as it carefully blends nurturing warmth and firm boundaries.
Authoritative parenting is about striking a balance between being responsive to a child’s emotional needs and setting clear, age-appropriate expectations. This can be seen as:
1. Nurturing Independence:
Authoritative parents encourage their children to think for themselves and make age-appropriate decisions. They provide guidance and support without being controlling. This approach promotes a sense of self-reliance and confidence in children, as they learn to navigate the world with guidance from their parents rather than strict rules.
2. Clear and Consistent Boundaries:
Parents with an authoritative parenting style set clear boundaries and expectations for their children’s behavior. These boundaries are not strictly rules but are explained and justified to the child. By doing so, children understand the reasons behind rules, making them more likely to comply willingly. This clear communication helps in building a sense of fairness and mutual respect between parents and children.
3. Emotional Support:
One of the characteristics of authoritative parenting is emotional support. Authoritative parents are empathetic and responsive to their children’s emotional needs. They provide a safe space for their children to express their feelings and concerns. This emotional support helps children develop strong emotional intelligence, allowing them to handle stress and interpersonal relationships more effectively.
4. High Expectations with Realistic Goals:
Authoritative parents have high expectations for their children’s achievements and behavior but also ensure that these expectations match the child’s developmental stage. This means setting challenging but reachable goals and providing the environment and the necessary support for children to meet those goals. This approach cultivates a growth mindset in children, encouraging them to strive for excellence.
5. Positive Outcomes:
Research consistently suggests that children raised by authoritative parents tend to have better outcomes in various areas of life. They often are successful academically and show higher levels of, emotional well-being, and social competence. They are more likely to make responsible decisions and have healthier relationships.
Authoritative parents are also adaptable. They can adjust their parenting style to meet the changing needs of their child as they grow and develop. This flexibility ensures that the parenting approach remains effective and relevant throughout the child’s life.
Which Parenting Style Has The Best Outcome?
At this point, you might be wondering, “Which one leads to the best outcomes for children?” It’s a question that parents ask. Although the authoritative parenting style is recommended, the outcome of a child’s development is influenced by several factors, and parenting style is just one piece of the entire puzzle.
1. Research Findings
Numerous studies have explored the effects of different parenting styles on children’s development and their results. For instance, research often suggests that children raised by authoritative parents tend to have higher self-esteem, better social skills, and stronger academic performance. The balance of warmth and discipline in authoritative parenting shows better outcomes in children.
On the other hand, some studies have shown that children raised by permissive parents might have a more relaxed and creative outlook on life. These children often enjoy greater independence but are likely to face challenges in setting boundaries for themselves.
As for authoritarian parenting, can produce well-disciplined children, but it might come at the cost of reduced creativity and a tendency to always conform to authority. Neglectful or uninvolved parenting does children a disservice and has the least positive outcomes. Children who turn out well after being raised this way may have individual strengths that help them make up for the gaps in the way they were raised.
2. Individual Variations
Children within the same family tend to respond differently to the same parenting style due to their unique temperaments and needs. Hence, parenting outcomes also depend on individual variations but the authoritative style works for most children.
3. The Role of Consistency and Love
Above all, what seems to matter most in a parenting style is the consistency of care and the presence of love and support. Children thrive when they feel loved, secure, and valued by their parents. Consistency in parenting, where rules and expectations are clear and upheld, helps to shape a child’s sense of stability and understanding of consequences.
The parenting approach for most parents is heavily influenced by their culture, environment, and most times what is obtainable. The authoritative parenting style is deemed the most effective parenting approach as it prioritizes meeting the child where they are and parenting from a child-centered lens. These attributes should be adopted as they produce better outcomes.