Defining Parenting Styles

How we choose to parent our children may be reflective of how we ourselves were parented, or upon our own knowledge, or perhaps our wish to please our children and others around us. No matter the influence, identifying a parenting style that works for your family and is effective in providing the boundaries and safety that your family needs is a decision for you and your co-parent alone.  

A great deal of credit for research on parenting styles goes to Diana Baumrind who came up with the parenting styles back in 1971. The four styles are defined by whether parents were high or low in two traits – demandingness and responsiveness.

Demandingness is the degree to which parents have expectations and standards of children and responsiveness is the warmth parents provide and the acceptance of their child’s needs and wants.

Baumrind outlined three parenting styles. Authoritative, Authoritarian, and Permissive.

  • Authoritative parents are both appropriately demanding and responsive.
  • Authoritarian parents tend to have high expectations but may not be as responsive to their child’s needs.
  • Permissive parents are very responsive to their child’s needs, but may provide too much freedom and not enough expectation or structure.

Parenting styles do affect our children, in fact, research has revealed that parenting styles are related to a child’s academic achievements, well-being and self-esteem, health and risky behavior, and school results and enrollment. Research has also revealed authoritative parenting consistently leads to more positive outcomes for children.

I bet a lot of us have never wondered just which style we go to when parenting our children. Perhaps it is only during times of challenging behavior, that you may need to reflect upon which way to respond, and which style will prove more beneficial to our children in the long run. We really need to find a balance between demandingness and responsiveness, in other words having expectations of our kids while also being responsive to their needs.  

The Science of Parenting podcast hosts had a lively conversation about parenting styles and discussed the difference between compliance vs. cooperation, and how important it is for families to strike a balance that will provide the love and limits all children and families need.

You can subscribe to us on any podcasting app to tune in to our weekly episode, or keep an eye on Facebook or Twitter to make sure you stay caught up. Our next time LIVE on Facebook will be April 30 at 12:15 p.m.

Barb Dunn Swanson

With two earned degrees from Iowa State University, Barb is a Human Sciences Specialist utilizing her experience working alongside communities to develop strong youth and families! With humor and compassion, she enjoys teaching, listening and learning to learn!

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