The 4 Parenting  Styles

In the literature, there are several studies revealing that a person’s behaviour is influenced by two aspects of their lives. The genetic element has an impact of 49% on a person’s outcomes and there is the environmental aspect which weights on average of 51% of one’s behaviour.

This means that parenting style and parental behaviours have a massive influence on the outcome in the life of teenagers.

Diana Blumberg Baumrind is a clinical and developmental psychologist who dedicated her life to her research on parenting styles and the way they influence a child’s behaviour. She began her research when she noticed that pre-schoolers exhibited three different types of behaviour and this type of reaction was extended to their adolescent life. She was able to correlate each type of behaviour to a specific kind of parenting. Based on extensive observation, interviews and analyses, Baumrind identified three primary parenting styles: authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting (1967).

Sixteen years later, Maccoby and Martin (1983) explored her parenting style model using a two-dimensional framework and have added an additional parenting style “Uninvolved.”



Authoritarian parents are very strict with their teenagers. They have very high expectations of obedience and conformity to the rules. They make decisions without consulting the child; they do not explain their choice and are not flexible whatsoever. Moreover, this type of parents does not engage in activities with their children and discourages open communication and maintains strict control. In particular, these parents are very cold and hostile when addressing their child, mainly informing about their decisions.

As an authoritarian parent, the message sent across to the teenager is that they are not trusted to do things and make the right decisions, so the parent makes their decisions for them will make them for him.

The typical thing that an authoritarian parent would say is “Because I said so,” Authoritarian parents resort to punishment to ensure obedience, and may be less affectionate than any other type of parent.

Outcomes of authoritarian parenting

Children and teenagers which have been raised by authoritarian parents mostly behave well only when the parent is around. At school will only respond to the strictest teacher and the moment they are left unsupervised, they will either rebel or look for a leader. Studies show that teenage boys have a higher tendency to rebel or become aggressive when parented by this type.

Some of the outcomes for teenagers with authoritarian parents are:

  • Lack of social competences in dealing with other teenagers due to lack of self-confidence but not only.
  • Teenagers rarely take their initiative and are frequently withdraw from social contact
  • They expect to be told what to do and to be guided all times coming across as needy
  • These teenagers lack spontaneity and intellectual curiosity
  • Have a hard time discerning right from wrong on their own
  • Struggle with self-esteem issues, relying on other authority figures to confirm they have worth
  • Teenage boys show more difficulty than girls and are more likely to show anger and defiance towards people in authority
  • Demonstrating a high level of depression



This is the most relaxed of the parenting styles. This type of parents avoid engaging in behavioral control and will do whatever the child wants, so he can stop acting out. There are no limits and no clear rules at home and very few behavior expectations for teenagers. Permissive parents have a high level of responsiveness and a low level of demandingness. These type of parents show a decreased level of monitoring at the stage when children become adolescents and this leads to the adolescents’ rebellious behaviour.

Permissive parents act more like their child’s friend, rather than taking a leadership role in the family. Parents are super-responsive to their kids’ wants and needs but don’t want to make rules or do anything that’ll be unpopular with their children.

Outcomes of permissive parenting

Teenagers from such households are confused about the difference between right and wrong and the lack of binderies and also fell like they are not cared for since they are not getting as much attention anymore. Adolescents from permissive families have a higher rate of substance use, school misconduct, and are less engaged and less positively oriented to school compared to individuals from authoritative or authoritarian families.

  • Permissive parenting is also associated with low self-esteem.
  • Grow up with poor emotion regulation and have no self-control.
  • Become rebellious and defiant when they don’t get what they want.
  • They easily give up when they’re faced with challenging tasks because as children, they have not been encouraged to keep trying after they failed the first time.



The Neglectful Parenting style is also called “Uninvolved.” This has been found to be the most harmful of all parenting styles.

Uninvolved parents often fail to conduct the most basic of parenting tasks, monitor or supervise their child’s behavior and do not support nor encourage their child’s development.

The uninvolved parenting style is described as not responsive; parents don’t spend time or plan any activities with their child and have no behavioural expectations from him. In this parent-child relationship there is a deep lack of closeness; therefore, adolescents of uninvolved parents often engage in more rebellious behaviors.

Outcomes of neglectful parenting

Neglectful parents have no expectations from this relationship; they are passive in the lives of their teenagers and have a most deterrent effect on their children and society:

  • Battle with depression and very low self-esteem.
  • Struggle to form close connections with others due to a lacking parent-child bond
  • Have failed relationships.
  • Adolescent outcomes with an uninvolved mother were connected with significantly worse behavior than families with an uninvolved father.
  • By grade 12, adolescents with uninvolved parents drank alcohol almost twice as much and smoked twice as much as their peers that lived in authoritative households.
  • Express anger and hostility through delinquent behaviour, ranging from vandalism, theft to assault and rape.
  • Isolate themselves from society.



Authoritative parents are warm communicate well with their teenagers. They have very high expectations from their children and get very involved in their lives. They are much more responsive than the authoritarians, showing an interest in the teenager’s opinions. There can stay in control of their children and have a positive influence even when they are not around. Their teenagers are much more responsible and independent but also know the rules and obey them. Authoritative parents respect their children’s opinions and independence while also maintaining their position. Both authoritative and authoritarian parents have high expectations from their teenagers but use their authority in different ways.

Out of all the parenting styles, this is often considered the best way to approach parenting. This style has a great balance between freedom and authority. Parents supervise and monitor their children regularly but are not intrusive while doing it.

This is a firm but nurturing way of parenting teenagers. Parents allow their teens to make their own decisions when appropriate, but they offer guidance and extensive communication with their teen. When teenagers break the rules, punishments usually comes from the natural consequences of their behavior—and parents take the time to explain why behavior needed correction.

Outcomes  of authoritative parenting

Out of all different parenting styles, most studies point to authoritative parenting as the best for raising well-adjusted, confident and successful kids. Authoritative parenting is the healthiest way to have a happy, well-rounded, confident and intellectually motivated teenager.

Teenagers raised by Authoritative parents show the following traits:

  • They are more self-reliant, self-controlled
  • Become self-assured and happy, thanks to their parents’ attentive nurturing
  • Good academic achievement and willingness to explore
  • Learn how to handle responsibility and make good decisions on their own
  • Teenage boys are more socially responsible
  • Figure out how to overcome obstacles, since they’re given the opportunity and encouragement to keep trying
  • Teenage boys trust their judgment
  • Better peer relations

This is the parenting style which we will be exploring further in this book with the purpose of establishing some principles and steps suitable for achieving the desired bevavioral outcomes.

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