Parenting Style Affects Your Relationship With Your Child

It’s the first week of a new year – 2017.  This is the time when we often find ourselves making goals or resolutions….we look for ways to make this year even better than the last.  So how about improving your parenting style?

Your parenting style affects your relationship with your child.

To make good goals or resolutions in your parenting, you first have to know how you have parented in the past.   What did you do well?  What do you need to do better?  And how can you get from where you are at to where you want to be, as a parent?

The best thing a person can do to be a better parent is to focus on personal development.

Lisa Firestone, Ph.D, explains in Psychology Today, “So much of the information out there about how to be a better parent focuses on techniques for modifying your child’s behavior. But it is missing the mark. Research has shown that the one thing a person can do to be a better parent is to focus on developing him or herself. This is where a person has to start in order to be a nurturing, attuned mother or father. When it comes to parenting, there are many reasons for us to look inward and understand ourselves as people if our goal is to become a better parent.”


Looking back on how you have parented thus far can be a bit daunting – just start with your parenting style.

Laurence Steinberg Ph.D., in, states “Many researchers study the ways in which responsiveness and demandingness interact to form a general tone, or climate, in the household. Using this sort of approach, experts have identified four main parenting styles that typically emerge during the preschool years… although no parent is absolutely consistent across situations and over time, parents do seem to follow some general tendencies in their approach to childrearing, and it is possible to describe a parent-child relationship in terms of the prevailing style of parenting employed.”

There are four basic parenting styles:  Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive and Disengaged.

  1.  Authoritarian parents

Authoritarian parents are rigid in their rules; they expect absolute obedience from the child without any questioning. They also expect the child to accept the family beliefs and principles without questions. Authoritarian parents are strict disciplinarians, often relying on physical punishment and the withdrawal of affection to shape their child’s behavior.*

“Authoritarian parenting is a style characterized by high demands and low responsiveness. Parents with an authoritarian style have very high expectations of their children, yet provide very little in the way of feedback and nurturance. Mistakes tend to be punished harshly. When feedback does occur, it is often negative. Yelling and corporal punishment are also commonly seen with the authoritarian style.”  (

Authoritarian parents:

– Have strict rules and expectations

– Are very demanding, but not responsive

– Don’t express much warmth or nurturing

– Utilize punishments with little or no explanation

– Don’t give children choices or options

The children of authoritarian parents:


– Tend to associate obedience and success with love

– May display more aggressive behavior outside the home

– May act fearful or overly shy around others

– Often have lower self-esteem

– Have difficulty in social situations due to a lack of social competence

– Tend to conform easily, yet may also suffer from depression and anxiety

Children raised with this parenting style are often moody, unhappy, fearful, and irritable. They tend to be shy, withdrawn, and lack self-confidence. If affection is withheld, the child commonly is rebellious and antisocial.*
For more on authoritarian parenting, click here.
  1.  Authoritative parents

Authoritative parents show respect for the opinions of each of their children by allowing them to be different. Although there are rules in the household, the parents allow discussion if the children do not understand or agree with the rules. These parents make it clear to the children that although they (the parents) have final authority, some negotiation and compromise may take place.

Authoritative parents are both responsive and demanding; they are firm, but they discipline with love and affection, rather than power, and they are likely to explain rules and expectations to their children instead of simply asserting them.*

“Authoritative parenting is a style characterized by reasonable demands and high responsiveness. While authoritative parents might have high expectations for their children, these parents also give their kids the resources and support they need to succeed. Parents who exhibit this style listen to their kids and provide love and warmth in addition to limits and fair discipline.”  (

Authoritative parents:

– Listen to their children

– Encourage independence

– Place limits, consequences, and expectations on their children’s behavior

– Express warmth and nurturance

– Allow children to express opinions

– Encourage children to discuss options

– Administer fair and consistent discipline


Children of authoritative parents:

– Tend to have happier dispositions

– Have good emotional control and regulation

– Develop good social skills

– Are self-confident about their abilities to learn new skills

This style of parenting often results in children who have high self-esteem and are independent, inquisitive, happy, assertive, and interactive.*

For more on authoritative parenting, click here.

  1.  Permissive parents

Permissive (indulgent) parents have little or no control over the behavior of their children. If any rules exist in the home, they are followed inconsistently. Underlying reasons for rules are given, but the children decide whether they will follow the rule and to what extent. They learn that they can get away with any behavior.

Indulgent parents are responsive but not especially demanding. They have few expectations of their children and impose little or inconsistent discipline. There are empty threats of punishment without setting limits. Role reversal occurs; the children act more like the parents, and the parents behave like the children.*

“Permissive parenting is a type of parenting style characterized by low demands with high responsiveness. Permissive parents tend to be very loving, yet provide few guidelines and rules. These parents do not expect mature behavior from their children and often seem more like a friend than a parental figure.”  (

Permissive parents:

– Have few rules or standards of behavior

– When there are rules, they are often very inconsistent

– Are usually very nurturing and loving towards their kids

– Often seem more like a friend, rather than a parent

– May use bribery such as toys, gifts and food as a means to get child to behave

Children raised by permissive parents:

– Lack self-discipline

– Sometimes have poor social skills

– May be self-involved and demanding

– May feel insecure due to the lack of boundaries and guidance

Children of permissive parents may be disrespectful, disobedient, aggressive, irresponsible, and defiant. They are insecure because they lack guidelines to direct their behavior. However, these children are frequently creative and spontaneous.*

For more on permissive parenting, click here.

  1.  Disengaged parents

Finally, disengaged (detached) parents are neither responsive nor demanding. They may be careless or unaware of the child’s needs for affection and discipline.*

“An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness, and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are generally detached from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children.”  (

Children raised by disengaged parents:

– tend to lack self-control

– have low self-esteem

– are less competent than their peers

Children whose parents are detached have higher numbers of psychological difficulties and behavior problems than other youngsters.*

According Kendra Cherry, at, the “parenting styles of individual parents also combine to create a unique blend in each family. For example, the mother may display an authoritative style while the father favors a more permissive approach. In order to create a cohesive approach to parenting, it is essential that parents learn to cooperate as they combine various elements of their unique parenting styles.

Our parenting style can have positive or negative impacts on our child’s development and on our relationship with our child.  When you look back at 2016 and your relationship with your son or daughter, what do you see?  Were you rigid and strict?  Did you listen to your children?  Use fair and consistent discipline?  Did you use bribes to get them to do what you wanted them to do?


What parenting style did you most relate to?


To know where you are going, you must first know where you have been……

Making It Real….

Find some quiet time to do a little brainstorming activity.  Make four lists:  Things I like about my parenting, Things I do not like about my parenting, Characteristics I admire about my child, and Characteristics I wish my child possessed.  Use these lists as a guide to determine your parenting style.  What do you do well?  Where do you need to make improvements?
What will your number one goal be for 2017?
Join the Conversation!  Share your goal for 2017 on our FaceBook Group Page!

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