In the 1960s renowned psychologist Diana Baumrind, following years of research into developmental psychology, concluded that there were three definitive parenting styles. These were Authoritarian, Authoritative and Permissive.
Our approach to child rearing has of course shifted over the decades that followed and psychologists have developed a new set of approaches that define our individual parenting styles (although still heavily based on Baumrind’s theories).
We now have five readily identifiable parenting styles. Some parents identify heavily with one particular style and in fact deliberately aim to operate within the scope of that particular approach. Other parents will utilise aspects of the styles that best suit them and tailor them to the raising of their children. Here is a look at the five distinct parenting styles.
1) Instinctive Parenting
Instinctive parenting is the most common of the parenting styles and the only distinctive style that does not come with a set of rules. Instinctive parenting is instead characterised by parents who raise their children by relying on instinct and influenced heavily by their own childhoods and upbringing. An example of instinctive parenting is a parent who leads by instinct – they will tailor their responses according the cues they pick up from their children. Another example of instinctive parenting (although simplified) is a parent whom consistently serves porridge for breakfast because it was a staple in their own childhood.
2) Attachment Parenting
Attachment parenting is focused solely on the bond between parent and child. Attachment parents will strive to create an environment where there is no definable early separation between parent and child. This can include extended baby wearing, bed sharing and extended breast feeding. Attachment parenting has a strong focus on the emotional wellbeing and intuitive development of the child. An example of Attachment parenting is a child who is encouraged to sleep in their parent’s bed.
3) Helicopter Parenting
Helicopter parents strictly and rigidly monitor all aspects of their children’s lives. They will dictate suitable interests, involve themselves heavily in their children’s daily lives and ‘hover’ relentlessly, thus the term Helicopter parenting. This particular style of parenting has been proven to produce children to achieve very well academically, although these children tend to suffer social and struggle to learn independent skills. An example of Helicopter parenting is a child whom is rarely allowed to indulge in alone time or individual play.
4) Authoritative Parenting
Parents who subscribe to the Authoritative approach will establish firm boundaries and guidelines when it comes to their expectations of their children. With a principally nurturing outlook, Authoritative parents will lay down the law and expect their children to comply. There are clear boundaries and consequences, however employed with a democratic approach. Authoritative parents are willing to compromise and negotiate in certain situations whilst still maintaining a clear relationship of ‘parent’ and ‘child’.
An example of Authoritative parenting is a clear consequence for bad behaviour. “If you don’t stop drawing on the wall, you will have a time out.”
5) Permissive Parenting
Permissive parents are indulgent of their children, often with an equal relationship as opposed to a defined ‘parent’ and ‘child’ dynamic. Permissive parents do not make demands of their children nor set expectations of them .They will rarely employ forms of discipline and consequence, preferring to rely on a communicative approach. Permissive parents will allow the child to set the pace when it comes to raising and behaviour. An example of permissive parenting is a child who does not have a set bed time. Instead, they are allowed to self identify when they are tired go to sleep at will.
Whilst being able to identify as a particular style of parent may help you to feel more in control, or establish personal boundaries when it comes to raising your children, it should be noted that there are definite benefits and drawbacks to each of the parenting styles discussed above.
As parents we aim to raise happy, healthy children that will thrive in their lives. Your child, and therefore your approach to parenting, is incredibly unique and should not be compared to an approach taken by another individual.