What parenting style do you use with your children? There are many variations you can try, and you choices likely depend largely on your personality, beliefs and personal style. For instance, some more traditional parents may raise their families strictly by the book, while those with a more experimental side may prefer a looser approach. In addition, some parents find it works best to match their disciplinary tactics to each specific circumstance, so what they do changes all of the time.

Four Parenting Styles

Although no two families are exactly alike, experts say that most styles of raising children can be loosely grouped into four main parenting types. These common styles are referred to by a variety of different names, but regardless of what exact title you use, the overall goals can still be somewhat the same.

Check our list to see which characteristics seem to resonate most closely with you.

  • Authoritarian: This is the strictest of the parenting styles and is typically seen when the parent steps into the role of dictator, setting the rules that the children are expected to carry out without question. Strong discipline, along with little or no room for negotiation, is usually very characteristic of this style.

  • Authoritative: This is another firm parenting style, but one major difference is that when an authoritative parent sets limits with her children, she also allows room for feedback from them. This enables a positive form of interaction and allows children to take responsibility for their own actions. That's why the experts say that this approach is often highly successful for most parents and children.

  • Indulgent: This is a very lenient parenting style that offers very little in the way of structure or format for children. In addition, indulgent parents often don't enforce consequences when their children don't behave. This can lead to all sorts of discipline problems, and problems with challenging authority, too, in some cases.

  • Uninvolved: These parents have little interaction with their own children. As the name implies, the parents generally withdraw from their family situations and often prefer to be uninvolved in their children's behavior and lives. Children who are raised in this way may face bigger challenges as they age.

Create Your Own Recipe

While these four distinct parenting styles illustrate different points on the broader parenting spectrum, you may find yourself blending some elements of each style into your own unique recipe. But the experts point out that if you find yourself relying on a parenting style that doesn't seem to be very effective for you and your family, it's never too late to try different approaches. Just remember that your overall goal as a parent is to raise children with good values and to provide them with a nurturing, supportive and also structured environment in which they can learn and grow.

Avoiding Spanking

It's also important to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents, regardless of their parenting styles, to avoid using spankings to discipline their children. While spankings were a common form of discipline in past generations, today's experts point out that this technique quickly loses its effectiveness-and may also teach young people to settle situations by using violence. Therefore, it's always best to rely on other, more positive strategies like rewarding good behavior, enforcing natural consequences and  calling time outs, which can all be much more effective ways to teach your children how to behave.





American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)