Authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting and permissive parenting: Which is your style?

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There are three main recognized parenting styles, the first is authoritarian parenting (also known as strict parenting), second is authoritative parenting (also known as balanced or democratic), and the third is permissive parenting (also known as indulgent parenting). These styles were originally outlined by a psychologist called Diana Baumrind in 1966 and are still referred to today.

How do you set boundaries for your child? This can tell you a lot about your parenting style. Rules that are imposed and non-negotiable are in the authoritarian parenting style. If you give your child boundaries and rules that are then open to negotiation and reason, then this falls into the authoritative parenting category. If your style is permissive parenting, then you are not likely to set specific boundaries for your child, but rather you would let your child regulate his or her own activities and allow them to find things out in their own way. For example if a child is home past their curfew, an authoritarian parent will punish them, an authoritative parent would talk to them, find out why, and possibly ground them, and a permissive parent would be likely to let the child learn from his or her mistake when they are tired the next day.

The method with which you punish your child also gives a clue as to your preferred parenting style. If you are more likely to punish a child with a smack than the ‘naughty step' then that shows an authoritarian parenting style. This style is associated with punishment and control. If your techniques are authoritative techniques, then punishments are consistent and appropriate to the offence. Techniques like grounding, removal of items from the child, a quiet naughty chair etc are typical of authoritative parenting. Punishments are explained and behaviour is discussed. If you follow the permissive parenting style, then punishments are far less likely, far less severe and often favour the child.

How do you respond to your children? If you listen to them and are encouraging when they do something good, or when they try and fail, then you are following an authoritative parenting pattern. Parents who tend to have authoritarian parenting techniques are often dismissive and negative, and those who follow permissive parenting patterns often tell their children that whatever they do is their responsibility, and that they are individuals.

It is generally agreed that authoritative parenting is best for children, but in reality most parents use a mix of authoritative, authoritarian and permissive parenting and there is nothing wrong with that. Whichever style of parent you are, a combination of techniques is often the best way.

For more details of parenting styles refer to my free e-book "New Parenting Style" on

About the author:
The author is a successful marketing executive and a mother of two boys. She has had a rough ride in the past two years and has successfully saved her family from the brink of disaster by working on her parenting techniques. You can access her free report "New Parenting Style" or buy her book "Solving Teenage Problems" on or check your "Parent Stress Intensity Quotient" for free on

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