Updated: Jan 9
What is a parenting style? We're all just parents right...?! Aren't we doing it all pretty much, the same? Well no not really, at risk of completely nerding out on this topic, I'll keep things straight and to the point. The fact is there are many aspects of life, upbringing and culture that forms us into our own unique parenting styles. And even though we are all uniquely working through parenting on a daily basis there are many main stream styles from a roaring tiger mom to a free range parent - which one are you?
First psychologists have already pre-determined that people fall into a range of parenting styles. To them all a parenting style is, is a mental construct that dictates a set of rules in which children are raise ( I mean duh right :) ). All of these new age parenting styles really just play off of the 4 clinical styles that are currently accepted by modern psychology:
The 4 types of official parenting styles - according to psychologists.
Authoritarian; One of the most strict parenting styles. Authoritarian parenting focuses on placing high expectations on children. Expecting children to be obedient and keeping you in the control seat most of the time, if not all of the time. Parents that use the Authoritarian style typically punish harshly for mistakes, can be critical and judgmental of their children. This is one of the most negative styles of parenting that has been identified and accepted by modern psychology. Authoritarian parenting is linked to lower self esteem in kids, unwilling to accept failure, anxiety, lack of trust and possibly lower feelings of empathy for others.
Although arguably, there could be some positive outcomes to this parenting style as noted in WebMD... children could grow to appreciate routine, set and keep goals and be much more responsible. My very NON professional opinion and gut says this would depend widely on your child's personality type to be an effective parenting style.
Authoritative; Much less outrageous or strict, Authoritative parents set clear boundaries and firm limits and act as the clear authority but also put in significant effort to nurture and support their children. Children also tend to thrive with authoritative parenting due to getting the proper stability, guidance and support in being their own people. Kids grow up with more self reliance, competence, self esteem and show more enthusiasm, energy and self control.
Permissive; Permissive parenting peels away another layer of the onion, revealing less boundaries and requiring less from their children. Children have loose limits and parents can still be loving but very relaxed in setting expectations. They do not monitor their children they do not support extra activities or additional activities that would help their children grow to develop self confidence. Children tend to lack direction can be impulsive and have low self control and self esteem in this environment or may even been aggressive.
Uninvolved/Neglectful; Pretty straightforward, the parenting style is quite literally when your parent is non existent, simply does not care about anything regarding safety and support of their children. Children tend to lack necessary social skills and have low self esteem, can be aggressive, they have increased risk of emotional disorders, depression and anxiety.
Over the years there have been many more parenting styles discussed online, almost as if we can pick out a tailored plan that fits right in our home and becomes the master guide to parenting our children. Parenting that comes in a "subscription box". HA! I wish it were that easy! But here I am some nights perusing through some parenting magazines wondering if all this time I've really been dolphin parent? SMH Interesting... We've reached a whole new era where the 4 clinically and widely accepted parenting styles aren't enough to quite identify what type of parenting we are actually using, there is more of a interest to dig deeper into the parenting styles of American parents it seems. Here are some of the most popular trendy parenting styles, but I'm sure by now there are scores more.
Trending parenting styles
Helicopter Parenting; A Helicopter parent typically over see and hover over their children from infancy all the way through adulthood. They are over involved with their children lives and exhibit high levels of control over their children. Similar to authoritarian parenting this parenting style can affect the child negatively and can hinder their children's emotional development as well as their independence.
Free Range Parenting; The now controversial parenting style dubbed 'free-range' parenting focuses on instilling a lot of independence in you're children. To explore this more, I'd say it goes beyond having your kids get dressed on their own and limit your help as a parent but being there to catch them, it is more like a totally hands off approach; don't hover at the playground whatever happens happens - what's the worst that can happen right? Allow your 12 year old to ride the subway by himself - he's had plenty of experience by now! THATS free - range parenting. And there's a whole book about it that explores the possibility for parents to ease up and let go of being driven by anxiety or worry.
Attachment Parenting; This parenting style focuses on exactly what it describes-attachment. Not only by emotionally attaching to your child by being supportive and positive, but by physically holding and creating bodily closeness with your child to create a sense of physical security and well... attachment. It is believed that children will grow to be more confident and secure with high levels of self esteem by creating strong family bonds.
Bulldoze Parenting: Sometimes referred to as snowplow parenting, parents typically are willing to drop everything to fulfill their children wants. They are typically of the opinion that they can to help their kids navigate life by 'plowing down' obstacles that stand in their way, instead of helping their child navigate the world and learn how to face adversity themselves. If bulldoze parenting goes too far it can hurt the child in irreparable ways- giving their children deep anxiety of failure and a sense of being lost in life without others doing things for them.
Lighthouse parenting: More of a balancing act the approach as a lighthouse parent it to be steady beacons of light (hence lighthouse). It's our job to act like role models that our children can compare themselves against. This means finding balance between protecting our kids, loving them and communicating with them.
Tiger Parenting: Let the tiger mom ROAR. Tiger parent may get a bad wrap - and what's worse is that it is heavily linked to cultural parenting styles of Asian parents. But I don't think its fair to judge a large group of people based on a strict parenting style. Many people, of many cultures want their kids to thrive academically and follow routines that will set them up for success in life. Tiger parenting is the definition of authoritative parenting - always managing thier kids lives and imposing strict rules and hierarchy in the home.
Additional parenting styles that are becoming more culture focused based
With parenting styles becoming so trendy I've also started seeing discussions about how other cultures parent their children, what is most common in Europe compared to here in the U.S.
French Parenting; a parenting style coined by the French that encompasses family closeness yet allowing and teaching your children from a very young age to be productive members of society and highly independent. It really is about your child being a legacy and providing what they will need to be successful when you're no longer in the picture. French parenting is a very rule based parenting guide, that many French middle class still instill in their children today.
Danish Parenting; The happiest country on the planet has a parenting style - awesome! The Danish way is to accentuate the positive aspects in life and not focus on many negatives. There is constant re-framing and a sense of togetherness that the Danes instill in their children. They are not at all achievement driven but instead focus on working together and in teams which will create happy well adjusted adults.
So what type of parent are you? Let me know in the comments.
For more on parenting: