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Parenting Styles: Which Applies to You?


Anyone who has raised a child can tell you that it is a lot of work and demands the most that you can possibly give of yourself, emotionally, physically, financially and in every other way possible! 

Parenting is both rewarding and frustrating at times.

Babies don’t come with an instruction manual, and while there are tons of books, videos, websites, well-meaning friends and relatives and professionals to learn from, you will become the expert on your kid. You are the one that has to figure out why your little one is crying. You soon narrow it down to hunger, tiredness, or pain of some kind. As a parent, you will do almost anything to soothe your child. There is the dad who sucked the snot out of his baby’s nose to relieve his congestion and allow him to breathe freely. And the mom who pushes her child endlessly around in a stroller because that is the only thing that will soothe him to sleep.

Your parenting style can affect your child in many ways, so it is important to ensure you are supporting healthy growth in your child.

There are 4 basic parenting styles that have been identified and some basic characteristics that define them:


To you it’s “my way, or the highway”. There is no room for negotiation, and obedience is expected.  Because their opinions are not valued, children in this scenario often grow up with lower self-esteem and may even become hostile or aggressive.


You make rules, and you explain the reasons to your child, giving consequences if they are not followed. You take time to have a positive relationship. You invest time and energy in attempting to prevent behavior problems before they start. You praise good behavior and give rewards. Kids with authoritative parents grow up to happy and successful, able to make decisions and take safety risks on their own.


The “kids will be kids” attitude. Permissive parents adopt more of a friend role, and are very forgiving, not enforcing many rules or consequences. These parents prefer to avoid confrontation, and allow their children considerable freedom.

These kids often struggle academically, and often have low self-esteem. They don’t appreciate rules or authority since they haven’t experienced them.


Unfortunately, these children do not receive much attention, discipline, guidance, or nurturing. It’s not surprising that these children often have behavioral problems and do not perform very well in school.

Most parents don’t fall easily into just one category. You may be strict when it comes to health and cleanliness, and more easy-going when it comes to rules around eating or bedtime routines. Each child is different and needs attention in different ways. Also, each household runs differently and demands on parenting and caregiving can differ. Some families have nearby grandparents who can lend a hand, and valuable input from years of experience. Others have live-in babysitters, or friends that pitch in with child care.

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