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How to Understand the 4 Major Parenting Styles

There are 4 recognized parenting styles most parents fall into. Where do you fit in?


  • Step 1: Study your children. Analyze how well they are performing in school academically and socially. Take the time to correlate their behavior with how you are handling your job of parenting. It is never too late -- or too early -- to try to improve.
  • FACT: Diana Baumrind, a research psychologist who studied developmental, clinical, and social psychology at University of California at Berkley in 1948, developed the 4 major parenting styles.
  • Step 2: Categorize your style. Decide if you are at the low or high end of the responsiveness and demanding-ness elements. The indulgent style reflects high in responsiveness and low in demanding-ness. Authoritarian parents are high in demanding-ness, but low in responsiveness. Uninvolved parents are low in both elements and authoritative parents balance both elements.
  • TIP: A child's social competence and psychosocial functioning is directly related to the parent's level of responsiveness. Parental demanding-ness is associated with academic performance, competence, and behavioral control.
  • Step 3: Recognize the 2 elements of parenting: responsiveness and demanding-ness. Responsiveness is the degree to which a parent supports children's individuality and tends to their special needs and demands. Demanding-ness is the parents' level of controlling, disciplining, and making the children obey.
  • Step 4: Classify parenting depending on the levels of demanding-ness and responsiveness into 4 categories: indulgent, authoritarian, authoritative, and uninvolved.
  • Step 5: Understand the definition of parenting. Parenting is the role of influencing, teaching, and controlling your children. How you manage this and to what extent you enforce your role defines your parenting style.

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