Written by: Robert R. Cassman, LPCC
While this article doesn’t attempt to provide an exhaustive list or description of parenting styles, we will discuss three of the major styles. None of the three parenting styles are pathological but there are differences and it will be clear which is the healthiest one.
Permissive parenting involves a parent who wants to be a friend of their child. The permissive parent constantly buys the cooperation of the child. In Walmart, this is the parent who has the out-of-control whiny child who only stops crying when promised something in return. Permissive parents are afraid to discipline the child. “I don’t want her to hate me” a permissive parent is likely to say when asked why discipline isn’t used. Permissive parents feel guilty when they do attempt discipline. These children grow up to be demanding, permissive and excessive. They have poor relationships because they are spoiled and don’t know how to give toward someone else.
Authoritarian parenting may look like a “drill sergeant” to others. These parents show very little physical affection. This parent is orderly and structured. The children are, therefore, orderly and structured as well. In Walmart, this parent does not need to redirect his or her children. The children are quiet and control themselves. This parenting is colder and tends to be isolated. There is very little room for special circumstances. These children grow up to have distant relationships and have a difficult time interacting with others who are dissimilar. They may also have a hard time standing up for themselves and tend to get taken advantage of in relationships.
Authoritative parenting is a good mixture of both. The authoritative parent gives a healthy dose of affection and a healthy dose of discipline to the child. This parent disciplines because the child is loved. These children tend to grow up to be healthy adults.