WATCH | Is your parenting style impacting your child's development? Experts say it may be

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

It is said quite often in parenting communities: parenting is not a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Different children respond to different kinds of discipline and parenting, depending on their levels of sensitivity and temperament.

Based on research by late research psychologist, Diane Baumrind, there are four kinds of parenting styles that have different impacts on childhood development, namely: authoritarian, authoritative, neglectful and indulgent parenting styles.

The American broadcasting newsroom, Fox 5, spoke to behavioural analyst Elizabeth Jordan about the four different parenting styles and how these affect developing children.

"It makes people think about parenting in a more concrete way when they think about which category they fall into," says Jordan.

Fair Judge or Authoritative

Everyone strives to achieve this parenting style, according to Elizabeth Jordan. 

Authoritative parents use frequent and open communication with their children to solve problems and set clear rules and expectations. 

The 'Fair Judge' tries to remain reasonable and nurturing while interacting with children.

"Just imagine like in the courtroom. That's a judge who takes a lot of time to listen to both sides, really evaluate the information that's presented to them from all sides, really think about it and present a judgment, or a ruling if you will and stick by it," explains Jordan.

This parenting style is more likely to result in a child who is more well-adjusted, capable and successful.

Though being a fair judge is the "most time-consuming" of the four parenting styles, it reaps better results, says Jordan. 

"The other three [parenting styles], we really want to stay away from," says Jordan.

Also read: How changing parental beliefs can build stronger vocabulary and math skills for young children

Dictator or Authoritarian

This kind of parent is less nurturing. The parent acts as a disciplinarian who sets strict rules and dishes out the punishment. 

This parent is known for their high expectations and one-way communication with little consideration for the child's emotional and behavioural needs. 

Though these parents are assertive, Baumrind says that their style is not meant to be intrusive or restrictive, but rather supportive. 

As a result, children of authoritarian parents are usually obedient and proficient, but lacking in social competence, self-esteem and happiness.

Absent or Neglectful

Compared to the other parenting styles, absent or neglectful parents have a much more hands-off approach.

These parents are rather uninvolved, allowing their children plenty of freedom with little guidance and little expectation.

"The absent parent: well, you're just rolling the dice. You're rolling the dice and you're not even looking to see what happened."

According to Jordan, this kind of parenting style makes it less likely that the parent will be able to see problems and tackle them or provide guidance before they become too big.

The children who have been raised by this parenting style are said to rank lowest across "all life domains", as they tend to lack self-control and have low self-esteem.

Also see: How the growing Tiktok parenting trend is cultivating a new generation of gentle parents

Permissive or Indulgent

Indulgent or permissive parenting is seen as over-indulging children to avoid conflict and it involves limited guidance, with very few rules. 

Very much influenced by Covid-19, Jordan notes that there has been an increase in permissive parenting, under the guise of 'gentle parenting'.

"I think that permissive parenting has become a very popular trend. I think that parents are looking to get a five-star review from their kids and the quickest way to get a five-star review is to be a permissive parent. Parenting is a long-term game," says Jordan.

"You're just allowing your kids to do whatever they need to do and they think the rest of the world is going to do that too. You're sort of selling them a bag of lies because the real world isn't going to be permissive," explains Jordan.

"That's not how life works."

As a result of this parenting style, children of permissive parents can experience problems with authority, self-regulation and even happiness.

"The most likely chance of success is being present and acting like a fair judge without your ego getting in the way."

Knowing this, however, every parent needs to base their judgement off of the developmental needs of their children at their developmental stage.


Share your stories and questions with us via email at Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Don't miss a story!

For a weekly wrap of our latest parenting news and advice sign up to our free Friday Parent24 newsletter.

Follow us, and chat, on Facebook and Twitter.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24