Which Parenting Style Do You Use?


I bet you desire to be a good parent. To be a healthy role model and offer loving effective discipline. But, this is harder than it looks. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs on the planet! It is a vital job to be engaged in and have the mindset of curiosity and continued growth.

While working at my husbands family farm this weekend, I was able to have a depth of a conversation with my brother-in-law. An experience I do not always get, but greatly enjoy working side-by-side on a common goal that helps our community as a family. You get to have time together when you work together, a precious thing!

We were laying new hard-wood flooring. A very big task. As we were getting into the grove of laying the flooring there was a period of constantly asking questions (neither of us have ever done this before). Every small imperfection was questioned and talked about. We had lots of consultations to be sure we were doing it just right.

After about an hour of going at a snail pace and constant scrutiny of every piece we laid, my brother-in-law smiles at me. “The evil in good is perfection.” He quoted looking at me contentedly. This is a very hard lesson for most of us! He has learned it the hard way with lots of medical difficulties in their family. I believe he was quoting one of his daughters many doctors.

“The evil in good is perfection!” How true is this in talking about parenting. Also true with relationship satisfaction, personal grace and forgiveness.

You may notice that the way your family handles a situation is vastly different from the way that others you know would handle a similar situation.  Each family operates different, thus the solutions to problems might also be different.

Each parent knows their child well enough to predict how they will react to any given situation. I am sure that each parent also has their own way of handling the situation in the way that makes the most sense to them. Think about your own parenting method for a minute.

What tends to give you the response you are hoping for from your child?  What kinds of things lead to resistance? Is there a type of disciple that never works with your child? Do you react in a way with your children, that you regret later?

When it comes to different parenting styles they can be categorized into four different types. They include: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Indulgent, and Disengaged.  By the end of this blog, you will hopefully be able to place your parenting style into one of these four categories, or maybe a combination of a couple of them depending on your family structure.

The four parenting styles are based on levels of control, and acceptance you give your children.  Below is a picture to help illustrate what I am talking about.

parenting styles

Let’s look at this a bit further. Both children and adults need a strong healthy bond. It is common for children to “act out” or “be difficult” in all of the parenting models. Part of the developmental needs of a child is to see where the the boundaries are.

Disengaged parenting is the combination of low acceptance and low control. This parenting style means that there is little or no emotional connection between the parent and the child.  There is also little or no affection shown by the parent in a disengaged household. Having a parent who is showing little affection or desire for an emotional connection with their child is really harmful. This style is also referred to as neglectful parenting. We all have a primary need to be and feel accepted, loved, and that it is okay to be who I am.

Indulgent parenting style is a combination of high acceptance and low control.  This is also referred to as permissive parenting.  It involves a high amount of nurturing and warmth but a low amount of guidelines (or compliance) for children to follow.  Indulgent parenting believes that the children are capable of making their own decisions with a low amount of structure.  This is commonly referred to as “soft parenting.” While a strong connection is important, there must be a balance with firm boundaries.

Authoritarian parenting style is a combination of low acceptance and high control.  This is the “my way or the highway” or “because I said so” mentality.  Parents with this style set strict rules and do not take into account the child’s input.  The parents feel like they are the boss and there is no other option except their rules. While firm boundaries are important, parenting is a delicate balance and remember we all have a primary need for acceptance.

Authoritative parenting is the combination of high acceptance and high control.  This form of parenting sets rules for their children to abide by and holds the children accountable for their actions.  They set clear rules and also combine that with a high sense of warmth and affection.  There is a difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline has the heart for teaching and curbing behaviors, punishment is done inside of parental anger. Children respond best to this balanced approach. It is easier on parents too! You are more able to be calm and effective when you are loving and firm. When you have a depth of a relationship, they are more likely to respect and obey you. This is a balanced form of parenting.  Studies have shown that authoritative parenting style creates the best parent-child relationship, and sets them up well to be responsible and respectful in their adult relationships too.

So what parenting style do you use?  Do you want to learn more about this? If you want to learn more about each style, The Positive Parenting Centre has a great website with in depth descriptions of the styles as well as parenting tips.


Take this week to think about which parenting style you classify yourself as.  Do you notice a pattern with your parenting style and how your parents raised you?  If we don’t continually train ourselves to make decisions that are inside of our integrity and personal mission, then we will do what we know. We know what we have seen or have done.

What are you doing to grow in grace as a parent and as a child? Remember “the evil in good is perfection.” This is not about being perfect. I have made mistakes both as a wife and as a parent. We are most effective when we look for ways to both be thankful and content and to be curious and encourage our own growth.

You do not need to be perfect to be a great parent! AND you do not need to have perfect children to be a great parent and on the right track!

Blessings to your day from Footnotes: Family Counseling Services! To learn more about parenting styles and techniques please call to set up an appointment at 507.351.8799.




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