Permissive and Authoritarian Parenting Styles

Uninvolved, permissive, authoritative and authoritarian parenting
are four examples of parenting styles that will be discussed here to
help readers understand the importance of parenting styles
and how they can affect child development either
positively or negatively.

According to research by Psychologists E. E. Maccoby and
J. A. Martin, there exist four examples of parenting
styles that parents usually utilize when parenting their
children. Depending upon how demanding they are toward
their children, or how responsive they are to supporting
the psychological needs of their children, parents
generally fall into one of the following groups: permissive,
uninvolved, authoritative or authoritarian parenting

Each of these four examples of parenting styles are
described as follows:

  1. Indulgent, nondirective or permissive parenting styles are
    more responsive than they are demanding. They avoid
    confronting their children and tend to be lenient- not
    demanding mature behavior of their children. These
    parents allow children to control their own behavior. Two
    subtypes within this group are democratic and
    nondirective. Democratic permissive parents exercise more
    parental control than nondirective.

  2. Uninvolved parents are neither demanding nor responsive.
    They tend to be uninvolved and this parenting style can
    border on neglectful.

  3. Authoritarian parenting styles are highly demanding and
    direction oriented but relatively non-responsive. They
    expect their children to obey them without question.
    Explanations for their demands upon their children are
    unnecessary and can be seen as a challenge to their
    authority. Such parents are often status conscience.
    That is to say, what people think of their children
    matters a lot to them, so the kids better behave to make
    them look good or pay the price. They are punitive.
    Rules are clear and home life is structured and well

  4. Authoritative parents are both demanding and
    responsive. Although they demand appropriate behavior
    from their children, they, also, are highly responsive in
    supporting their children. In a sense these parents are
    present to pick them up when they fall down. While being
    demanding or assertive, they are not intrusive, punitive or
    restrictive. Their goal is to parent children who are
    independent, take responsibility for their actions and are
    socially cooperative.

Each of these examples of parenting styles affects the
development of the child in either positive or negative
ways depending upon the degree and type of parental
demandingness and responsiveness involved.

For example, both authoritative and authoritarian parenting
are highly demanding, but authoritarian kids tend to
behave out of fear of parental reprisals, whereas,
authoritative children behave out of the understanding
derived from parental explanations of the importance of
behaving in becoming a future adult and the self-control
needed in achieving this goal.

Importantly, whereas love of parent is demanded in the
authoritarian parenting family "or else," in the authoritative
family unconditional love is apt to develop due to the
support the child receives from the parents, as well as
the lack of punitiveness due to the logical explanations
and consequences that are used for the behavior demanded.

Hence, it is easy to see how the various examples of
different parenting styles affect the development of

Other ways these examples of parenting styles influence
child development are the following:

  • Children whose parents proved uninvolved performed the
    worst in all areas.

  • Authoritative kids and adolescents proved more
    socially competent than non-authoritative kids.

  • Permissive adolescents and kids had lower depression
    rates, higher self-esteem and social skills, but lower
    school performance and more problematic behavior.

  • Authoritarian parenting led to adequate performance in
    school, fewer behavioral problems, but higher rates of
    depression, lower self-esteem and social skills.

  • Of the four examples of parenting styles, children of
    authoritative parents benefited the most due to the
    balancing of high parental demands with the responsiveness
    to the needs of the child developing his or her own
    independence and self-control in order to become a
    responsible mature adult.

  • In many cases, it appears that authoritative parents
    can demand more of their children because they are always
    present to catch them when they fall. Their children feel
    safe because they've learned they can count on their

For more on authoritarian parenting styles, click here.