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What’s Your Parenting Style?

what is your parenting style

Feeding preferences, sleep arrangements, public school education, private school or homeschooling… There’s a lot to consider when it comes to how to raise a good human. Over the years though research has helped us understand that while these lifestyle choices play an important role in our parenthood journey, what’s more impactful is how we actually parent. How we approach things like communication or discipline, and how we interact with our children every day. These elements represent key building blocks when it comes to shaping our child’s behavior during the little years and beyond. In fact, we can even go as far as saying certain styles of parenting children tend to be linked with more positive behavioral outcomes.

The Four Main Styles

Even with our many outward differences in approach (like “crunchy” or “tiger” and the latest being the “snowplow” or “lawnmower” parent) as parents we still share many similarities. So much so that researchers have been able to pinpoint four main styles of parenting.

parenting styles

Authoritative parents are nurturing, responsive, and supportive, yet set firm limits for their children. They are open to children’s feelings, willing to listen to questions and open to hearing their child’s viewpoint, although won’t always agree with it. When children fail to meet expectations these parents turn to effective discipline methods rather than punishment.

We can think of Authoritarian parents as “the disciplinarian”- they put a great deal of emphasis on obedience and control. When children break the rules it usually results in punishment.

In other parts of the parenting arena there are Permissive parents who are sweet and loving but tend to miss the mark where setting limits are concerned (think “kids will be kids” and “I want to be friends with my child”). Lastly, there are the Uninvolved parents who are generally detached from their child’s life and are unresponsive, unavailable and rejecting.

Your Style… and Why it Matters

Now as you might have guessed, the parenting style most linked with positive outcomes is Authoritative. Children really thrive off nurturing, firm limits and our guidance. When these are present in our parenting style children are more friendly, cooperative, goal oriented, curious and have better self-control.

So what’s your parenting style? If at first glance you’re thinking you might fall more into one of the other three categories, don’t worry! Many of us end up with a particular parenting style based on how we were parented- what was modeled for us. Knowledge is power here. With awareness of where we fall on this parenting style spectrum we have the opportunity to make the changes necessary to cultivate these more positive parenting traits in ourselves – and our kids will surely benefit.

Changing patterns of behavior is hard, and it can be confusing and challenging to try new things. It’s also so easy to give up when something new doesn’t work out and then to come up with plenty of excuses about why it doesn’t work and resort back to old habits.

I want you to know my support is always available.

If you relate to any of this information and want to learn more about how I can help you, or if you want to schedule a free phone conversation to see if my coaching is right for your family, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Your parenting counts!

This post is a guest article written by Amber Navarro. Amber is a birth doula and certified lactation educator & counselor. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in Psychology. She currently lives in Orange County, Ca with her husband and three boys where she's found a home within the birth community. Her work as a doula allow her to utilize her passion for pregnancy, birth, babywearing, and breastfeeding to support new parents.

Heart of Connecting

My work is dedicated to supporting parents and early childhood educators in understanding and reducing challenging behavior in young children at home and in the preschool classroom.

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