Take our assessment to learn your dominant parenting style. Learn about the unintended consequences of different parenting styles on children. Take the first step in changing or adjusting your parenting approach.
Common Parenting Styles
In general there are three styles of parenting that have been defined and researched for the past few decades. Authoritarian parents are more focused on control and obedience. We think of these parents using the phrase, “Because I said so!” Permissive parents (or Indulgent Parents) basically let their children dictate how the family is run, although they are not necessarily trying to be pushovers. These might be the parents you see at the supermarket caving to their child’s demands with, “Is this what you want?” Authoritative parenting (or Democratic Parenting) falls in between on the spectrum because it focuses on each child’s autonomy and decision making ability as well as personal responsibility. Authoritative Parents are the ones you may hear giving their kids choices while expressing understanding, “Would you like to keep up that tantrum? If so I will have to take you out of the store and we won’t be able to stop at the park like we planned.” Technically there is a forth style that has been labeled Uninvolved parenting, but we won’t go into that, because the fact that you are reading this and possibly considering therapy suggests that whatever your parenting approach, you are involved and concerned about what is happening with your child.
If you are unsure where you fall on the spectrum, try our quiz below and answer how you would most likely respond to the following hypothetical situations. Remember be honest, this is just to assess your current parenting leanings.
If you answered mostly in the A column, your style is probably somewhat Authoritarian, mostly B answers indicate a more democratic parenting style, and mostly C’s indicate a more permissive style. All of us may have traits from multiple styles as this is a spectrum. Even when you try to parent intentionally, you may still hear your mother slip out of your mouth with an occasional, “Because I said so, that’s why!” And once in a while we are all guilty of deciding that we are just too exhausted to care if they eat that one cookie before dinner.
If we don’t think through how we want to be as parents we will most naturally fall into the style that was modeled in our childhood. While your parents may have had good results from non-democratic parenting approaches, the research shows that this does not work well today and has some unintended negative consequences as well. See the table below for the basic characteristics and unintended results of each style.
So now that I know more about this, when should I start trying it out?
The younger your kids are, the better time to start, but it is never too late. One of the benefits of using these princely early, is that the consequences are not as large. Let’s consider risky behavior for example, if your child at age two jumps off of their stool, they might scrape their knee and cry; however, if your child at age sixteen decides to race their friends in a car on a country road, the consequences could be much more dangerous.
What Is the Love and Logic Approach?
This is a series of parenting techniques which fall within the authoritative parenting style. The approach is very practical and had many developed resources to help families learn to tackle a wide variety of parenting issues from toddlers to teenagers. Parenting with Love and Logic focuses on empowering parents as coaches rather than adversaries and teaches kids and teens to be responsible for their own behavior by using natural consequences.
How do I know where to start?
It can be daunting to face all of the challenges of being a parent, but we would love to work through this season with you and help you learn to be the most effective parent you can be. We believe that children are capable of learning responsibility for themselves and parents are the most key influences in this process.