Psychological Effects of Parenting Strategies

It was developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind who first observed and then defined the four different types of parenting strategies 1. And while the definitions for the four major parenting strategies focus on your behavior as a parent, you'll also need to understand how your method of parenting can affect your child. Whether you tend to lay down the law or you're not as strict, the way you parent can color your child's existence well into adolescence and even adulthood.


An authoritative parenting strategy is widely understood to be the most effective style. That's because it's used by parents to create firm rules based upon a child's individual needs with plenty of affirmation and communication. When you're an authoritative parent, you let your child be heard, with plenty of discussion as to why you've set certain rules and boundaries. As a result, your child grows up understanding that his talents and abilities are valuable now and that he can set goals and grow for the future. A child with authoritative parents may not feel the need to rebel, but is happy to discuss changes in rules instead.


Don't be fooled by its similar title -- authoritarian and authoritative parents are vastly different. Instead of creating expectations and boundaries together, the authoritarian parent creates the rules and expects compliance at all times. She doesn't feel like she needs to explain herself to her child and is unyielding in her expectations. Female children of authoritarian parents often grow up looking for acceptance, while male children might act out, according to the University of Delaware 2. Both genders are likely to have trouble making decisions, particularly because authoritarian parents make all the decisions for them.


A permissive parent doesn't want to be an authority figure -- she wants to be a friend. It's a parenting strategy that revolves around indulgence and passive behavior. Passive parents want to be seen as warm and loving, but deny their kids the chance to understand rules and consequences. Unfortunately, this can lead to children who don't understand boundaries, are often egocentric and can have future issues with self-control, thanks to a lack of firm parenting and indulgence.

Indifferent or Uninvolved

Some parents' strategies evolve from a feeling of indifference toward their kids and their behavior. This is called indifference, but it can also be a form of neglect. Instead of setting boundaries or even indulging kids, indifferent parents simply don't care what their kids do or how they act. They could be described as "hands-off," leaving the big decisions up to their children and neglecting to care about the outcomes. Because of this, children can also have troubles with self-control and become impulsive.