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What parenting styles are there and which is best?

parents holding their daughter's hand while walking

Now that science has advanced in the study of human development, we’ve come to realize the tremendous importance of parenting in the early years of life. To be prepared, it’s vital to have conversations with your partner about your baby’s future education and upbringing teamwork is key!

Parents play a crucial role in shaping their children’s behavior, self-esteem, and psychology, according to several studies. According to Baumrind, a renowned psychologist and expert in the field of parenting and child development, parenting styles can be classified into two dimensions: control (or demandingness) and affection. Let’s talk a bit about how the styles look in action.


On one hand, there’s the authoritarian style, characterized by rigidity, demands, and control, but with less affection and responsiveness to the child’s needs. They’re like super bosses, very strict on discipline. On the other hand, there’s the democratic style, based on flexible discipline, but with lots of affection and responsiveness to the child’s needs. They’re like that teacher who sets boundaries but also has that warm and friendly touch. Then there’s the permissive style, which relies on excessive affection but lacks discipline and boundaries. These are very indulgent caretakers. And finally, there’s the unresponsive or neglectful style, based on rejection and lack of discipline and affection. These parents aren’t very involved and don’t pay much attention to their child’s needs.

Now, what’s interesting is that Baumrind discovered that children raised by authoritarian parents had low self-esteem, unhappiness, insecurity, and were not very friendly. In contrast, those raised by democratic parents were competent, happy, and self-sufficient. A total success! However, children raised by permissive parents tended to be dependent, immature, lacking self-control, and not academically high achievers. And finally, children raised by unresponsive or neglectful parents had insecure attachments, problems with peers, and few friends.

Now, Baumrind’s theory of parenting styles helps us understand which type of parenting works best and why. We know that children need boundaries and discipline, but we’ve also learned that affection is essential for healthy development. And guess what? Based on the effects we’ve seen, the best parenting style is the democratic one. Parents should establish clear boundaries and rules while offering lots of affection and responsiveness to the child’s needs. It’s a perfect balance!

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