Which Style of Parent Are You?

The Four Parenting Styles

Authoritative Style: If you are an authoritative parent, you show your child compassion, respond to their needs, set expectations and rules for how they should behave, and maintain control over areas of their life where they still need your guidance.

Authoritarian Style: If you are an authoritarian parent, you do not show your child much compassion, control every area of their life, and do not let them make their own decisions in life.

Permissive Style: If you are a permissive parent, you always shower your child with love and compassion, do not set many expectations or rules for your child, and allow your child to make their own decisions in all areas of their life.

Uninvolved Style: If you are an uninvolved parent, you are not involved very much in your child's life, do not show them much compassion, don't set any rules for the child, and you are not really concerned with the decisions they make in life.

Why Does It Matter?

You may be thinking, all adults parent differently, so why does my parenting style matter? The answer to that question is that every parent should be concerned about their parenting style because the way you parent your child can have a major, lasting impact on your child's development. Here are just a few examples of how your parenting style can impact your child:

  • Children with authoritative parents show less symptoms of depression throughout life.
  • Children with authoritative parents generally have higher self-esteem and higher grades in school than other children.
  • Children with authoritative parents are less likely to fall into peer pressure.

Take the Parenting Style Quiz

Questions and results of quiz are courtesy of GirlScouts.org

1. Your three-year-old has a major "gimme" meltdown at the mall. Everyone is staring. You:

a) Get angry. You know she is taking advantage of being in public to get what she wants.

b) Buy the toy so she stops crying.

c) Move to a new spot and calmly wait her out or leave the mall and come back when

she is not so tired.

2. You ask your child to do something and she doesn't. You:

a) Yell at her and, when she doesn't give in, give her a punishment.

b) Forget about it and go on to something else.

c) Get down at her level and repeat the request, letting her know the consequences if

she doesn't do what you are asking.

3. Your living room is a major disaster-toys have piled up throughout the day. You:

a) Scream at her to clean up her mess-whatever isn't cleaned up is going in the


b) Clean up for her. After all, you can do it faster and it isn't worth the effort to make

her do it.

c) Set the kitchen timer for a reasonable amount of time (5 minutes, 8 minutes, etc.).

If the toys aren't put away by the time the buzzer sounds, she won't be able to

watch her favorite afternoon TV program.

If you picked mostly As, you have an [authoritarian] type of parenting style.

If you picked mostly Bs, you have a [permissive] type of parenting style.

If you picked mostly Cs, you have a [authoritative] type of parenting style.


  • Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behavior. Child Development, 37(4), 887-907. doi:10.2307/1126611

  • Berk, L.E. (2010). Development Through the Lifespan (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon
  • Liem, J.H., Cavell, E.C., & Lustig, K. (2010). The influence of authoritative parenting during adolescence on depressive symptoms in young adulthood: Examining the mediating roles of self-development and peer support. Journal of Genetic Psychology: Research and Theory on Human Development, 171(1), 73-92. doi: 10.1080/00221320903300379