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Parenting styles vary all over the world, and even within countries. In America, there are a few different parenting styles that are most commonly seen. But which parenting style is most encouraged in modern America? And which one is best?

In this blog post, we will take a look at the different parenting styles and see which one is most popular in America today. We will also discuss how to find a parenting style that works for you and your family!

What is a Parenting Style?

A parenting style is a way that parents raise their children. It includes things like how they discipline their children, what values they teach them, and how much freedom they allow them.

Other terms that are practically synonymous with parenting style include parenting practices, parenting methods, and parenting approaches.

Why Does Parenting Style Matter?

Whether you realize it or not, if you have children you are practicing some type of parenting style. Some parents are very dedicated to a specific type while others are simply flying by the seat other their pants 🙂 Either is okay! Yet, having some awareness of your parenting style can help you identify any areas of improvement that may- in turn- boost your relationships with your child(ren).

I Wanted to Nurture a High-Quality Relationship with My Children

After I had my daughter, I remember first becoming concerned with my parenting style when she started crawling. I found myself telling her “no” and getting frustrated when she was suddenly getting into everything. I cringed at scolding my baby that didn’t understand- and turned to parenting books to find a better way for child rearing.

Thankfully- I found a ton of free resources that have helped me to become a better parent to my girls. I wanted to nurture their creative development, be present, and yell as little as possible (some days are easier than others with a toddle for sure!).

In case you’re interested- my absolute favorite published books is: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting

Related read: Mom Hacks for Building Routines

The Four Types of Parenting Styles

There are four parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. We will review each type below and discuss which parenting style is most encouraged in modern America.

authoritative parenting

#1 Authoritative Parenting

Authoritarian parenting is a style in which parents have very high expectations for their children and relatively strict rules. While there may use punishment to enforce these expectations, it also comes with the setting of boundaries and reasoning before punishment is decided.

Authoritative parenting style is similar to authoritarian parenting in that the parents have high expectations for their children. However, they also use positive reinforcement and open communication to encourage their children to meet these expectations.

This style of parenting is able to provide a mix of love and compassion with a hard dose of reality and structure.

The Benefits of Authoritative Parenting Style

There are a few benefits to authoritative parenting.

  • Correlated to better grades in school
  • Reduced risk of “problem behaviors” in kids
  • More independence, self-control, self-confidence, and self-esteem
  • Parenting is approached from a viewpoint of reasoning
  • Two-way communication is valued- boosting a child’s ability to cope with a variety of social settings
  • Encourage positive decision-making skills

The Cons of Authoritative Parenting Style

  • There are a few potential negatives to authoritative parenting as well.
  • You may find yourself in constant conflict with your child
  • May produce children who challenge you and authority figures often (definitely a good and bad thing for most parents!)
  • Your child may grow up feeling controlled or micromanaged
  • Authoritative parenting style can be difficult to maintain- especially if you have more than one child

This is an excellent parenting style for “laying the groundwork” to raise a responsible teenager and adult. The only downside is that seem children can feel their freedom is being infringed. Thus, some kids will tend to rebel. Plus, this approach requires significant involvement and effort (at least initially) for the parents (hard for busy schedules)- but with the intention of long-term benefits.

The authoritative parenting style is the most common parenting style in modern America. Children raised by authoritative parents is considered the “gold standard” for raising children by many experts.

#2 Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting is a style in which parents are very nurturing and responsive to their children- but have few demands or expectations. This parenting style is pretty relaxed and lenient.

While some people may perceive permissive parenting as letting kids “do whatever they want,” it is much more complex than that. Permissive parents still have rules and expectations for their children- they just communicate these in a non-threatening and non-punitive way.

The Benefits of Permissive Parenting

  • Can encourage a strong bond between parent and child
  • Less conflict and behavior problems in the family dynamics
  • Encourages problem-solving skills and creativity
  • Children feel heard and that their opinions matter- encouraging good self-esteem
  • Self-love is prioritizes
  • Children have the most freedom with this style
  • Promotes two-way communication

The Cons of Permissive Parenting Style

  • Less emphasis on academic performance
  • Can result in discipline problems at school and with other parents or children
  • Can make children more selfish and indulgent in nature
  • Fewer social skills (i.e. less sharing, etc.)
  • Increased risk of engagement in risky behaviors

Overall, permissive parenting is best used in moderation. Too much leniency can result in problems down the road, but a little bit of permissiveness can encourage creativity, strong family bonds, and self-love.

#3 Uninvolved or Neglectful Parenting

neglectful parenting

The uninvolved parenting style is one in which parents take very little interest or investment in their children. While parents will typically give their children basic needs, like food and shelter, their secondary meets are often ignored (i.e. love, guidance, conversation, etc.).

Typically, uninvolved parents are inconsistent with their expectations and discipline. They may or may not have rules for their children, and if they do have rules, they are often not enforced. Unfortunately, this style of parenting is most often utilized due to lack of time and stress- not because it is preferred. Thus, it’s a matter of survival for some families.

However, for some families, this style of parenting is a result of abuse, alcoholism, or mental health problems within the family.

The Pros of Uninvolved Parenting (although few)

  • Allows children to explore independently and develop self-reliance
  • Minimal conflict between parent and child

The Cons of Uninvolved Parenting Style

  • Can result in academic and social problems
  • Lack of guidance can lead to increased chances of risky behavior
  • Emotional distress is common due to lack of love/attention from parents
  • More dependence on peer support

Ultimately, children influenced by uninvolved parenting will mature quickly and become self-sufficient- although often at the cost of their mental health.

#4 Authoritarian Parenting

authoritarian parenting

Authoritarian parenting is a strict style in which parents have high expectations for their children and demand obedience. This parenting style is very rigid- there are lots of rules and consequences for breaking those rules. This is a very traditional style of parenting for many of us that grew up in the 20th century.

With authoritarian parenting, the focus is on control rather than communication. Parents often dictate what their children should do without considering their children’s opinions or feelings on the matter. This parenting style is often associated with phrases like “because I said so” or “wait until your father gets home.”

The Benefits of Authoritarian Parenting

  • Can result in obedient and well-behaved children
  • Can instill a strong work ethic in children
  • Less external conflict between parent and child
  • Reduced risk of children getting involved in inappropriate behavior

The Cons of Authoritarian Parenting Style

  • Children often lack self-confidence and are afraid to express their opinions
  • Can lead to resentment towards parents and authority figures
  • Lack of communication can make it difficult to resolve conflict
  • Children often have difficulty making decisions as an adult
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety

Overall, while this parenting style can be successful in the short-term, it often backfires in the long-run.

Which Parenting Style is Best?

Which parenting style is most encouraged in modern America? As discussed, authoritative parenting is the gold standard.

So, which parenting style is best in the real world? The answer may surprise you- the answer is actually “it depends.” Different children will respond to different parenting styles in different ways. What works for one child may not work for another.

The most important thing is that you find a parenting style that works for you and your family. There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to parenting, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what works best for you and yield the outcomes you want.

What’s most important is that you show your children that you love them, no matter what. They need to know that they can always come to you with their problems, big or small. As long as you keep that in mind, you’re sure to be a great parent.

Related read: 4 Parenting Mistakes That Every Parent Should Avoid Making

How to Find a Parenting Style That Works for You

which parenting style is best for you?

More than likely, parents usually find themselves using a combination of parenting styles, depending on the situation. That’s perfectly normal! The important thing is that you’re flexible and willing to adapt your parenting style to meet the needs of your children.

If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available to help you find a parenting style that works for you. Talk to your doctor, read up on different parenting styles, or even talk to other parents to see what has worked for them. The most important thing is that you’re open to trying new things and that you have the best interests of your child at heart.

No matter what parenting style you adopt, remember:

  • It’s okay to make mistakes- this helps your children learn, especially when you’re open with them about it
  • Embrace parenting education- there’s so much to learn to help your children be independent and thrive
  • Your children need your love and support, no matter what
  • Parenting is a journey, so enjoy the ride and use it as a learning experience!

What’s your parenting style? Do you think it’s working for you and your family? Let us know in the comments below!