The Four Parenting Styles: Which Are You?

Posted on in Visitation and Parenting Time

 Illinois divorce lawyerIn the 1960s, developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind identified three distinct parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive. Later, researchers Maccoby and Martin theorized that the parenting style identified as permissive by Baumrind has two types, indulgent and uninvolved. Identifying and understanding your parenting style can help you co-parent with your former partner and relate to your child more effectively. When the court develops a parenting agreement, it considers the child’s relationship with each parent and each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, which can both be tied to the parent’s parenting style. Keep in mind that very few parents fit neatly into one of the boxes below. Rather, these types are the pillars of a parenting style spectrum, and nearly all parents fall somewhere between two or more of these pillars.


Authoritarian parents are commonly known as “strict parents.” Rather than discussing why rules and boundaries exist, these parents expect their children to obey without question. Authoritarian parents often have high expectations of their children and generally use punishment as a means to encourage compliance with these expectations and control their children’s behavior.

Authoritarian parenting is correlated with insecurity, low self-esteem, mental health problems, and poor social skills in children.


Baumrind identified authoritative parenting as “just right,” a healthy middle ground between authoritarian and permissive parenting.

Authoritative parents create clear boundaries and hold clear expectations of their children, but are open to discussing these boundaries and expectations with the children and amending them when appropriate. Instead of expecting obedience, authoritative parents are responsive and supportive toward their children and encourage them to become independent.

Authoritative parenting is correlated with high self-esteem, academic success, and strong social skills in children.


Indulgent parents are often kind, warm parents, but do not enforce structure or discipline in their households. These are the parents who are often accused of trying to be their children’s friends, rather than their parents. Often, this type of behavior comes from a fear of disappointing one’s child.

Indulgent parenting is correlated with egocentrism, poor self-control, difficulty following rules, and poor social skills in children.


Uninvolved parents create and enforce few, if any, boundaries for their children. Typically, they are uninterested in their children’s lives and can be indifferent to their needs. This parenting style can stem from mental issues like depression. It can also occur when the parent does not know how to effectively parent a child or does not care to.

Uninvolved parenting is correlated with mental health issues, poor impulse control, poor emotional regulation, and issues with substance abuse and delinquency in children.

Work with an Experienced St. Charles Family Lawyer

Contact Shaw Sanders, P.C. today to set up your initial consultation with an experienced Kane County family lawyer. During your consultation, we can discuss the issues at hand in your case and help you develop realistic expectations for your eventual parenting agreement. Our team is here to provide you with useful legal advice and effective representation. Call us today at 630-584-5550.



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