Over the years there has been a great deal of interest in the different ways people parent their children. This has led to psychologists and researchers identifying common parenting approaches. The most well-known parenting styles are based on work done by Baumrind, and Maccoby and Martin. They identified four styles of parenting based on parental demandingness (control, supervision, discipline) and parental responsiveness (warmth, acceptance and involvement):
Research suggests that most people will sway between parenting styles to accommodate the complexities of the parent-child relationship, and parenting styles should be regarded as generalisations rather than fixed patterns of behaviour (Moon, 2011). However, parenting styles can be useful in identifying potential influences a parent’s behaviour may have on their children’s development, relationships and learning. It can also be useful for couples to determine what their individual parenting styles tend to be, and whether these compliment or conflict with each other.
Parenting styles in the media today tend to be given catchy titles, such as helicopter parenting, free-range parenting, jellyfish parenting, and tiger parenting. Some people identify strongly with their “style”, others are offended by these labels, or make a concerted effort to distance themselves from any particular parenting type. Let’s have a look at the common parenting styles and their pros and cons.
Uninvolved Parenting involves both low demands on the child from the parent, and little responsiveness to the child’s needs. The parent provides the basics such as food and shelter, but fails to be nurturing toward the child, or set limits. These parents are largely detached from their children. Other names for uninvolved parenting include neglectful and rejecting parenting, toxic parenting, narcissistic parenting.
Pros: Both academic research and opinion in the media indicate no identifiable pros for this type of parenting.
Cons: This type of parenting style is generally considered quite damaging for children who are at risk of verbal, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. Children experience disinterest from their parents, confusion about healthy relationships, fear, high risk of mental illness, low self esteem, poor emotional and behaviour control, and poor social skills. Often such children find themselves in trouble with the law. They experience rejection and high stress levels.