Different parenting styles
There’s no right or wrong way to parent and everyone approaches it in a different way.
In 1991, Diana Baumrind did independent scientific research into different parenting styles. Her research identified five main parenting styles. These are:
In the study, most people were aiming to be the assertive parent.
Take the quiz below to see your dominant style, according to this research, and then get advice on ways you can incorporate other styles into your own. You can also download the handout from our website.
- I find it hard to apply rules consistently: B
- My child thinks my rules and punishments are too tough: A
- I try to stop my child taking risks: C
- I change my mind constantly when dealing with my child: B
- Sometimes I get upset and tearful in order to get my own way: C
- My child knows how to get round me: B
- I try to give my child more responsibility year after year: E
- I worry about my child being exposed to danger of any sort: C
- I find it hard to let my child make decisions: C
- I mostly leave my child to get on with things and don’t interfere: D
- People say I expect too much of my child: A
- I think children need to learn to look after themselves: D
- I don’t feel the need to keep tabs on my child all the time, they pretty much come and go as they please: D
- In our house we all agree the rules: E
- My child accepts that I have rights to a life too: E
- I’m the boss at home: A
- My child complains I’m always telling them what to do: A
- I try to let my child face the consequences of their actions: E
- I expect my child to do as I say: A
- I’m not good at making decisions myself: B
- Sometimes I want to be in charge and other times I leave that to someone else: B
- Even when I have to tell my child off, I let them know it’s what they have done that I don’t like, not them: E
- ‘Anything for a quiet life’ is my motto: D
- I don’t see the need for rules at home; we all pretty much do our own thing: D
- I’m a real worrier when it comes to my child: C
So, what’s your dominant parenting style?
- Mostly As… Authoritarian
- Mostly Bs… Inconsistent
- Mostly Cs… Overprotective
- Mostly Ds… Permissive
- Mostly Es… Assertive
Find out what each style means below, then have a read about the assertive parent to see if you want to incorporate any of what they do into your own parenting.
With this style, the parent likes to be in control and to be the boss. When they speak to children, they can sound hostile. They can set rules backed up by excessive or inappropriate punishments. Sometimes they make decisions for teenagers without consulting them.
Here the parent is unpredictable, sometimes they’ll exercise control, sometimes they leave it to the teenagers themselves. They apply rules inconsistently. They may try to avoid conflict to keep the peace.
Here the parent feels the need to control their child to protect them from harm or danger. They can worry excessively about their deaf child or teenager and don’t always allow them to take risks.
A permissive parent exercises little control. They don’t set rules and they provide very few time limits or restrictions, sometimes handing over too much responsibility to the child or teenager.
They set clear expectations and rules. They hand over some control to teenagers as they mature. They give lots of praise and encouragement when expectations are met. They allow teenagers to face the consequences of their action and will respect their rights. They also expect their own rights to be acknowledged too.