In this article on the 3 parenting styles formulated by Diana Baumrind, you'll get:
• Quick background information about her research and methods.
• An important understanding of her 1960s concepts of demandingness and responsiveness that she used as 'measuring' tools to categorize the parenting styles.
• A detailed but lively description of her results:
- The authoritarian parenting style
- The permissive parenting style
- The authoritative parenting style
- And the later added, neglectful parenting style.
Back in the early 1960s, developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted her famous child care research.
In her study she and her research team followed more than 100 middle class children of preschool-age. Baumrind's primary research methods were interviews and observation.
The aim of Diana Baumrind's child parent behavior study was to formulate and evaluate the effect of the most typical Western parenting styles.
Diana Baumrind's 3 parenting styles are these:
Her findings were ground breaking at the time and her analytical methods and results have ever since been subject to both academic acclaim and criticism.
In her study Diana Baumrind used two aspects of parenting that she found so important that all her data was evaluated and the essence of the 3 parenting styles defined in relation to these two elements.
Her two analytical tools for formulating the parenting styles were:
In the words of Diana Baumrind herself, responsiveness describes "the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion by being attuned, supportive, and acquiescent to children's special needs and demands" (Baumrind, 1991)
In other words, responsiveness is about how much or how little parents meet and respond to their children's needs!
I relation to demandingness, Diana Baumrind says that it refers to "the claims parents make on children to become integrated into the family whole, by their maturity demands, supervision, disciplinary efforts and willingness to confront the child who disobeys". (Baumrind, 1991).
Another word for demandingness is control. The demandingness continuum (high vs. low) describes the level of behavior control parents exercise on their kids based on their expectations of 'mature' behavior.
Before describing each of the 3 parenting styles in detail, I will just explain the model I've made above.
The parenting styles model has two axes. Each axis represents one of Baumrind's parenting themes which is 'high' in one end and 'low' in the other. Together these two axes of demandingness and responsiveness create four quadrants where each parenting styles is placed:
This means that in reality most people don't just fit neatly into one archetype.
Typically people behave according to one primary archetype in most situations and then often have traits from some of the other parenting styles in other situations.
We people are not as 'black and white' as models portray us to be!
There's no doubt that Baumrind favors the authoritative parenting style and finds the authoritarian parenting style too strict and the permissive parenting style too soft.
I don't favor any of them, not even the authoritative parenting style. My personal approach is different from all of them.
But I will not be commenting on or evaluating her research results right here. However, if you're academically curious or just feel:
I recommend you go on reading this reflective article on parenting styles .
In that article of mine you'll get to:
E.g. I'll present you with insightful comments from developmental psyhologist Stephen Greenspan and psychologist Wendy S. Grolnick who both find Baumrind's focus on high control inadequate and somewhat rigid.
For now, let's see what these 3 parenting styles are about.
The extreme, archetypical representation of authoritarian parents:
To get a mental image of the archetypical authoritarian family, try picturing a typical 1950s American family: There are traditional family values (patriarchal), set family roles, firm rules and everybody behaves in a predictable, orderly fashion.
Main child discipline instrument:
Strict control maintained via rigid rules. Rules are typically enforced via threat and punishment.
The authoritarian parents' behavior, value and belief system:
Kids' social behavior and inner being (the effect of the authoritarian parenting style):
The extreme, archetypical representation of Permissive Parenting:
The archetypical image of permissive parenting, also called indulgent parenting, is that of a conflict scared parent desperately trying to maintain a 'friendship' with his or her bossy child rather than being 'a parent'.
The child behaves in a 'unruly' fashion, oblivious of other people's needs and is only interested in having fun. Many people believe that permissive parenting is a curse of the modern age: The child is seen as being too much in the centre!
Main child discipline instrument:
Use of reasoning, manipulation and / or bribes as means to achieve some level of control.
The permissive parents' behavior, value and belief system:
Kids' social behavior and inner being (the effect of the permissive parenting style):
This one of the 3 parenting styles is Baumrind's ideal parenting style.
Baumrind views authoritative parenting as a sort of middle ground, taking the best from the authoritarian parenting style, high control, and the best from the permissive parenting style, high responsiveness.
Even though Baumrind's research is 50 years old, many people (not me), child experts included, see the authoritative parenting styles as the 'ideal' parenting style.
Main child discipline instrument:
Control is achieved via the use of firm but fair reasoning as a base for 'moderately' open negotiations along with positive reinforcement.
The authoritative parents' behavior, value and belief system:
Kids' social behavior and inner being (the effect of the authoritative parenting style):
I think The Cosby Show represent an archetypical authoritative family: Control / demandingness is high and responsiveness / warmth is high as well.
The uninvolved parents fulfil their children's physical needs but are otherwise distant, detached, and disengaged.
The uninvolved parents may lead 'full' lives but their life is emotionally separate from that of their children. There are few demands and limits and communication and responsiveness is low.
The children of neglectful parents have low self esteem (no attention makes them feel unimportant) and they are less socially competent than children of raised with the other parenting styles.
Children and adolescents whose parents are uninvolved perform most poorly in all domains.
However, the study is more than 50 years and I think it does show.
Among other things, I think her academic and analytical point of departure - the presumption of high control being an important definitive of 'good' parenting - is a direct reflection of the early 1960s societal norms and mindset.
If you want more 'meta thinking' and want to see my analytical perspectives on her 3 parenting styles, you're welcome to dive into this this article
Your Positive Parenting Ally,
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Tracing Diana Baumrind's Parenting Styles Through History! Unravelling the Essence of the Dominant Parenting Paradigms of the Western World
The Four Basic Styles of Parenting Taken a Step Further: Reviewing Diana Baumrind's Model with the Tool of High Awareness.
A Fascinating Historical View on the Authoritarian Parenting Style Along with Deep Insights into Authoritarian Parents' Thought Pattern
and Its Effect on Their Kids.
A Psychological Profile on Authoritarian Parents! Understanding the Authoritarian Personality from Within!
The Essence of the Authoritarian Parenting Style and the Long Term Effects of Strict Parenting!
The Permissive Parenting Style Seen in an Existential Light. The Beingness of Permissive Parenting vs. the Beingness of Positive, Unconditional Parenting!
Understanding the nature of the permissive parenting style: Going beyond Diana Baumrind's idea of low demandingness and get deep insights into the psychology of permissive parents.
Permissive Parenting Historically and Psychologically: The Rise of 'Permissive' Parenting and the 3 Fear Based Indulgent Parenting Strategies!
A Psychological Profile on 3 Types of Permissive Parents: Understand Their Indulgent Behavior by Understanding Their Ego Fears!
Deep Insights into the Authoritative Parenting Style along with Modern Perspectives on Diana Baumrind's Beloved 'Firm Parental Control'!
Academic Criticism of the Authoritative Parenting Style: Questioning Diana Baumrind's Celebration of High Control!
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