In addition to the types of families we will work with, there will also be different parenting styles within those families. Diana Baumrind, looking at the demands parents place on their children and their responsiveness to their child’s needs, placed parenting into the following categories:
- Authoritarian Parenting Style: Authoritarian parenting is a strict style in which parents set rigid rules and high expectations for their children but do not allow them to make decisions for themselves. When rules are broken, punishments are swift and severe. It is often thought of as “my way or the highway” parenting.
- Authoritative Parenting Style: Authoritative parents provide their children with boundaries and guidance, but give their children more freedom to make decisions and learn from their mistakes. It is referred to as a more democratic approach to parenting.
- Permissive Parenting Style: Permissive parents give their children very few limits and have more of a peer relationship than a traditional parent-child dynamic. They are usually super-responsive to their kids’ needs and give in to their children’s wants. Today we use the term “helicopter or lawnmower parenting.”
- Neglectful Parenting Style: A style added later by researchers Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin, neglectful parents do not interact much with their children, placing no limits on their behavior but also failing to meet their needs. 
While this research suggested that children raised with authoritative parents have better outcomes, we must be careful not to rush to judgment when working with families. Our style of parenting is deeply rooted in how our parents raised us. As early childhood professionals, we have the opportunity to collaborate with families to join in working together for the betterment of their children, while considering culture, personality, and other circumstances.
Pause to Reflect
What parenting styles did your parents use with you? Do you see yourself using any of these styles as a teacher? Why or why not?