Parenting Styles: Are You Helping or Hurting? 3 Quizzes

Parenting StylesNavigating the complexities of parenthood involves understanding various parenting styles and their impact on children’s development. From authoritarian to permissive, each approach reflects differing beliefs and practices.

In this article, we delve into the significance of parenting styles, exploring how they shape children’s behavior, emotions, and overall wellbeing. By examining the principles, advantages, and potential drawbacks of each style, we aim to provide insight into effective parenting strategies.

Understanding the nuances of these approaches equips parents with the knowledge they need to cultivate nurturing environments that foster healthy growth and resilience in their children. Join us on this journey to discover the art of parenting.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Parenting Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients identify opportunities to implement positive parenting practices and support healthy child development.

Unpacking the 4 Parenting Styles

Theorized by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, three core parenting styles included authoritarian, indulgent, and authoritative (Toker, 2023). Maccoby and Martin later added neglectful parenting. Let’s examine each.

1. Authoritarian

Authoritarian parenting sets firm boundaries, and the rules are restrictive and punitive (Hartini et al., 2022). This style demands that children follow their parents’ orders and does not allow for consideration of opinions or feelings.

This negative style of parenting favors punishment and rejection over warmth and support (Zhang et al., 2021). Parents exhibiting this type of parenting have households with expectations of obedience and adherence to rules without explanation or negotiation.

Communication tends to be one sided, where parents dictate instructions and expectations as opposed to engaging in dialogue with their children.

Authoritarian parenting may result in well-behaved and compliant children; however, these children may experience feelings of resentment, low self-esteem, and a lack of autonomy in the long run.

2. Indulgent

Indulgent parenting, also known as permissive parenting, involves parents overindulging their children.

There are three ways parents may negatively indulge their children: material, relational, and behavioral (Wolford et al., 2020).

  • Material indulgence occurs when parents provide too many things, such as tangible items, as well as too much time, entertainment, and food.
  • Relational indulgence consists of being overly protective or solving their children’s problems for them.
  • When parents set few expectations for their offspring, this is considered behavioral indulgence. Examples may include teaching few skills, not requiring chores, and failing to enforce rules.

The effects of this overindulgence include children lacking in problem-solving and social skills (Love et al., 2022). A lack of autonomy from this style of parenting may lead to maladaptive motivation skills and, possibly, depression.

3. Neglectful

Also referred to as uninvolved parenting, neglectful parenting is characterized by a lack of responsiveness and involvement in a child’s life. Low control and low responsiveness are signs of this parenting style (Febiyanti & Rachmawati, 2021).

In this type of parenting, a parent may provide for their child’s basic needs of shelter and food; however, they fail to provide emotional support, guidance, or supervision. This form of parenting may result from parental stress, substance abuse, mental health issues, or a lack of awareness about effective parenting practices.

Children raised by neglectful parents may experience feelings of abandonment, insecurity, and low self-esteem as their emotional and developmental needs are left unmet. For more on this, browse our article discussing the consequences of childhood emotional neglect.

4. Authoritative

Authoritative parenting is characterized by warmth, responsiveness, and high levels of parental involvement, coupled with clear and consistent boundaries and expectations.

In authoritative parenting, parents maintain open communication with their children, listen to their thoughts and feelings, and offer guidance and support while also encouraging independence and autonomy.

Unlike authoritarian parents, who enforce strict rules without flexibility or permissiveness, authoritative parents set clear guidelines but are willing to negotiate and adapt based on the child’s individual needs and developmental stage (Febiyanti & Rachmawati, 2021).

This parenting style fosters a positive parent–child relationship built on mutual respect and understanding.

Children raised by authoritative parents tend to exhibit higher levels of self-esteem, social competence, and academic achievement, as well as lower levels of behavioral problems compared to those raised under other parenting styles (Febiyanti & Rachmawati, 2021).

Understanding the Psychology of Parenting Styles

Parenting PsychologyParenting entails engaging in daily interactions that encompass both physical and environmental elements for the purpose of nurturing all facets of a child’s growth and character.

Parents typically wield significant influence over their child’s development. Parenting styles play a critical role in the development of children, particularly their brain neural activity and executive control (Febiyanti & Rachmawati, 2021; Zhang et al., 2021).

Using attachment theory as a lens, securely attached children have a balance between the attachment and exploratory behavioral systems, which allows children to explore competently, develop executive functioning, and adapt to conflict conditions (Zhang et al., 2021).

Baumrind proposed two dimensions for parenting styles: responsiveness and demandingness (Arafat et al., 2020). The degree of responsiveness and demandingness displayed by the four parenting styles differs from one another, as shown below.

Baumrind Theory of Parenting Styles

12 Lesser Known & Different Parenting Styles

Now that we’ve covered the four main parenting styles, here are a few more to add. Some may be familiar, while others may be new to you. Let’s dive in.

1. Positive parenting

There is an emphasis on unconditional empathy and guidance in this type of parenting (Pezalla & Davidson, 2024). This style of parenting centers around warmth, sensitivity, nurturance, and acceptance (Prime et al., 2023).

In positive parenting, open communication and mutual respect are practiced, building a strong, healthy relationship between parent and child.

2. Conscious parenting

Conscious parenting views children as the teachers of life’s lessons (Pezalla & Davidson, 2024). These parents practice mindfulness and introspection in raising their children. Parents feel that being present and fully engaged in the parenting process is important.

3. Gentle parenting

This type of parenting combines positive and conscious parenting. While gentle parenting addresses children’s feelings and motivations for behavior, it may not appear to correct the behavior itself (Pezalla & Davidson, 2024). Giving children choices, as opposed to orders, is the name of the game.

4. Montessori

When it comes to educational philosophy, you may have heard of Montessori but not know it is a type of parenting approach as well.

Like the educational approach, this style emphasizes independence, self-directed learning, and respect for the child’s natural development process. Freedom within limits is encouraged, and the aim is to support a child’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills (Macià-Gual & Domingo-Penafiel, 2023).

5. Free-range

Free-range parenting is a new style that is gaining popularity (Venkatesan, 2023). This approach prioritizes giving children freedom, independence, and responsibility to explore and learn about the world around them.

Similar to free-range farming, where animals are allowed to roam and graze freely, free-range parenting encourages children to take risks and explore their neighborhoods in order to encourage autonomy, foster resilience, build self-confidence, and improve problem-solving skills.

6. Helicopter

Helicopter parenting entails excessive interference, involvement, and control over their children’s lives (Gao et al., 2023).

Hovering is a common practice that limits children’s ability to learn to cope and overcome challenges. Although these types of parents may have good intentions, they are placing their children at a disadvantage by preventing them from experiencing disappointment or failure.

7–9. Snowplow, bulldozer, and lawnmower

Snowplow, bulldozer, and lawnmower parenting can be dreaded parenting styles, especially by teachers who have to educate students raised by such parents (Rhoads, 2023).

  • Snowplow parenting involves clearing the way of any obstacles in their children’s lives.
  • Bulldozer parents actively aggressively eliminate any obstacles in their children’s way.
  • Lawnmower parents mow down any potential challenges before their children encounter them.

All of these types of parents remove obstacles and challenges from their child’s path. Similar to helicopter parents, these parents also disadvantage their children by preventing them from experiencing life skills.

Unintended negative consequences include struggles with resilience, problem-solving, and independence (Rhoads, 2023).

10. Attachment

Attachment parenting is also a newer form of parenting. These parents aim to promote healthy psycho-emotional development (Armao & Anagnostaki, 2023).

Common practices with this type of parenting include babywearing, responsiveness, co-sleeping, and long-term breastfeeding. The main ideal is meeting the child’s needs promptly to foster a secure attachment.

11. Tiger

In this parenting style, parents have high expectations for their children’s academic and extracurricular achievements. These caregivers may use pressure and strict discipline to push children to excel (Vatsadze, 2024). Strict regulations, lofty goals, and stern language are elements of tiger parenting.

12. Panda

Contrary to tiger parenting, panda parenting encourages unstructured play, highlighting the importance of love, affection, and independence in children (Vatsadze, 2024). This is a gentler and more relaxed approach to parenting.

Download 3 Free Positive Parenting Exercises (PDF)

These detailed, science-based exercises will equip you or your clients with tools to improve parenting styles and support healthy child development.

The Most Effective Parenting Type According to Research

And the winner is: authoritative parenting! Well, mostly. Authoritative can be described as “adequate” because of its balance of warmth and control (Arafat et al., 2020).

Further, children who experience authoritative parenting are known to be self-reliant and achievement oriented, and they tend to cope well with stress (Arafat et al., 2020). It is one of the more common types of parenting and the recommended style (Febiyanti & Rachmawati, 2021). However, there are benefits that can be taken from each of the parenting styles.

As a result, the best parenting style tends to be shaped by the cultural norms and values prevalent in a given society (Febiyanti & Rachmawati, 2021). Methods used in one culture may be effective but deemed maladaptive by others.

Parenting styles - Scout O'Donnell

Curious about the difference between parenting strategies? Scout O’Donnell describes her experience with varying parenting styles in her TEDx talk.

3 Quizzes to Discover Your Parenting Style

To determine what you could do to become a better parent, you should consider taking a parenting style quiz. These quizzes could help you understand your children better and make positive changes to your style. Here are a few to get you started.

The Gottman Institute offers a self-scored parenting styles quiz. In this online quiz, you will answer questions that place you in one of four parenting styles: disapproving, dismissing, laissez-faire, or emotion coaching.

365 Tests offers an automatically scored quiz addressing the following four parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and neglectful. This online quiz consists of 25 online questions.

Active Parenting Publishers offers a 30-question Parenting Quiz that will determine if you are an autocratic, permissive, or active parent. A printable version of the test is also available.

4 Helpful Resources for Parents

Parenting is hard! Maybe you haven’t developed your particular style. Here are a few resources to assist.


The following books will help you sift through the various parenting strategies and become the parent you wish to be.

1. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Brain – Daniel Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson

The Whole-Brain Child

Forbes voted this the best parenting book overall.

This resource draws from neuroscience research and explores practical strategies for parents to promote healthy emotional and cognitive development.

Twelve key principles for integrating the right and left hemispheres of the brain are introduced to help children thrive.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk – Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

Voted “Best parenting book for school-aged kids” by Forbes, this book provides valuable insights and tools for parents to effectively communicate and build strong connections with their children.

The strategies will allow you to engage in respectful and empathetic communication, fostering cooperation and understanding.

Find the book on Amazon.


Take a listen to the following podcasts to help answer some of your burning questions about the trials of parenting.

Ask Lisa: The Psychology of Parenting

Highlighted by Good Housekeeping, in this podcast, Lisa Damour answers popular timely and timeless parenting questions.

Teamed with journalist Reena Ninan, the duo provides practical advice to help parents trudge through the stressful aspects of parenting.

Find the podcast here.

Zen Parenting Radio

Looking to add a little mindfulness to your parenting repertoire? Check out this podcast suggested by Zen Parenting Radio helps you discover mindfulness, self-acceptance, compassion, and connection in parenting and life in general.

Find the podcast here.

Tools From has a number of helpful resources when it comes to parenting. As always, these articles, worksheets, and exercises are research-based and scientifically backed.


If our abbreviated list of parenting books wasn’t enough to wet your whistle, you can refer to our more comprehensive article Best Positive Parenting Books & Workbooks for Parents.

Are you looking to build your toolbox of discipline strategies? Especially in methods that align with positive parenting? Then our article 21 Healthy Discipline Strategies for Positive Parenting will be right up your alley.

On the other hand, are you looking to add to your reinforcement repertoire? Then you could review our article Positive Reinforcement for Kids: 11+ Examples for Parents.


Our Interpersonal Parenting Tips worksheet is an excellent source for parents wanting to strengthen their relationship with their children and reduce conflict.

If you feel like you’ve lost your purpose with parenting or just need to reevaluate your values as a parent, our worksheet Parenting With a Purpose will help you gain clarity, making day-to-day decision-making easier.

If you want to shape the wellbeing and future of children’s lives, consider this collection of 17 validated positive parenting tools designed for parents, caretakers, and guardians. Use them to lay the groundwork for children’s lifelong success and happiness.

A Take-Home Message

In conclusion, parenting is a journey filled with challenges, growth, and boundless love. By understanding the various parenting styles and their implications, we empower ourselves to make informed choices that best suit the needs of our children and families.

Whether embracing authoritative guidance, fostering independence through a permissive approach, or finding balance amid the spectrum of styles, what remains paramount is an unwavering commitment to our children’s wellbeing.

Let us continue to navigate this journey with empathy, patience, and an open heart, knowing that our efforts to parent with intention and love will leave an indelible mark on the lives of our precious little ones.

Are there any parenting styles we missed? Share in the comments below!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Parenting Exercises for free.

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