5 Amazing Ways Baumrind’s Parenting Styles Can Help You

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Curious about how Diana Baumrind’s Parenting Styles can help your parenting?

Parenting in today’s modern world is a challenge!

As parent’s our lives are busier than ever. We work harder than the generations before and often find our time and patience stretched thin. So taking the time to look at our own parenting style and educate ourselves on how to improve it often seems like an impossible task.

Luckily there are experts we can learn from and it doesn’t have to take up big chunks of our precious time.

Diana Baumrind is considered one of the top experts in identifying parenting styles.

Specifically, she is a clinical psychologist whose studies on parenting styles are still considered groundbreaking today. When she released her work in the 1960’s she began a movement that saw the rise in the authoritative parenting style.

At the time the 2 dominant parenting styles were permissive and authoritarian.

In this post, we’ll explore Diana Baumrind’s parenting styles. We’ll also look at how they fit in with today’s modern world.

But most importantly, we’ll help identify which parenting style you are. And we’ll give actionable tips on how to change the areas you aren’t happy with.

What are Diana Baumrind’s Parenting Styles?

In truth, in today’s modern world, I believe there are more than three main styles of parenting.

But at the time of her original work, Baumrind’s parenting styles only included:

  • Authoritative – This “parent attempts to direct the child’s activities but in a rational, issue-oriented manner.” The parent encourages verbal give and take. They share with the child the reasoning behind a policy. They also solicit objections when the child refuses to conform. “Both autonomous self-will and disciplined conformity are valued.”
  • Authoritarian – This “parent attempts to shape, control, and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of the child in accordance with a set standard of conduct, usually an absolute standard”. The parent values obedience and favors punitive, forceful measures to curb self-will. The parent believes in keeping the child in their place. They restrict autonomy.
  • Permissive – This parent attempts to behave in a lax and accepting manner towards the child’s impulses, desires, and actions. The parent makes few demands for household responsibility and orderly behavior. They are available for the child if needed but don’t model the behavior to would like to see in the child.

Dive in deeper on Baumrind’s parenting styles and check out what she and 4 other parent experts have to say in her groundbreaking book Parenting for Character. Amazingly available for under 10 bucks on Amazon Prime!

The 4th parenting style & the dangers of the neglectful parent

Later the neglectful style was split off from the permissive style by the work of Maccoby & Martin in 1983.

Maccoby & Martin built onto the work of Diana Baumrind’s parenting styles so this 4th style was a natural continuation of her work.

They believed that a neglectful parent was more selfish than a permissive parent. The neglectful parent is one who consistently puts their own need above the child’s needs.

Unlike the permissive parent who sets few boundaries but is available if needed, the neglectful parent is often mentally and/or physically unavailable to the child.

I believe that in today’s modern world there are actually 7 main parenting styles. If you’re curious about them but especially the 3 worst ones, I highly recommend you take a moment and take a look at my Poor Parenting Examples.

How does permissive parenting affect a child?

The permissive parent doesn’t want to be the heavy.

They don’t want to have to set boundaries and guidelines. In turn, they see the child more as a friend than someone who needs guidance and structure.

This parent prefers to avoid the conflict that can come from holding kids accountable to a set of rules.

Often times age-appropriateness is an issue with the permissive parent. Ultimately the permissive parent is driven by their own insecurity and need to be loved. They (wrongly) believe that the child won’t love them if they set clear structure and boundaries.

It’s also easier (at least in the early years) to avoid tantrums and meltdowns by giving in to the child’s every whim.

The downsides of permissive parenting are that the child can sometimes not have a clear understanding of right and wrong. They may also use inappropriate language at school they learned from their parent.

Because they don’t have a clear sense of boundaries and rules as they age into adulthood they may have a hard time adapting to societal norms and rules.

All of this can lead to the child to grow up with a high sense of entitlement. After all, they were allowed to do almost anything they wanted to as a child and as an adult, it can be very hard to realize that life doesn’t work that way.

So if you’re seeing some of the Worst Child Behavior Problems and Solutions now, it’s time to take action. And that action should start by looking at ourselves.

Interested in the 2 Best Selling Parenting Books on Amazon Prime?

There’s How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. This amazing read boasts 4.5 stars and 900 reviews.

Baumrind's parenting styles Middle Class Dad How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

This book dives deep by “Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.”

Then there’s The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson.

Baumrind's parenting styles Middle Class Dad The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive

“In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the best-selling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson demystify the meltdowns and aggravation, explaining the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures.”

This book also features 4.5 stars and over 800 reviews so you know both of these are excellent books.

Enjoy one of them for free as an audiobook when you sign up for a free 14 day trial with Audible!

Who came up with the different parenting styles?

Of course, parenting has been around as long as human-kind has been around. One of the earliest known published works was in 1693 by John Locke’s called “Some Thoughts Concerning Education”.

But in modern times, there’s no denying that Baumrind’s parenting styles are considered the foundation on which we operate.

Then, as I mentioned above, in 1983, Baumrind’s parenting styles was expounded and expanded by Maccoby and Martin.

Of course, in today’s modern world many experts have added to the 3-4 original parenting styles with styles such as:

  • Attachment Parenting
  • Conscious Parenting
  • Helicopter Parenting

In the early 70’s Baumrind’s parenting styles research was expanded to include how different races and parenting styles affect children. She was noted to have observed that Black parents using the authoritarian style were perceived more warmly and lovingly by their children than White parents.

For an excellent look at today’s parenting challenges, take a look at my post on the 11 Most Common Parenting Issues. I not only walk you through the issues but give you some simple solutions you’ll love!

What is the best type of parenting style?

Baumrind's parenting styles Middle Class Dad Mom and Daughter

Of all Diana Baumrind’s parenting styles, she was the champion of the Authoritative parenting style.

She noted in one of her published works “(the (parents) monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative”.

In truth, I think most of us are a blend of parenting styles. Even truer is that you likely aren’t the same style as your spouse or partner. Thus learning how to identify the different aspects of both parents is crucial.

My wife and I blend attachment parenting and authoritative parenting with a little bit of conscious parenting.

For us that works perfectly. For you, you may find blending other styles works better.

There isn’t one style fits all but by just asking the questions and seeking knowledge about Baumrind’s parenting styles as well as the others, that makes you a great parent.

Dive in deeper on some amazing Authoritative Parenting Examples you may want to try with your kids.

After all, great parents aren’t perfect. But they don’t give up and they keep trying to get better.

What’s my favorite parenting book?

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Dr. Meg Meeker. With 3 daughters I need all the help I can get!  This amazing book has 1000 reviews and features 4.5 stars so I’m hardly alone in singing its praises.

Baumrind's parenting styles Middle Class Dad Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know

But fear not, she also has Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men for those of you with sons. I have no experience with sons, but I know that book is equally amazing.

So what are the . . . 

5 Amazing Ways Baumrind’s Parenting Styles Can Help You?

1. You can’t just pull rank on your kids

The authoritarian parent is a “because I said so” parent. They (incorrectly) believe that if they are firm enough, mean enough or loud enough the child will comply.

Kids may do what you want in the heat of the moment, but if you want them to behave well in your absence it’s important that they feel loved and respected.

When they feel that way, they’ll be much more apt to do as requested even when they disagree, and especially when you aren’t looking.

If you’re worried your style might be too authoritarian, I highly recommend you take a moment and review my Worst Authoritarian Parenting Examples.

2. To be kind sometimes means being firm

The permissive parent foolishly believes that by being more friend than parent to their child that their child will be lovingly loyal and obedient.

In actuality, while children crave boundaries, structure, and guidelines, they may not always be receptive to them. As a parent, it’s our job to ensure their safety, emotional growth and, most importantly, the ability to live in the real world.

Sometimes we are required to do that even when our parenting is not welcome.

3. Being too restrictive with your kids could backfire

With an authoritarian parent, the child may learn to do as requested out of fear. However, they will be more afraid of the parent than loving and ultimately will find ways to misbehave behind the parent’s back.

So if you have a specific goal, try giving it clearly, and even a deadline if applicable. But then step back and let them figure out how to achieve it, making it clear they can ask for help if necessary.

If they don’t hit the goal then talk through it with them so they understand what to do differently next time.

4. Telling kids the “why” behind your request is crucial

Most kids, once they hit age 6 or so are old enough to be told why something is being asked of them. Kids don’t always understand our requests. But explanations benefit the whole family in 2 important ways.

First, it helps them to understand where we are coming from. But, more importantly, it lets them know we respect them enough to take the time to explain our thoughts.

5. Model the behavior you want your kids to emulate

Kids learn best from watching how we behave.

This is not only true with how we behave with them, but how we interact with our spouse, their teachers and anyone they see us connecting with.

Thus, while we should not pretend to be perfect, it’s crucial that we act and communicate in a way that we want them to do too.

If your kids see you berating waiters or yelling at your spouse you are literally programming them to behave the same way.


Have you struggled with your parenting style or how it relates to Baumrind parenting styles?

So we looked at Baumrind’s parenting styles and also looked at how they fit in with how we live today.

After all, the parenting work of Diana Baumrind was developed in the 1960’s and a lot has changed since then. Thus it’s crucial that we take the information that’s helpful to us and blend it with what’s realistic for the modern world of today.

Most importantly we looked at how to identify what parenting style we are and how to change in the areas we want to grow in.

Parenting is the #1 most important thing that will save our planet.

Children are literally our future and the generations we raise today will be the leaders of tomorrow and the parents of the future. Whether each generation gets a little bit better or worse is up to us!

Why listen to me?

I’m a father of 3, married to a teacher and my day job is Academy Director of a large school with upwards of 400 students (and a 2nd location with upwards of 100 students), so spend all day, every day, interacting with children, parents and I’ve seen it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Any parenting tips not covered here? Comment below!

Ready to dive in deeper?

I have a FREE 6 part mini-parenting course called Imperfect Parenting!

Learn more and get signed up today for better parenting tomorrow.

If you like this post, please follow my Parenting board on Pinterest for more great tips from myself and top parenting experts!

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