12 Parenting Styles: Finding the Right Approach for You

What is your approach to parenting? Here are 12 different parenting styles to become familiar with.

If you’re not practicing the style that best resonates with you and your child, it may be time to change things!

1. Authoritative Parenting

With authoritative parenting, parents are responsive, supportive, and nurturing but have firm boundaries and limitations in place.

Behavior is controlled with rules and reasoning, and while a child’s viewpoint may be listened to, it doesn’t mean it will be accepted.


  • Children are more likely to be independent, socially well-adjusted, and self-reliant.
  • Children are less likely to be depressed, anxious, or anti-social.


  • Authoritative parents may struggle when children go through natural rebellious stages.
  • Can be difficult to implement as it requires a careful balance of freedom and discipline.

2. Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting is an extremely strict style of parenting where rules are imposed, and there’s no discussion or compromising — think “Children should be seen, not heard” approach.

Children are expected to be obedient and disciplined, and there’s little focus on nurturing.


  • Children are more prone to display good behavior and become goal driven.
  • Children are more aware of physical and emotional safety.


  • Children can become aggressive and frustrated.
  • Some children may become socially awkward or shy while unable to make confident decisions.
  • Children may suffer poor self-esteem and be unable to judge character effectively.

3. Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting involves nurturing and warm parents who don’t impose limits on their children. These parents don’t believe children should be controlled and won’t demand anything from them.


  • Children feel freer and are often more adventurous and confident.
  • With fewer limits, these children may become more creative or seek out hobbies and passions.


  • Children may become prone to behavioral problems.
  • Some children internalize problems and negative feelings the more they’re exposed to permissive parenting.
  • Children may present poor academic performance.

4. Neglectful Parenting

Often referred to as uninvolved parenting, neglectful parenting is when a parent only provides a child’s basic needs, such as food, a home, and clothing.

Beyond that, the parent is not interested in nurturing, supporting, or being involved in the child’s life. 


  • Children tend to become self-sufficient from an early age.
  • Children handle difficult situations independently and don’t require support.


  • Children may become anxious and stressed.
  • Some children may become physically and emotionally distant in adulthood.
  • Children in neglectful situations have a higher chance of abusing substances.

5. Tiger Parenting

With tiger parenting, parents are extremely strict and highly invested in their child’s performance and success, leaving little room to “just be a kid.”

This parent often pushes their child to be highly academic or get involved in high-status activities like sports and music.


  • Children become more productive and motivated.
  • Most children with tiger parents become more responsible and focused.


  • Children may believe that self-worth is linked to success.
  • Some children may become obsessed with perfectionism and set unrealistic goals for themselves (and future partners).
  • Many children in this situation suffer from anxiety and depression.

6. Attachment Parenting

Attachment parenting is about maintaining close physical and emotional closeness with the child. The concept is that children learn to thrive and trust when their needs are constantly met.

Some experts believe that children who never experience attachment parenting early in life may be unable to form healthy physical and emotional attachments later in life.


  • Children may experience a greater sense of self-agency.
  • Emotional regulation may be easier for children.
  • Higher self-esteem is common in children with attachment parenting.
  • Some children go on to have closer friendships in middle school.


  • Some children may learn to bully or control their parents.
  • Many children become demanding or prone to tantrums when things don’t go their way.
  • Some children may become shy or lack confidence without their parents around.
  • In some instances, children find it hard to get along with others and are completely unable to handle a conflict or a difference of opinion.

7. Gentle Parenting

Parents who practice gentle parenting believe it’s an evidence-based parenting style that leads to happy and confident children.

There are four main elements involved: empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries. 


  • Children learn how to empathize while creating their own boundaries.
  • Children are less likely to lack confidence or have anxiety.
  • In most instances, there’s less likelihood of the child suffering substance abuse.


  • This requires a lot of self-discipline and patience from parents.
  • Gentle parenting may hinder a child’s development in terms of independence.

8. Free-Range Parenting

Free-range parenting focuses on teaching children essential skills for life and then allowing them freedom based on their level of development.

Children are exposed to everyday life with minimal direct supervision, which forces them to make their own choices and learn how to solve problems.


  • Children are prone to self-sufficiency and increased confidence.
  • Children play more actively.
  • Most children develop better social skills and have more confidence in themselves in a group.


  • Some believe that children are exposed to greater safety risks when allowed to make their own decisions or without constant supervision.
  • May lead to children making poor decisions without guidance.

9. Positive Parenting

Positive parenting is the process of promoting a continual relationship between parent and child, including caring, leading, communicating, and teaching unconditionally.

Parents who take this approach believe that showing children kindness, love, and warmth and guiding them to behave correctly requires encouragement and constant teaching.

The underlying message of parents to these children is that they are loved, they matter, and they are meaningful.


  • Children learn to trust and be good judges of character.
  • In most instances, children learn to be empathetic and loving.
  • Children develop a strong sense of self-worth and confidence.
  • Children develop improved coping skills and can better regulate anger, frustration, and similar negative feelings.


  • Some experts believe that without being exposed to negative emotions and reactions, children may not learn how to manage/handle them.

10. Unconditional Parenting

The unconditional parenting style focuses on accepting your child, regardless of how they have acted or behaved and regardless of whether you disapprove or approve.

Parents who follow this parenting style believe that their child can reach full self-actualization through praise and encouragement. This is the “ignore the bad behavior and praise the good behavior” approach.


  • Children develop sound self-worth.
  • As children get older, they don’t fear coming to parents with problems and dangers that arise as they know they will be accepted no matter what.
  • Most children develop healthy self-confidence.


  • Some children may learn to take advantage of their parents and others as they don’t see any consequences of their actions.
  • Later in life, children may have unrealistic expectations of partners to accept or tolerate their behaviors.

11. Spiritual Parenting

Spiritual parenting focuses on obeying the rules and regulations of the family’s religion in order to be accepted.

This is sometimes a strict parenting style that may impose harsh rules and consequences on children.


  • Children may understand actions and consequences better than other children.
  • In some instances, children may develop higher levels of forgiveness.
  • Children may experience a greater sense of purpose.


  • Children may feel trapped or resentful later in life if they don’t agree with the spiritual or religious beliefs that were taught.
  • Some spiritual approaches may leave children feeling cut off from other children their age and lonely.

12. Helicopter Parenting

A helicopter parent is overly focused on the children. Helicopter parents pay extremely close attention to their child’s daily interactions, experiences, and problems.

The concept is to constantly oversee every aspect of your child’s life.

Key Characteristics of Helicopter Parents

  • Constant worry about a child’s safety.
  • Imposing more restrictions and rules on a child than their peers have.
  • Feeling anxious about how a child is doing in everyday life (worrying about tests and exams, for instance).
  • Micromanaging the children and jumping in to solve problems before they even arise.
  • Doing everything for the child, even if they could potentially do it for themselves (tying shoelaces, brushing teeth, fetching juice and food, etc).


  • Children may be nervous about making their own decisions or doing things independently.
  • Some children develop depression and anxiety.
  • Children may lack confidence or develop low self-esteem.

Final Thoughts

Not all parenting styles are equal, and after going over this brief list of parenting styles, you can pick out which are positive and negative approaches for your child.

Focus on positive parenting styles that help your child develop independently, and you’re on the right track.

If you feel that you have developed a negative parenting style, seek guidance from a counselor or therapist who can help you set actionable steps to help you become the type of parent you wish you could be for your child.