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The Four Styles of Parenting

Miriam Galindo

Dr. Miriam Galindo has been involved in the mental health field for nearly three decades. A graduate of Trinity College of Graduate Studies, she has completed hundreds of continuing education and training hours in such areas as child abuse, child custody, and domestic violence. Now in private practice, Miriam Galindo works with at-risk children and parents.

There are four basic parenting styles that affect how children mature. Following is a brief description of these four styles:

1. Authoritarian: Among authoritarian parents, discipline is strict, punishment is common, and rules are not explained to the children. Within these households, the children do not have much ability to make their own choices in life and usually receive a “Because I said so” when requesting an explanation for certain rules.
2. Permissive: Also known as indulgent parenting, this style gives children free reign to behave how they want. Parents offer limited guidance to their kids and have very limited rules. While communication between parent and child is open, permissive parents prefer letting their kids make their own decisions. These parents are usually warm and nurturing.
3. Uninvolved: Most uninvolved parents provide little nurturing to their children and may be neglectful due to substance abuse or mental health issues. They rarely speak to their children, do not ask about school or homework, and spend minimal time with their kids. Most children of uninvolved parents are given minimal guidance and rules and are expected to raise themselves.
4. Authoritative: Parents who are authoritative maintain more rules than permissive parents, but are less strict than authoritarian parents. This style is widely regarded as the more effective style for raising normal children. It ensures kids have a structured life and that they feel comfortable communicating with their parents.

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