Types of Parental Styles and How They Affect Family Relationships

The world evolves continuously, and the concept of parenting styles is no exception. Depending on their upbringing and culture, parents may develop different approaches to parenting that can have a lasting impact on their children. 

Every family is unique, and how parents raise their children can significantly impact family relationships. As the adage goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Parenting styles are how parents interact with their children and can shape the relationship between parent and child. It is essential to recognize that different parenting styles are not inherently “good” or “bad” but can have both positive and negative outcomes. 

The four main styles of parenting are: authoritarian, authoritative, indulgent, and neglectful. But before we get into the specifics of each style, it is essential to understand that parenting styles are not fixed; most parents employ a combination and blend of styles when it comes to parenting. Especially when it comes to having a child with special needs, parents are often forced to adjust their style. And the reason for this is that every child is different, so the parenting approach should be tailored to match the needs of the individual child. For instance, if the child is diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, parents may need to adjust their parenting style to accommodate the child’s challenges. For example, they may need to be more indulgent, providing a greater level of support and understanding than they would with other children. The injury might also require that parents become more authoritative, providing their child with greater structure and guidance. However, disorders in children may also impact the type of parenting style that is employed.

Let’s explore an in-depth look at each parenting style: 

1. Authoritarian Style: 

This is a strict, top-down approach to parenting. Parents who employ this style are typically unresponsive to their child’s emotional needs and tend to set rigid rules and expectations. Their primary focus is on teaching obedience and respect rather than fostering independent thinking and self-expression. However, there are some benefits to this parenting style, such as the child learning essential values and the importance of following rules. And the downside to this parenting style is that it often leads to a lack of communication between parent and child and can result in negative family relationships. There’s always a chance that a child may develop resentment towards their parents if they feel like their opinions are not valued. For instance, if a parent is constantly telling their child what to do and not allowing them any say in the decision-making process, they may grow up feeling like their parents don’t trust or respect them. Therefore, parents must balance setting expectations and allowing the child autonomy. 

2. Authoritative Style: 

This style of parenting is a balanced approach. Parents are both nurturing and firm, guiding while allowing their children to explore their independence. They create rules but also explain why those rules are essential. These parents have high expectations for their children but also provide the support and understanding necessary to help them reach their goals. This parenting style can benefit the family as a whole, as it fosters open communication between parent and child. The child learns important values such as respect and responsibility while feeling supported and able to express their thoughts freely. The downside, however, is that it can be time-consuming and require much patience from the parent. At the same time, it’s essential to recognize that this parenting style is the most effective in developing long-term, meaningful relationships between parent and child.

3. Indulgent Style: 

This style is also known as “permissive” parenting. Parents are nurturing and lenient, rarely setting rules or boundaries for their children. This parenting style allows the child to make decisions independently but does not provide the guidance, structure, or discipline necessary for children to learn important values. This can lead to children feeling entitled, unmotivated, and lacking in self-control. On the other hand, indulgent parenting can benefit the child by fostering strong relationships and allowing them to explore their independence. However, this approach may not be appropriate for a child with special needs. This is because the child may require more structure and guidance to help them cope with their challenges. Another reason why this style may not be beneficial is that it can lead to confusion and frustration, as the child does not have clear expectations for their behavior. For example, if the parent sets very few limits or rules, the child may not understand what is expected of them. 

4. Uninvolved or Neglectful Style: 

This is the least effective style of parenting. Parents uninvolved in their child’s life may be neglectful, physically, emotionally, or both. This parenting style can cause various issues for the child, ranging from developmental delays to emotional and behavioral problems. Uninvolved parenting can lead to the child feeling isolated and lacking in self-esteem, as they have not been given the guidance or support necessary for them to thrive. Moreover, the parent may miss out on important developmental milestones and not be aware of signs that their child may need help. Therefore, parents must be present and involved in their children’s lives and show them love and affection. And although it can be difficult, parents must be willing to set boundaries and provide the necessary guidance for their child to grow. But most of all, parents must be consistent and stay connected with their children. This will help to ensure that the child feels secure and loved. 


One of the essential roles of a parent is to provide guidance and support for their children. And to do this, parents must be aware of the various parenting styles and their consequences. Authoritative parenting is a balanced approach that sets clear expectations while allowing the child autonomy. Indulgent parenting is also known as “permissive” parenting and is more lenient, though it does not provide the same guidance or structure as authoritative parenting. Finally, uninvolved or neglectful parenting is the least effective and can lead to various issues for the child, such as developmental delays or emotional and behavioral problems. Therefore, parents must be involved in their child’s life, set boundaries and expectations, and provide the love and support necessary for them to thrive. Remember, a child’s well-being and future depend on the type of parenting they receive. 

Overall, parents must be aware of the different parenting styles and choose one suitable for their child. It may take some trial and error, but parents must be willing to stay connected with their children and provide the necessary guidance for them to grow. Ultimately, this will help foster long-term and meaningful relationships between parent and child.