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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Patiño



Alright parents!! How confused are we with how to parent the future generation?!! One article is saying “don’t be too strict,” one says, “don’t be too lenient!”  One says give them freedom; one says give them rules!  There are no handbooks that come with children when they are born, so we somehow have to figure it out along the way.

The purpose of this blog to help provide some guidance on four different parenting styles and how they impact the child’s future including relationships and mental health.  You are the number one influence in your child’s life, remember that.  The diagram below can help you visualize each parenting style as we go through each one.




The Uninvolved Parent

Low in responsiveness (attention), low in demandingness (rules)


This is the most destructive parenting style of the four, that can really hurt their children’s future.  This is a parent that is checked out, very disengaged, very neglectful.  This type of parent is not very involved with the child’s life, not very nurturing, lacks structure and rules.  Sadly, they don’t tend to spend time with their children or provide much guidance to the child.  They are indifferent to the child’s needs.  

You will often see this type of parenting when a parent is struggling with drug or alcohol problems, mental health challenges like untreated depression, or feeling overwhelmed with parenting (teen mother with little to no support).  An example would be a child being left home alone a lot, with no dinner being made or organized for them. Also, could be a child that will be out in the neighborhood all day, and the parent does not know where they are or who they are with. 


Children being raised in this environment with little to no nurturance or structure, have a very high risk of risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol problems, delinquency, violence/criminal activity, poor peer relationships, lack of self-control, and low self-esteem.  As a friend or romantic partner, they often can run away from problems or use drugs or alcohol to cope.


Signs you might be an uninvolved parent:

-        You do not know your child’s teacher well or don’t communicate with them regularly.

-        Don’t know your children’s friends.

-        You do not know how your child is performing with school or sports.

-        You do not provide structure or consequences.

-        You let your child do anything or go almost anywhere.

-        You do not spend quality time with them regularly or child is left alone a lot without food.




Authoritarian Parenting Style (The Dictator)

Low in responsiveness, high in demandingness


This parenting style is often very well-intentioned, with the parents having very high standards, but lacks warmth.  In a nutshell, it’s a lot of limits with no freedom.  These parents expect blind obedience from the child, can be punitive, punish the child excessively, and often are critical with their words. 

This parenting style is also not healthy, because it teaches the child not to have a voice, not to speak up for themselves and develop very low self-esteem. This parent will not let their middle schooler go to their friend’s house that seems to be a good friend, even though the child has earned it with good grades and behavior.  This parent will scream at their kids for disagreeing, versus having a conversation.

Children raised with a dictator parent often have ‘more mental health issues including depression, suicide attempts, alcoholism, and drug use.  These children are unhappy, have lower self-esteem, and perform worse academically.’ ( With the extremely high levels of control, the child feels trapped in a cage, and often once they get out, they go out of control due to not being taught to think for themselves.  They are also at a much higher risk to get into controlling/abusive relationships either with friends or romantic partners.


Signs you might be a dictator:

-        You often answer with ‘because I said so’ or say, ‘that’s just how it is.’ 

-        You are rigid, it’s your way and that’s it.

-        You cut off your child from speaking up, having an opinion, and often interrupt them.

-        You do not tend to let your child do things with friends, even though it’s age appropriate and they have earned it with grades or good behaviors.

-        Your child is quiet and does not give opinions.

-        It sometimes seems your child is more scared of you than respecting you.





       Permissive Parenting Style      

High in responsiveness, low in demandingness


This parenting style also means well but is not effective. This style provides a lot of warmth and attention but lacks structure or rules.   They are very involved in their child’s life, provide a lot of love, but do not follow through with consequences or demands.  Even if a parent yells and gets angry with them and does take things away, they eventually give in.

Kids with permissive parents can often be entitled, think of themselves only, have anger problems, and have a hard time socially due to them being more self-centered.   They often struggle with peers, not wanting to share or take turns, are mean, rude to others (including authority figures), and not considerate of others.  This parent gives in to whatever a child wants if they start screaming to keep them quiet or will not take away things as a consequence.

Because of these behaviors, they can often be the kid that is not invited to birthday parties.  Kids don’t want to play with them, and parents don’t want these kids around theirs…this hurts their little self-esteems.  When you think of these behaviors as an adult and with a romantic partner, you can see how this often results in a lot of conflict with relationships.


Signs you might be a Permissive Parent:

-  You often say, ‘when we get home, there’s no electronics!’  But that does not happen.  This is called ‘empty threats.’

-  You take things away for a set period of time, but often give things back before you said you would.

-  You often say, ‘that’s just how _____ is.’  (excuse their behavior)

-  Your child is disrespectful to you, rude, and talks back on a regular basis. (and to other authority figures)

-        There are no after school structure or rules, so kids often do what they want.





Authoritative Parenting Style

High in responsiveness, high in demandingness


I often tell my clients to find a balance in everything, and when it comes to parenting…this is it:  authoritative parenting style.  This has been the most effective form of parenting style that has the best results for children.   This is where the parent is very responsive, loving, and gives children freedom, but within limits. 

This parenting style has clear expectations and rules, follows through with consequences, is flexible, and willing to discuss things.  For example, if their 15-year-old daughter failed some grades in school, she loses her cell phone until she brings her grades up. Even if it takes months.  This parent will let her daughter go to the movies with her friends if the parent knows who the kids are that she’s going with, she did her homework and chores, and has been doing well overall…..she has earned it! 


According to a 1987 study by Standford Center for the Study of Youth Development and other studies, “the authoritative parenting style has been associated with the best outcomes in children’s social competence, academic achievement, mental health, physical health, behavior, and adjustment outcomes” (  Children growing up with this parenting style learn to self-regulate, communicate effectively, be flexible, and overall learn great life skills.  They are much better friends and future romantic partners.


Signs you might be an Authoritative Parent:

-        You wait to think before you give a consequence to make sure it’s fair and firm.

-        You talk with your child versus talk to them.

-        You give your children freedom as they earn it.

-        You have set consequences that your child is aware of. For example, if they don’t do their chores, they can’t go to their friend’s house.

-        You have after school structure and/or set chore list.  Your child knows what to expect.



To wrap things up, please remember that as a parent, you have messed up and you will mess up.  We are all human and make mistakes but focus on the repair and doing better.  If you realize you have been a dictator, be more flexible to help your children have a voice.  If you have been making empty threats, do what you say you will. If you have been an absent parent, get more involved!


Remember we are all on this journey together that we call life and focus on trying to be better today than you were yesterday. 


Until next time,



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