General Health

PARENTING STYLE: Disciplinarian(Authoritative) VS Permissive, Which Creates Successful Adults?

Parenting is no easy feat. To be responsible for how your child or children grow up takes a ton of sacrifices and commitment. One key determinant that shapes your child’s transcendence into adulthood is your approach to parenting. It takes into focus your behavior and role as a parent and how it affects your children’s’ outcome in life. Adopting the right parenting style is imperative to ensuring your child grows up to be a happy and responsible adult.

The way you interact with your child and the disciplinary measures you put in place to strengthen his/her character will go a long way in determining whether they grow upright or wrong.

To help parents make the right decisions with regard to parenting style, renowned psychologist and researcher, Diana Baumrind introduced three major parenting styles based on parental approach and child behavior. These are; Authoritarian, Authoritative, and Permissive parenting. In addition to this, psychologists, Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin introduced a fourth parenting style called uninvolved or neglectful parenting style.

Each style of parenting is characterized by different strategies and approach to child-rearing;

  • The Authoritative parenting style takes the “I love you but you have to follow the rules” approach
  • The Authoritarian parenting styles take the ” I don’t care how you feel, my word is the law, and you have to obey it ” approach
  • The Permissive parenting style takes the ” I don’t care if you break the rules, just do whatever makes you happy” approach
  • The uninvolved parenting style takes the ” I don’t care about you or anything you do” approach

These parenting styles are often pitted against each other to determine which is well suited to optimum child development and growth. For the purpose of this article, we will be taking a look at two core types of parenting style _”Authoritative and Permissive ” to see which is more effective in raising cultured and successful adults.


If you are that parent who is highly responsive to your child’s needs but never allows this to deter you from enforcing set rules and boundaries, then you may be an authoritative parent. Authoritative or disciplinarian parenting style is an approach to child-rearing that is characterized by sensitivity, affection, and boundaries.

Authoritative parents are always in tune with their children’s emotional needs. They enshroud their kids with compassionate love but never indulge or tolerate their misbehavior. “Yes you can have that ice cream, but you can’t have more than one scoop and if you do, you are getting grounded” _That’s an authoritative parent talking right there.

The parent understands the child’s need to have ice cream, but they know they run the risk of catching a cold due to weather conditions. So they compromise by letting them have the ice cream on the condition that they don’t have too much as to put them at risk. They don’t deny the child the ice cream, and neither do they allow the child to have it at will. They set a boundary – “don’t have more than a single scoop”.

Setting limits and boundaries aside, authoritative parents do not demand blind obedience. They take time to explain the reasons behind every rule and why it is important to follow that rule. They make the child understand that they are putting those rules in place for their own good. “Yes, you can have the ice cream, but only one scoop, because the weather is a bit cold and you may catch a cold. So be a good girl and have just a scoop, but if you go overboard, there will be penalties”.

And do they follow through with their rules? You guessed right. Authoritative parents don’t allow their kids to go scot-free after breaking a rule (or rules). They let them face the consequences, even if it will rip their loving parental hearts in half.  They understand the need to instill discipline in their kids, but positive discipline. They don’t adopt punitive measures when getting their kids to behave _”I asked you not to take more than a scoop, but you took three scoops, for that you are grounded, no TV and video games for 48 hours”.

Naturally, all pleas will fall on deaf ears, they make sure the child atones for that extra scoops of ice cream by keeping away from their favorite TV shows and video games for a set time. They avoid giving extreme punishments or making harsh threats. They are the “gentle but not so gentle” type of parents.

Authoritative parents also give room for negotiation. Like a judge in the courtroom, they give the audience to the accused (their child in this case). Say perhaps the child missed a couple of classes and have been reported by their teacher. An authoritative parent won’t just mete punishment without listening to their child first.

They ask;  “honey, do you want to tell me why you missed a few classes” And if the child comes up with a concrete reason, they may temper justice with mercy. But if there is no concrete reason, they get their full discipline without a single cut. This helps them find the missing holes in a story, it helps them understand the child’s behavior.

This parenting style says “I am on your side, and will always be, but you don’t get to break the rules and act unruly without facing the music “.

In essence, authoritative parenting exerts behavioral control with love and positive discipline. They reward their children’s good behavior with praise and gifts and discipline them appropriately when they go off track.

Also Read: Overcoming trauma with EMDR therapy


This is the parent who permits their children to get away with bad behavior. They are the overly loving parents who can’t bear to discipline their kids when the situation calls for it. A Permissive parent might set rules but will rarely ensure that they are followed. And even when their kids break these rules, they may not dish out the required penalties. They believe they are doing their kids a favor by letting them live on their own terms, even if this means tolerating bad behavior.

A typical permissive parent is forgiving to a fault. They are easily lured by their child’s pleas when they beg to be let off the hook. The “I won’t do it again, I promise” is enough reason to let the child be. They may confiscate certain privileges and give it back the moment the child promises to be on their best behavior, even if it’s against their better judgment. Even when they know the child’s promise is barely a verbal expression to get out of momentary trouble.

Permissive parents are friendly. They are their children’s’ best friends. They are a friend first before a parent. They encourage an open relationship with their children but barely put in the effort to dissuade poor choices and bad behavior. For instance, they might think;

  • “Oh he’s just a little kid, he will learn as he grows”.
  • ” I fear if I say it as it is, I will no longer be the cool parent”.
  • “No I don’t want to get on her bad side, it is best I leave her to own decisions, I am sure she will figure it out along the way “

If you find yourself thinking along these lines more times than you can count, your parenting style might be permissive.

Authoritative Vs Permissive: Which is the Best?

The two parenting styles share one thing in common _love and affection. But while the authoritative parent doesn’t let this affection cloud their strategies to behavioral control, the permissive parent on the other hand thrives on this affection and gives little room for behavioral control.

According to research, children raised by authoritative parents tend to be more successful and happy adults. They are also independent, good decision-makers and have a good sense of risk and safety. Their self-esteem is high and they live quality lives. There is also evidence to suggest that children who are raised by authoritative parents (compared to other parenting styles) have fewer mental and behavioral problems such as substance abuse, depression, violence, and sexual misdemeanors.

Permissive parents on the other hand are all-round loving and nurturing. Children raised by these parents often attribute their independence and good decision-making traits to their upbringing. However, most experts do not encourage this parenting style.

Also Read: Lactose Intolerance and Diet

According to expert opinion, children who grew up in permissive homes tend to have more behavioral problems as they have no regard for authority and rules. They often exhibit low self-esteem and depression. One study found that college students who grew up in permissive homes were exposed to more perceived stress. They also struggled mentally compared to other kids who were raised differently.

Studies have also found that the permissive parenting style can result in problems with obesity and cavities as well as Teenage drinking. This is because permissive parents find it difficult to enforce limitations on junk food intake. They may also shy away from teaching their children good habits, like brushing their teeth correctly and on time, hence these kids tend to struggle with obesity and dental cavities.

Generally, most experts believe that the authoritative parenting approach produces the healthiest and superior outcomes with regard to child development and upbringing compared to other parenting styles.

Taking into consideration the numerous studies and research work conducted on the two parenting styles, it stands to reason that the authoritative approach to parenting is more effective in raising well behaved and successful adults compared to the permissive parenting style.


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