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No two parents have exactly the same parenting style. But every single parent will have an impact on the emotional development of their children, as well as on their ability to succeed in the long-term. Understanding the role your actions and behaviors play when it comes to your child’s development can make a big difference in their emotional and mental stability, both now and as your child matures.

Psychologists have identified four primary parenting styles: authoritarian; neglectful; indulgent; and authoritative.

Here are the pros and cons of each parenting style, and the implications they could have on your child’s development:

Authoritarian: This is the dominating parent with zero tolerance for rule-breaking—the parent who is controlling to the max. This parenting style may not have too much of a negative impact on younger children, but research suggests that, as teenagers, children raised by authoritarian parents may have underdeveloped social, communication, and leadership skills.

Neglectful: These parents opt-out of engaging with their children, often allowing their children to be entertained by video games or TV. When raised by neglectful parents, children may have trouble following rules—mostly because they’ve never really had any.

Indulgent: You may know the indulgent parent as the parent-who-wants-to-be-the-best-friend. They are warm and affectionate and have an “anything goes” attitude. While their children oftentimes develop extraordinary creative skills, they may also develop a sense of entitlement that can lead to one-sided relationships with peers and, in the future, adult relationships.

Authoritative: This is the sweet spot for parents. Authoritative parents encourage independence while setting limits. Discipline is enacted supportively, and, as children mature, they are given more and more responsibility—this helps children develop important leadership skills and confidence. Children of authoritative parents also exhibit advanced social skills, self-control and independence—qualities that, as you can see, are important in all phases of life.

There is a great Psychology Today article that discusses, more specifically, the skills that parents should be teaching their children at various developmental stages. Check it out here.

As counselors, we work with a wide range of parents—many of whom come to us specifically for help fielding the challenges of parenting. Rarely does a parent fit squarely into one of the four categories outlined above: most parents will exhibit behaviors from two or more parenting styles. Regardless of which style best describes your approach to parenting, understanding how it could affect your child is important.

Contact Creative Counseling Center

If you are concerned about your parenting style, its impact on your children, or would simply like guidance in navigating the complexities of raising children, our counselors can help. Our counselors are the best in Denver, and a few even specialize in therapy for parents. Contact us using the brief form below, and a member of our counseling team will reach out to answer your questions, address your concerns, and partner you with the counselor who best meets your needs.

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