Four Kinds of Parenting Styles: Which One Are You?


“Parenthood is arguably the most loving, heartbreaking, rewarding, disappointing, exciting, repetitive and life changing experience a human being can have,” says Elizabeth Jordan, behavioral analyst and mother of five children. “No one is prepared, no lessons are taught about basic do’s and don’ts and even more surprisingly, every child needs their own personal approach – it’s not like you find out with the first child, you are guaranteed to get it right with the second.

Jordan goes on to say what many of us fear (!): the reality is that despite all the potential desires to mold children exactly how we want them to be – we can’t. “Each child is pre-packaged with their own set of characteristics and personalities. You can’t make them into someone they’re not, no matter how much you yell and yell, buy them gifts, or even ignore what you do not like.

However, what you can do, she says, is consider what YOU do as a parent and think about how your response to them will shape their current personality to be better. “How you react to your child’s behavior and model your own behavior is all about helping them take those pre-packaged unique traits and make the most of them. If you model discipline, your child is more likely to be disciplined. If you model compassion, your child is more likely to be compassionate. If you model inconsistency, tolerate bad behavior, look away too much, or don’t show up when you need to, your child is likely to follow suit as well. It’s definitely a lot of pressure, but no one ever told you that this job would be easy.

Image: Getty

Jordan notes that according to the work of psychologist Dianne Baumrind in the 1960s, there are four simple types of parenting archetypes. She renamed them to make them more understandable in 2022.

The just judge

“Inspired by my friend who is a real judge and a super mom who shows incredible results with her kind and hardworking children). A fair judge goes to great lengths to create and maintain a positive relationship with her child. They explain the reasons for their rules, and while enforcing the rules and giving consequences, they take their child’s feelings into account.

Children who have fair-minded parents are more likely to grow into responsible individuals who are confident in expressing their opinions. They are also more likely to be happy and successful, and are better able to make independent decisions and assess safety risks.

The dictator

“Inspired by Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Hitler who painfully taught us what NOT to do. A dictator is incredibly strict in his parenting. They think it’s “my way or the highway” and ignore their child’s feelings.

Because their feelings or opinions are not valued, children of dictator parents are more likely to suffer from self-esteem issues. They may also become aggressive or confrontational, and they may develop a habit of lying to avoid punishment.

Image: Getty

The Permissive Parent

“Inspired by sincerely loving, well-meaning parents who are on their knees in the supermarket and beg their children to stop screaming while simultaneously throwing more candy into their basket. A permissive parent makes rules but rarely enforces them, and they offer very few consequences for misbehavior.

Children raised by permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically and may have behavioral problems due to a dislike of authority figures. They often have low self-esteem and may suffer from depression.

The absent parent

“Inspired by those parents who have never read James Halliwell’s 1886 fable ‘The Three Little Pigs’:

Winter is coming and

If you were away taking the time to build your brick home,

You’re screwed winter

In your straw house when the blizzard hits.

An absent parent is just that, absent from their child’s life. They rarely spend time with their child, they don’t ask their child questions about school or homework, and they may not even know where their child is or who they are with.

Children with absent parents are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and depression. They also tend to suffer academically and exhibit behavioral problems.


Obviously, the only path you should focus on as a parent is the fair judge. “It’s the longest of the four parenting styles, one that requires fair and sometimes tedious cross-examination, gathering facts and evidence, listening carefully, and considering stories of your child’s behavior and other witnesses, etc. Just like a real judge on the stand, you must consider all the facts of a circumstance and make a final decision based on compassion and a real understanding of the situation.This decision is not static, a Once it is decided unless new evidence is presented, it is set in stone. The child quickly learns that negotiating is a waste of time. You have done the work and made your decision.

Now, parenting often begins early in the morning before her first cup of coffee or before a “five o’clock somewhere” cocktail party, so the likelihood of slipping into one of the least desirable, easiest, but most damaging parenting archetypes of from time to time – is expected . Nobody is perfect. But consider being more mindful of these four archetypes and staying aware of how far you’ve drifted or shutting down your behavior resembles The Fair Judge. Take note of how your child’s behavior improves as you find your way back to being a fair judge. If this theory is correct, you may have found the most likely solution to helping your children become the happiest, best, and ultimately most independent themselves. It is definitely worth trying.

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