The 4 Major Parenting Styles and the Importance of Family Counselling

Your relationship with your children influences their brain development. It sets a pattern your children will follow when they grow up. The quality of this relationship shapes how your children will feel about themselves, form relationships, and deal with life challenges.

Understanding the four major parental styles is critical because the parental relationship is the foundation for our self-concepts, future relationships, beliefs, resiliency, and much more.

The 4 Most Common Parenting Styles

Although each parent has their own set of parenting techniques, experts believe there are four main parenting styles:

  • Permissive parenting
  • Authoritarian parenting
  • Authoritative parenting
  • Uninvolved or neglectful parenting

Permissive Parenting

Permissive or indulgent parenting style characterizes parents who are patient, responsive, and child-centered. They try to avoid conflicts and go out of their way to make their children happy. However, they mostly let their children make their own decisions, only providing limited guidance and direction.

As a result, parents with permissive parenting style may establish rules and expectations for their children to follow, but these rules are never firm. Furthermore, rule reinforcement is frequently inconsistent, so children never know what to expect.

Authoritarian Parenting

The authoritarian parenting style is opposed to permissive parenting. Parents with an authoritarian parenting style are rarely responsive to their children’s needs. This is a parent-driven and rigorous parenting method.

It involves setting strict rules and high expectations for children without paying much attention to their social, emotional, and behavioral needs. This parenting style often involves shaming and punishment instead of positive reinforcement. The most common way for parents to talk to their kids is in a “one-way” manner, from parent to child.

Authoritative Parenting

This is considered the healthiest parenting style. Parents who use an authoritative parenting style set clear and reasonable rules and natural consequences. At the same time, these parents are nurturing, flexible, and supportive. They foster open communication with their children and always take their kids’ feelings, needs, and opinions into account.

Children with authoritative parents are encouraged to express their beliefs, thoughts, and emotions freely. In addition, these parents use reasoning, explaining, and discussing rules when directing their children’s behavior.

Uninvolved or Neglectful Parenting

Uninvolved or neglectful parents do not actively participate in their children’s upbringing and provide minimal care and attention. Moreover, uninvolved parents frequently cannot meet their children’s physical and emotional needs. As a result, they rarely enforce rules and mostly let kids take care of themselves.

Even though these parents may seem distant, uninterested, and uncaring, it’s not always on purpose. Often, they have problems with their own mental health or behavior.

The Value of Family Counselling

These four parenting styles are frequently subconscious, meaning parents may apply them to their children without realizing it. However, each parenting style can have long-lasting effects on children and their well-being.

How can family counselling help with parenting issues?

Your children may grow into confident or insecure adults depending on your parenting style. Children who grow up with authoritarian or uninvolved parents, for example, may struggle with self-esteem as adults. They might become people-pleasers who always try to make others happy and feel valued and accepted.

Similarly, children raised by permissive parents may lack self-discipline and motivation. They may also suffer from low self-esteem.

They may struggle in adult relationships or have difficulty dealing with authority figures. On the other hand, research shows that children raised by authoritative parents tend to have a more positive view of authority and rules.

Family counselling is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on family issues. Family counselors understand that parenting is never easy. They can help you address your parenting concerns and understand how different parenting styles can affect your children.

Family counselling can help you:

  • Learn how to create a balanced set of rules, expectations, and consequences.
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Develop strategies to deal with specific challenges you are experiencing
  • Practice and learn positive conflict resolution
  • Become aware of how your parenting style affects the family dynamics
  • Resolve any disagreements you have with your partner about different parenting styles
  • Reframe your unhelpful thoughts and replace them with more positive ones
  • Develop your empathy.


The quality of your parent-child relationship affects your children’s life satisfaction and happiness, the success of their future adult relationships, and their well-being as a whole. For example, your parenting style may affect how they see themselves, get along with others, feel about authority, and deal with stress.

Family counselling can help you identify your parenting style and understand how your pattern of behaviour affects your children and family dynamics. In family counselling sessions, you can learn how to set healthy boundaries and rules within your family, communicate more positively, and resolve conflicts.

Also, family therapy can be a safe environment to address complex, long-term issues and learn positive coping strategies.


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