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How Does Your Parenting Style Affect Your Kids?

Which of the four types of parents tend to raise the most successful children?

Parenting style has a big impact on how children develop into adults, and there are important implications for their future success. Here are the four main parenting styles and their implications for rearing successful children and leaders.

Parenting style is usually categorized into four types:

Authoritarian parenting is characterized by adherence to rules, a dominating style, and a great deal of control. The authoritarian parent may be punitive and is likely to believe in the "spare the rod, spoil the child" rule. Research suggests that as teenagers, children of authoritarian parents may lack some of the critical social and communication skills that are so important for leadership. Moreover, children raised by authoritarian parents tend to become authoritarian themselves, both in their interpersonal relationships and as parents.

Neglectful parenting is when parents simply don’t engage much in the parenting role. They spend little time with their children and are happy to let the TV and video games do the babysitting. Children of neglectful parents often have trouble following rules, because there has been few rules and little adherence to rules in their upbringing. Children of neglectful parents can have behavior problems due to a lack of self-control. Communication skills may also not fully develop.

Indulgent parenting is characterized by attentive parents, who provide a great deal of warmth and interaction, but few rules and constraints. An "anything goes" attitude is typical of indulgent parents, and parents seem more like friends than parents. This parenting style often leads to higher levels of creativity in children, but there is little self-control, few boundaries, and a sense of entitlement. This can create one-sided interpersonal relationships, where the adult child of the indulgent parent is more willing to take than give.

Authoritative parenting is the gold standard for parenting. Authoritative parents encourage their children to be independent, but also set limits and boundaries. Discipline is applied, but in a supportive, non-punitive way. Typically, authoritative parents give their children increasing levels of independence as they mature and this leads to higher leadership potential in the children of authoritative parents. Social skills, self-control, and self-reliance are more highly developed, and these are qualities that make ideal employees, leaders, and life partners.
To better understand what specific actions parents can take to develop their kids into mature adults with a great deal of leadership and life potential, see this earlier post.

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Murphy, S.E., & Johnson, S.K. (2011). The benefits of a long-lens approach to leader development: Understanding the seeds of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(3), 459-470.

More from Ronald E. Riggio Ph.D.
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