According to the developmental psychologist, Diana Baumrind, there are three different parenting styles: the authoritarian, the laissez-faire, and the authoritative parenting style. Her parenting styles were based on two aspects of parenting that are found to be extremely important. The first was "Parental responsiveness", which refers to the degree the parent responds to the child's needs. The second was "Parental demandingness" which is the extent to which the parent expects more mature and responsible behavior from a child.
The authoritarian parent is rigid, harsh, and demanding; values obedience as a virtue and forces severe parental direction, by restricting the child’s autonomy, and control. In addition, the parent does not encourage verbal give and take, as this style is low on emotional nurturing and support, and believes that the child should accept her word for what is right. Usually, in this style we find parents who use physical or otherwise harsh punishment.
The laissez-faire parent is permissive, allowing children to set their own boundaries with little or no parental guidance. In this style the parent exercise no control, and does not encourage the child to obey externally defined standards. Furthermore, the parent let himself/herself be manipulated by the child, which that leads to the classic “spoiled child”.
The authoritative parent is warm, firm, and fair, attempts to direct the child’s activities in a rational way, and encourages the child’s individuality, and uniqueness. Moreover, he/she accepts the child’s personality, talents, and emerging independence, while also consciously setting limits and enforcing rules. The authoritative parent monitors the child’s activities and behavior, and gives appropriate consequences for misbehavior.
From all these three parenting styles, psychologists prefer the authoritative one, because it combines the right balance between the other two styles. Authoritative parents raise their children with warmth, fairness, rational and reasonable control. They praise their children and they create human beings with high self—esteem, cognitive development, and emotional maturity.