Parenting styles - which one is best for your child?

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Parenting styles - which one is best for your child?

Raising a child is an important task that requires a lot of empathy and a sense of responsibility. There is no general form of upbringing, but many different styles of upbringing. Whether child rearing follows more authoritarian patterns or is characterized by democratic principles depends on the parents' decision.

In most cases, one's own experiences in childhood are decisive for preferring a certain style of upbringing. Rational considerations based on the child's personality, abilities and talents can also contribute to the decision for a form of education.

From a scientific point of view, a distinction is made between eight different styles of education. Depending on the discipline, they have a different designation. Educational concepts, educational philosophies and educational styles do not have the same meaning. An educational philosophy is based on norms and guiding principles. While educational concepts are based on pedagogical goals. An educational style is characterized by certain basic educational attitudes.

What are parenting styles?

Raising children is the responsibility of legal guardians. These are usually the parents who take care of the child around the clock. The basic principles on which the upbringing of the child is based is called the style of upbringing. Since parenting is usually based on one's own childhood experiences, parenting styles can vary widely.

The parenting styles definition states that it is about raising a child to be a happy, confident and responsible adult. Since there is no single style, each parent's home can decide for itself what principles are taken into account in raising children.

When discipline and obedience determine the parenting style, we talk about authoritarian parenting. Parents who care about tolerance and self-realization, educate their child rather democratic or egalitarian. Some children are allowed to do almost anything without asking their parents for permission. This behavior is typical of an anti-authoritarian upbringing.

The parenting styles overview:

  • Authoritarian
  • Autocratic
  • Antiauthoritarian
  • Democratic
  • Laissez-faire
  • Egalitarian
  • Negating
  • Permissive
what are the parenting styles

The 3 parenting styles according to Lewin

German social psychologist Kurt Tsadek Lewin is one of the most influential pioneers of psychology. In the late 1930s, the scientist, one of the founders of modern experimental social psychology, began researching parenting styles. He distinguished between three different methods of upbringing.

The parenting styles according to Lewin are:

  • Authoritarian
  • Democratic
  • Laissez-faire

The educational styles Lewin in detail

According to the research results of Kurt Lewin, authoritarian education is characterized by the authority of parents and educators. In an authoritarian upbringing, sole responsibility is assumed by the guardians. Parents issue orders and distribute tasks, while the child has no say in the matter. Authoritarian parenting styles are often characterized by distant and impersonal behavior. The children act predominantly under the control of others because recognition is important to them and negative consequences are to be averted.

1. authoritarian

An authoritarian leadership hardly allows for creativity or spontaneity. Tasks and structures are clearly defined. Children are expected to follow orders and not to question anything. If parenting styles are authoritarian, hierarchies must be respected. The guardians are at the top of the hierarchy, while the children are regarded as recipients of orders.

One of the disadvantages of an authoritarian upbringing is the risk of aggressive tendencies. Pent-up frustration can lead to anger being vented on weaker children - usually other children.

2. democratic

Kurt Lewin describes democratic styles of education as joint and equal cooperation. Children are consciously involved in all decisions. They are allowed to express their opinions without fear of punishment, and can have a say in the daily routine and upcoming activities. However, the possibility of co-determination should be adapted to the age and personal maturity of the child.

A democratic style of education has the advantage of facilitating the cooperation between parents and Promote children. In addition, children who have been brought up in a democratic way should develop a sense of responsibility at an early age. They learn, Assume personal responsibility and are able to find possible solutions to problems. Educational methods based on democratic understanding help children to develop more self-esteem and Self-confidence to get.

3. laissez-faire

The French word laissez faire translates as "to let do". The term refers to an attitude of non-interference. According to Kurt Lewin, educators and pedagogical professionals have a rather passive role in laissez-faire education. Hardly any guidelines are given. The children only receive support when they specifically request help.

Ensuring maximum freedom for the development and unfolding of the personality characterizes the laissez-faire style of education. Decisions are not commented on or evaluated. The tone is neutral to friendly.

However, with this style of parenting, there is a risk that the children will be overwhelmed. Without rules and structures, young children in particular do not have the opportunity to recognize and correct their mistakes. Frustration, irritability and boredom indicate the child's excessive demands.

which parenting style is the best

What is the "best" parenting style?

Which parenting style is best? This question is not easy to answer across the board. A good upbringing offers love and emotional warmth. The children experience esteem and respect, and there is structure and commitment in everyday life. One example of a child-centered parenting style is needs-based parenting, also known as attachment parenting. In this form of parenting, it is important to pay attention to children's signals and to respond appropriately.

Attachment parenting was developed in the 1980s by the US pediatrician William Sears. The physician recommended as much physical contact with the newborn as possible and advised to always respond to the baby immediately. Parenting should also be needs-oriented for children. Whether Attachment Parenting is the best model for you and your family depends on your ideas and demands.

The most important foundation: emotional warmth

Emotional warmth is considered the most important foundation of child development. Children need the certainty of feeling loved and appreciated. They want to be held and comforted. A child expects to be listened to and to have his or her needs respected. Democratic education comes very close to this expectation.

An authoritative upbringing is characterized by clear rules, love and understanding. Respect and consideration are important in every partnership and also in dealing with one's own children. A child should be treated with his strengths and weaknesses respected and encouraged.

Childhood shapes for the whole life

You decide which parenting style is best for your child. As a mother or father, you have had very different experiences in your life. Early childhood is considered to be formative for the whole of life. Whether you find an authoritarian parenting style particularly suitable or whether you prefer the laissez-faire style is related to your childhood.

The experiences parents have themselves contribute significantly to decision-making when it comes to parenting styles for their own children. Parenting is a task with many challenges. Therefore, deciding on a single parenting style can be difficult. Most often, several parenting styles are combined to meet one's own demands and the needs of the children.

Are there unhealthy parenting styles?

In order to achieve the educational goals, proven parenting styles are often used. However, not every style is appropriate or in the child's best interest. The authoritarian upbringing can lead to children being late self-employed and hardly develop a sense of responsibility. Anti-authoritarian education can promote selfish behavior and other problems with social behavior.

Unhealthy parenting styles do not help children grow up, but limit them and prevent them from developing further. Overparenting by so-called "helicopter parents" paralyzes children as they transition into puberty. Extreme, through Fears and overcautiousness of parents, can actually be unhealthy for the child. Constant supervision influences the Self-esteem of a child negatively. The mental health of adolescents suffers due to an overprotective instinct of parents and the associated parenting style.

Considered unhealthy and therefore inappropriate parenting styles for children:

  • Authoritarian education
  • Education shaped by parental fears

Parenting styles characterized by strict rules, prohibitions and harsh punishments are wholly unsuitable for children. Equally unfavorable is said to be uninvolved parenting, a parenting style characterized by little attention and few demands on the child. Children tend to perceive uninvolved parenting as cold and uncaring rather than caring and loving.

Parenting styles such as uninvolved parenting do not address the emotional Needs of a child. Unhealthy parenting styles can turn a child into an anxious, pessimistic personality. To give your child the best possible start in life, it is important to support him or her with an appropriate parenting style.

Why parenting styles are important

Education aims to actively influence a child's behavior. What are parenting styles and why are they important? Parenting styles are important because child rearing does not work entirely without rules. Since there are different parenting styles, there is a possibility to choose the most suitable one for the child.

It is important that parents recognize that each child brings an individual personality, temperament, strengths and weaknesses into life. The style of upbringing should be based on the needs of the child. It should be taken into account that the upbringing of children is not only (but mainly!) done by parents, but also by educators and teachers.

A child is also shaped by relatives and other various influences in childhood. Parenting styles differ from one another in their approach, strategy and goals. Connections between "right" or "good" parenting can hardly be established. The application of certain parenting styles must always be seen as an individual decision.


Parenting style has a great influence on the development of personality. The different parenting styles differ from each other in their strategy and approach. The goal of child rearing is to raise children to be happy and responsible people. In the variety of different parenting styles, the most suitable form of upbringing can be found for this purpose. 


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