top of page
  • Writer's pictureOliver Roberts

The parenting styles chart to Understand ALL THE Parenting Types

Updated: Jun 5

parenting styles chart from oliver drakeford therapy


  • With over a decade of experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist and parent coach, I have gained a great deal of experience in working with parents of all parenting styles. While I was the Clinical Director of a prestigious adolescent treatment center in Malibu, California, I had the opportunity to conceptualize, establish, and oversee a residential treatment program specializing in family therapy for adolescents and parents. I had the privilege of assisting countless parents and teens while they stayed with us, but also was able to share my expertise by training newer therapists in family systems therapy and parenting as a Clinical Supervisor.

  • Today, in my private practice, I specialize in parent coaching and family therapy in Los Angeles and often refer to parenting styles with my clients. Here are some thoughts on parenting and a nifty parenting styles chart I often share with families. My approach to family therapy and parenting draws from my extensive studying and experience in family systems theory to understand unhelpful patterns of interactions that contribute to family problems, facilitate healthy communication, and make meaningful changes.

  • My office is in the heart of West Hollywood, and I offer a limited number of sliding-scale sessions each week. Therefore, fees for family sessions range from $185 to $250.​

  • This blog post contains some of the information I frequently share with families and parents on parenting styles and how they impact children.

Click here if you want to know your parenting style and get our free parenting style chart.


A 'parenting style' refers to a term used by psychologists and mental health professionals that encapsulates a parent's overall approach, strategies, and caregiving methods. It just means 'how you parent'.

Yet your approach to parenting plays a pivotal role in shaping a child's development, and we know this because there are now decades of research and studies on the matter. Through observations of children with and without their parents, researchers have discovered that parenting styles dramatically impact how children develop and their chances of becoming successful, happy, and healthy young adults.

If, by some small chance, you didn't know it already, you have a massive impact on how your child turns out.

If you're a parent or getting ready to embark on that journey, it's key to understand just how vital your parenting style can be. The most frustrating thing about being a parent is that kids are all unique, each with their own needs and wishes, yet they are born without the ability to tell you any of this. We stumble along for the first few years, trying to match our parenting style with our kids’ temperament and doing our best. We know that all children thrive on your guidance, a touch of discipline, and, of course, a lot of compassion and love. Balancing these elements in the right way to match their exact needs and temperament? Well, that's one of the trickier parts of this whole parenting adventure, and no one will ever get it 100% right all of the time.

The good news is that you just have to be ‘good enough’.

That being said, after decades of research, we know that some approaches to raising children are more beneficial than others, so taking a parenting test, or understanding your parenting style can be hugely beneficial to you so that you can decide if you want to change or modify any aspect of your family dynamics. 

What Are the 4 Types of Parenting Styles?

  • Authoritative Parenting: This style is characterized by parents who set clear guidelines and expectations while fostering open communication with their children. They are warm, accepting, and responsive to their child's needs. Natural consequences are emphasized over punishment.

  • Authoritarian Parenting: Authoritarian parents are strict and rigid in their expectations. They rely on punishment and criticism to enforce rules and rarely consider their child's perspective. This approach is often referred to as "tough love." which means it is a parenting style characterized by high demands for obedience and low warmth.

  • Permissive Parenting: Permissive parents are lenient, allowing their children to make their own decisions with minimal guidance. They prioritize their child's happiness and may avoid conflict.

  • Uninvolved Parenting: Uninvolved parents are emotionally distant and neglectful. They don't provide structure or guidance, leaving children to fend for themselves. This can result in difficulties in forming interpersonal connections.

Comprehensive Parenting Styles Chart: Visual Guide

the four parenting styles diana baumrind quadrants
Visual Guide To Parenting Styles Chart

These four parenting styles correlate with the parenting quadrants you might be familiar with if you've ever googled 'parenting styles'. This is based on the work of Diana Baumrind, who proposed that parenting styles are composed of two spectrums: warmth and demandingness. Any parent can be high or low in either Warmth or Demandingness, giving four options and four quadrants.

Parenting Quadrant and The Four Different Types Of Parenting Styles

Parenting that is characterized by low warmth and low demand is a more distant or hands-off approach. In certain and extreme circumstances, this can be a form of neglect. You might be tempted to think that the free range parenting style is in the mix here; but done correctly, this parenting style is filled with love and warmth.

A parenting style characterized by low warmth and high demands is known as an authoritarian approach. This is the stereotype 'Tiger Parent' who is traditionally perceived as being cold and having high academic or performance-based expectations of their child.

The most successful parenting style, at least according to research and general ideas on parenting, is one that is high in warmth and high in demandingness, but this parent knows when to vary the warmth and demands in relation to the child's experience, age, and what the situation is.

The type of parenting characterized by high warmth and low demands is a more permissive or lenient parenting style. At an extreme, this could be considered a Jellyfish Parenting style in which the parent has a difficult time setting limits and boundaries, focusing only on warm, loving feelings.


Research over twenty-five years has demonstrated that parents who cultivate a relationship that balances love and nurturing with boundaries and consequences tend to have better outcomes with their teens. Balanced parenting involves the intersection of love, discipline, and respect. Balanced parents are warm and involved while being firm and consistent in setting and enforcing boundaries. They build a relationship with their teen founded on mutual trust, respect, and open communication. These parents encourage teenagers to express their thoughts, beliefs, and individuality.

Research has demonstrated that adolescents raised by Balanced parents tend to perform better in school, have higher self-esteem and self-reliance, report lower levels of depression and anxiety, and are not as prone to participate in dangerous behaviors like substance use, sex, or violence. Balanced parents have high but reasonable expectations for their teens.

Balanced parenting has proven to be effective because it does three things. Firstly, it creates an open, loving environment that encourages teens to be receptive to parental guidance. Secondly, by providing structure through limits and consequences, parents help their teens develop the ability to self-regulate and make sound decisions. Lastly, open communication in a balanced parenting relationship helps teens develop critical thinking and social skills that can be applied in their daily lives outside the family.

However, it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. Every teen is unique; some may require more structure and discipline. Circumstances are also constantly changing, and parents must stay attuned to their teen's changing needs and adjust accordingly.

WHAT IS Authoritarian Parenting Style?

Authoritarian parenting is one which is low in warmth and high in demandingness. It can be seen as cold, as opposed to nurturing, with high expectations and demands of behaviors and academic or behavioral results.

Setting limits and expectations for children is not necessarily a bad thing, it shows that a parent cares about their child and want what's best for them. At the same time, it's important that this doesn't come at the expense of a warm and nurturing environment. This can be done by simply expressing love for them through praise and affection. Listening and respecting a child's opinions, even if you don't agree, can help give a relationship a loving vibe.

Authoritarian parents might be keen to discipline their children, which is not a bad thing as long as the consequences are consistent with the rules they know. Rules need to be age-appropriate, and there should be opportunities for some rules to be negotiated as children turn into teens. Of course, some rules are non-negotiable, but these need to be explained clearly through the lens of providing safety and love, not 'because I said so'.


is a parenting style that is often identified by a lack of rules, structure, and boundaries. Parents who practice a more permissive style are often warm and nurturing, but they tend to avoid setting limits or enforcing consequences for their children's behavior.

Permissive parents tend to avoid saying "no" or disappointing their children, striving to maintain a friendly and accommodating relationship. In the realm of discipline, permissive parents opt for a more relaxed and inconsistent approach, characterized by the establishment of very few rules, which they are less likely to enforce rigorously. Even when consequences are imposed, they may not consistently follow through, as permissive parents tend to be lenient and forgiving, making it relatively easy for children to evade punishment through persuasion.

This parenting style sometimes referred to as 'indulgent,' 'laissez-faire,' or 'passive,' can have significant implications for a child's development. Children raised under permissive parenting often exhibit a sense of entitlement, which can lead to academic entitlement and, in turn, contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Moreover, they face a higher risk of health problems, including obesity, sleep deprivation, and tooth decay, as permissive parents typically do not set limits on their children's consumption.


Neglectful parenting is characterized by a lack of involvement and warmth, leading to emotional distance between parents and children. In this parenting style, known as uninvolved parenting, according to Baumrind, parents display low demandingness, failing to establish clear boundaries or expectations for their children.

Uninvolved parents seldom make demands on their children and lack responsiveness and nurturing. They rarely enforce rules, resulting in a lack of structure and guidance in their children's lives. These parents spend minimal time with their kids and expect them to fend for themselves. Basic needs often go unmet, as these parents spend little time or energy meeting them. Their indifference to their children's activities and needs is striking. Uninvolved parents often grapple with challenges like depression, substance abuse, childhood trauma, or overwhelming responsibilities.

This parenting approach is often referred to as neglectful because it entails emotional absence on the part of parents.

What is the most effective parenting style?

Is there a one-size-fits-all parenting style that reigns supreme? The reality is, no such universal parenting style exists because each family has its distinct preferences and requirements.

Nevertheless, numerous experts tend to favor a "hands-off" parenting approach for most children. This entails refraining from constantly hovering over your youngsters and instead allowing them the space to explore and learn autonomously. Conversely, some contend that maintaining close proximity to your child, particularly during their early years, is crucial for establishing a secure attachment.

Interactive Feature: Find Your Parenting Style with Our Quiz

Effects of Parenting Styles

Research has shown that parenting styles have a significant impact on children's well-being and behavior. Here's a brief overview:

  • Authoritative Parenting:

  • Authoritarian Parenting:

Negative effect on behavior and school achievement

Associated with increased behavioral problems

May lead to obedience issues

Higher likelihood of developing social and emotional challenges

  • Permissive Parenting: 

Higher social competence -

Better self-esteem -

Risk of problematic behaviors due to lack of boundaries

Negative effect on behavior and school achievement

Linked to externalizing problems like rule-breaking, aggression

  • Uninvolved Parenting: 

Lack of guidance and nurturing -

Increased risk of behavioral problems -

Poor academic and social outcomes

What Happens When There Are Different Parenting Styles Between Parents

One of the main reasons I love parenting styles is to make sure you and your co-parent are on the same page when it comes to being a parent. Depending on the communication and your ability to co-parent, having different parenting styles between caregivers and parents can have varied effects.

One of the most common patterns I see in families that come to work with me is an extreme difference between parenting styles, in which there is a parenting 'split', and a 'good cop' vs 'bad cop' dynamic in the household.

What Makes a Parenting Style Successful?

Parents often prioritize different values and traits in their children. However, experts generally agree that authoritative parenting strikes the most effective balance between demandingness and responsiveness. This style nurtures resilience, authentic connections, and compassion in children.

parenting styles explained with the five dials of parenting

The Five Dials Of Parenting

What most people need to learn is that the two scales of 'warmth' and 'demandingness' are made up of five other components based on the work of Earl Schaffer and Diana Baumrind. These are the Five Dials Of Parenting.


Warmth refers to the amount and the way love is expressed to your child. Ideally, we will do this in a healthy combination of using our words and physical touch but extends to providing for and occasionally indulging your child, as well as spending quality time with them.


Acceptance refers to how responsive and welcoming you are to your child and their ideas, needs, wants, and emotions. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a parent would be rejecting other children's ideas, needs, wants, and feelings and would come across as cold and / or withholding.

Control Of Behaviors

When children are young, they need a lot of help controlling their behaviors so that they remain safe and don't hurt themselves. The amount of control a parent exerts over a child needs to decrease as they get older to allow for the child to mature in a healthy way.

Control Of Autonomy

The 'Terrible Twos' are in part due to a child realizing they are an individual away from parents and exerting their free will! As children get older, they need more space to explore who they are as part of the family and as individuals.


Reasonable and supportive expectations can motivate children to strive for success and develop a sense of self-confidence. On the other hand, unrealistic or excessively high expectations can create undue pressure and stress for children, leading to feelings of inadequacy or a fear of failure.

The Parenting Styles Chart

If you imagine that each dial can be slid up and down to an infinite number of settings, it makes the number of parenting styles increase exponentially to incorporate all the myriad of different parenting styles you hear about online these days. 'Eggshell parenting,' 'tiger parenting,' and 'commando parenting' can all be explained by different positions on these five dials.

Detailed Breakdown of Each Parenting Style

When you look at parenting styles through the lens of the five dials, the range of parenting styles becomes much more expansive:


what is lighthouse parenting
Lighthouse Parenting Illustrated

Lighthouse parenting is akin to the unwavering beacon on the coastline. It serves as a constant reference point for your child, both in daylight and darkness, helping them navigate their way home and gauge their journey's distance. Unlike some other parenting styles, the lighthouse parent doesn't attempt to take control of the ship. Instead, they trust that their child is learning to navigate their life's voyage independently. The lighthouse parent remains steadfast on the horizon, ready to guide and welcome their children back whenever they choose.


what is commando parenting
Commando Parenting Illustrated

Commando parenting is a style that prioritizes discipline and structure. This approach is marked by a no-nonsense attitude where parents establish clear boundaries and expect their children to adhere to them. As a family systems therapist, I acknowledge this term, popularized by Dr. Phil, as a classic technique within structural family systems. But is this radical approach a genuine parenting style?

What Is Snowplow Parenting?

what is snowplow parentiing
Snowplow Parenting Illustrated

You may have encountered the term "snowplow parenting" through recent news involving celebrities. In March 2019, numerous parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, made headlines when they were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, becoming infamous examples of snowplow parents. Snowplow parenting describes the type of parent who goes to great lengths to ensure their child's desires and needs are met. Just as a snowplow clears away snow and ice from the road, the snowplow parent eliminates obstacles that may hinder their child's success.

What Is Koala Parenting?

what is koala parenting

Koala parenting is often associated with Attachment Theory, although it's not technically a part of modern attachment theory. Confusingly, Koala Parenting is also referred to as attachment parenting and revolves around creating a secure and stable environment for children. However, there is no direct evidence to suggest that it necessarily promotes healthy or secure attachment. Whether you're new to parenting or have been at it for years and are curious if you fit the Koala Parenting mold, this video is a must-watch. We'll delve into the fundamentals of Koala Parenting and explore why it's considered a successful parenting style.

What IS Free-Range Parenting

what is free range parenting
Free-Range Parenting Style Illustrated

The term Free-Range Parenting gained fame in 2008 when an article in The New York Sun went viral. It highlighted a mother who allowed her 9-year-old to ride the subway alone in NYC. At first glance, this might seem shocking, but upon closer examination, the decision was well-founded and rooted in reality. It was a family decision involving extensive discussions, safety plans, and thoughtful consideration. In theory, it was done in the most appropriate manner possible. The outcomes? She reported that her child became more self-reliant, less anxious, and more confident.

The core principle of free-range parenting is to let children take on age-appropriate challenges and responsibilities while making decisions within the boundaries set by their parents.

This approach means that free-range parents may permit their children to walk to school or the park on their own or make their snack choices within specific guidelines.


what is tiger parenting

Tiger parenting, also referred to as "authoritative parenting," is a parenting approach characterized by high expectations, strict rules, discipline, and a strong emphasis on achievement and success. Tiger parents motivate their children to excel academically and in various other aspects, occasionally resorting to consequences or penalties to enforce rules and foster compliance.

Research on the consequences of tiger parenting has yielded mixed findings. Some studies indicate that children raised by tiger parents often achieve higher academic results and perform better in school. For instance, a study in the Journal of Child Development found that Chinese-American children with tiger parents earned higher grades and test scores compared to those with different parenting styles. However, not all studies produce positive results.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 different types of parenting styles?

The four types of parenting styles are authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved.

Which of the 4 parenting styles is the best?

Many experts consider authoritative parenting to be the most effective in promoting positive mental health and behavioral outcomes in children.

What is the most harmful parenting style?  

Authoritarian and uninvolved parenting styles can be more harmful, leading to poor self-esteem, behavioral issues, and difficulties forming connections.

199 views0 comments


bottom of page