You see descriptions of four different types of parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, permissive (For your information: in some writing, this is called permissive-indulgent), uninvolved (For your information: in some writing, this is called permissive-indifferent). Read the information given in the text, then read the examples I have provided below. These are only potential examples, but I hope they will help you identify what your parent(s) or person that raised you used for parenting.
In the examples below, let’s say that Tina, a 16-year-old girl, is wanting to stay out late at a school dance on a Thursday night. I will give an example of how a parent from each style might respond to this.
Tina comes home from school and asks her dad if she can go to the dance, which is on a Thursday night. He immediately tells her simply, “No. You know the rules. No going out on school nights.” She tries to interject why she thinks she should be allowed to go on this special occasion. Her father becomes frustrated with her challenging his authority and yells, “As long as you are in my house, under my roof, you are going to follow my rules! I don’t want to hear any more about it!” Tina runs off to her room yelling, “You never let me do anything or make any decisions for myself!” He simply says, “I am the boss” and does not explain any further about why he won’t let her go out.
Note that these parents tend to be highly controlling and do not let the child make her own decisions. Instead, this parent makes the decisions for the child, deciding what is best for her. Also, this parent does not allow for negotiations with the child. Explanations are hard to come by and, if given, are simply that the parent has all the control and is “the boss.”
Authoritative parents: (Careful! This word is spelt very similarly to the word authoritarian)
Tina comes home from school and asks her dad if she can go to the dance, which is on a Thursday night. Her dad says, “You know we have a rule that you can’t go out on school nights.” Tina says, “Well, I think that an exception should be made for this night” and goes on to explain why it is important to her. Her dad is interested in what she has to say and listens to her perspective. He allows her to negotiate with him. In the end, it is agreed that she can go, but must be driven by him and must meet him by 10 p.m. directly outside of the dance. He explains the reasons for his concerns so that she understands why she can’t just do what she wants. Both she and her dad seem satisfied with the decision, though she still wishes she could just go to the dance with her friends.
This parent tends to be open to negotiation and interested in the child’s viewpoint. This doesn’t mean that this parent simply hands over the control. They allow the child to slowly start developing decision-making skills when appropriate. Rules are not only clear, but the reasons for having them are explained (not simply demanded, as with the authoritarian parent).
What’s funny about this “going to the dance” scenario, is that Tina would likely not even ask her dad if she could go. She would most likely just tell him she was going (or not even tell him at all and just go). Since her dad is permissive, she would likely not have very many rules at all. If she did have a rule about going out on a school night, she would simply do it anyway, and because her parent is permissive, there would likely not be any consequence for her inappropriate action.
Permissive parents tend to just let their children do whatever they want when they want. If there are any rules that are broken, there are typically no punishments (or the punishments are not severe or enforced). In my experience, permissive parents tend to value more of a friendship with their children, as opposed to a parent-child relationship.
In this case, the “ going to the dance” scenario, would also be different. The uninvolved parent is just that: uninvolved. The parent may not be available for a variety of reasons. It could be that the parent has to work all of the time. It could be that he has so many emotional problems himself that he just can’t spare any energy or attention for his daughter. This child likely wouldn’t ask and the parent really wouldn’t care much, leaving the child to make all of her own decisions.
This parent is different from the permissive parent in that this parent is not actively involved in the child’s life. (The permissive parent is very warm and available, just very low in control and guidance.)
Now what I want you to do is to apply your new understanding to your life. Pick a person who raised you and answer the following questions. Just pick one to talk about. If you are uncomfortable talking about yourself, interview a friend that does not mind you using their information here. Use a paragraph (or two) for each number below. Be sure you respond to all of the prompts below.
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