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4 Parenting Styles

There have been decades of research (in the United States and across cultures) supporting the importance of parenting for the development and overall well-being of children and adolescents. Some specific components of parenting (support and control) have been shown to be particularly relevant to adolescent psychological functioning.

Parental “support”, or warm and nurturing parenting, promotes


a variety of positive adolescent outcomes. The ‘‘control’’ dimension of parenting has been separated into behavioral control (e.g., monitoring children’s activities) and psychological control (i.e., manipulative, intrusive parenting). Regarding the control dimension, adolescents have been shown to benefit from more parental behavioral control and less parental psychological control. This combination of high parental behavioral control and low parental psychological control has been found to be predictive ofhigher self-esteem and lower rates of anxiety, depression and defiance in children and adolescents.

The following are 4 parenting styles that have been identified in the research that are consistent with what is stated above. Understanding where you fall in these parenting styles could be an important component to the relationship with your child or adolescent, and to the future psychological and emotional success of your youngster.


  • High behavioral control, low psychological control & high support.
  • Nurturing, affectionate, sets boundaries, disciplines through guidance, open communication.


  • High behavioral & psychological control, low support.
  • Strict, inflexible, high expectations, punishes rather than disciplines


  • Low behavioral & psychological control, high support.
  • Nurturing, affectionate, few or inconsistent boundaries, takes role of the ‘friend’ rather than ‘parent


  • Low behavioral & psychological control, low support.
  • Emotionally detached, self-absorbed, inconsistent or no boundaries, little interaction