The other day I was listening to my grandchildren play with their friends, and they were discussing whose parents were the easiest, and whose were the most strict. It took me back to my own childhood, when my friends and I would compare our parents’ parenting styles. From a young age, children of every generation are very aware of the importance of different parenting styles.

While each parent is unique, there are four main parenting styles that most of us ascribe to. Ready to find out what kind of parenting style you fall under? Read on.

Parenting Style #1: Authoritative

Authoritative parenting is actually what we consider the optimal approach, because it fosters traits of open communication, rules and consequences, boundaries, maturity and the necessary social skills for healthy relationships.

You might be an Authoritative Parent if you:
• hold high standards and expectations for your child, while also being empathic and kind.
• advocate for your child.
• establish safe, positive, success-oriented environments that encourage strong bonding with your child.
• have clear expectations for your child.
• structure your child’s environment with consistency, follow-through, and clearly communicated potential consequences regarding chores, homework, meal time and bed time.
• communicate regularly with your child, checking in to see how they are feeling and use my empathic process to invest them in the process of rules and consequences.

Parenting Style #2: Authoritarian

This is the strict parent who could be defined by the biblical phrase “spare the rod, and spoil the child.”

You might be an Authoritarian Parent, if you:
• maintain a strict approach to parenting that lacks communication and the possibility of negotiation.
• spend a lot of time punishing your children for not following your rules, compared to time spent communicating both your expectations and potential consequences if those expectations are not met.
• believe you need to always project the image of being in charge.
• are somewhat aloof around your child. You do not want to appear “soft” around your child and do not allow them to see you as vulnerable.

Parenting Style #3: Permissive

The permissive parent is overly lenient and is unable to teach the rules, create structure, and be consistent with consequences.

You may be a Permissive Parent, if you:
• allow your child to disobey rules regularly, without any consistent follow-through or consequences communicated ahead of time.
• would rather compromise rather than confront conflict.
• believe it is most important to be your child’s best friend.
• find yourself spending a lot of time over-negotiating, over-compromising and bribing your child.

Parenting Style #4: Uninvolved

The Uninvolved Parent is neglectful to the physical and emotional needs, safety, and care of his child.

You may be an Uninvolved Parent if you:
• are often gone from home and leave your child to take care of himself on a regular basis.
• find yourself preferring to be in places other than with your child.
• are unaware of the other people in your child’s life, including not knowing your child’s friends or teachers.
• make excuses and rationalize why you are away from your child so much in order to network for business, social connections, and maintain your public image.

Did you find yourself relating to one of these parenting styles more than another? Each parenting style can have a profound effect on children.

I’ll share what the effects are of each parenting style on children in my next blog post.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.