Dimensions of baumrind parenting styles

baumrind parenting styles

The baumrind parenting styles often serve as the basis for research into parenting styles and adolescent development. These four parenting dimensions were originally used to classify behavior, later broadened to include perceptions of parent-child relationships.

To begin, several significant reviews have been conducted into different views on parenting styles. The reviews generally agree that Baumrind’s findings are the best starting point for describing the various parenting styles out there. Thus it is appropriate to explore these findings in more detail before discussing modern variations and spinoffs of Baumrind’s theories.

The baumrind parenting styles theory consists of the following factors:

1. Authoritarian parents styles

A person standing in the grass

This parenting style is characterized by extremely strict rules and little to no explanation of the rationale behind these rules. Children are expected to follow the rules without any argument, regardless of whether they understand them or not; it is simply “Because I said so.”

The punishment for disobedience is swift and severe. These parents show little warmth towards their offspring, though they do believe that love should be expressed through obedience and duty towards them.

2. Authoritative parents styles

A hand holding a video game remote control

This parenting style is characterized by having moderately strict rules which are communicated to children, who are encouraged to question the rationale behind these rules. These explanations are given in a serious manner, where children are expected to take whatever they are told to be the truth.

The punishment for disobedience is based upon the child’s reasoning behind their actions; “bad” behavior will lead to less freedom, whereas “good” behaviour will lead to more freedom. Warmth and love are shown through appropriate demonstrations of affection. Expressions of warmth, however, are only given after good behaviour has been exhibited.

3. Permissive parents styles

This parenting style is characterized by having few rules, which are usually either unspoken or simply guidelines that the child may break if they feel like it. These parents give in to their children’s demands whenever possible, and encourage them to ask for anything at any time.

The punishment for disobedience is non-existent; children are only kept under control through manipulation and guilt. These parents show plenty of love towards their offspring, but fail to give them boundaries or instruct them about life skills.

4. Uninvolved parents styles

This parenting style is characterized by low levels of both demandingness and responsiveness. Rules are nearly absent within this household, and children are given free rein to do as they please.

The punishment for disobedience is nonexistent; consequences are not issued, but the child can be met with anger or disapproval of their actions inconvenience the parent in some way. Warmth is shown very rarely, though the responsiveness is actually quite high. Children are expected to meet a few demands of their own.


The baumrind parenting styles are not the only way to classify parenting styles, but they are one of the most commonly used. Other theories include the hierarchical model, the transactional model, and the family systems theory. Each have their own unique aspects that can contribute towards an understanding of what parents are like. However, there is much overlap between these methods, so it is often suggested that a combination of two or more theories be used when attempting to understand a given family dynamic.

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