As we all acknowledge how important a role parents play in their child’s upbringing, there is plenty of research still going on to figure out ideal parenting styles for young children. 

Every parent is unique and adopts a parenting style based on how they perceive their child. But, did you know that, as a parent, your parenting style, not only affects the intellectual but the emotional and social intelligence of your child too. Your awareness towards your child’s feelings and your ability to soothe, empathize and guide them at the right moment shall determine their success in all walks of life and relationships.

Development psychologists have been studying parenting styles for a very long time now. However the accurate cause-and-effect link between parents’ past actions and child’s later behavior is difficult to access. 

During the early 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children (Baumrind, 1967). Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she discovered four important dimensions of parenting:

  • Disciplinary strategies
  • Warmth and nurturance
  • Communication styles
  • Expectations of maturity and control

These dimensions help establish the specific parenting style and hence its outcome.

Here are a few common parenting styles and how they can affect the emotional growth of your children. Can you identify which one of them is yours?

Authoritarian Parenting:

In this style, the communication is usually one-way, where a child’s emotions are usually dismissed. Parents can be demanding, directive and set strict rules to adhere to. According to Baumrind, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (1991).

What is your Parenting Style? 1

Laissez Faire:

Here, parents freely accept the emotional expression of their child. They offer little guidance on the child’s behavior and are indifferent to the child’s socio-emotional needs.  This results in difficulty in handling emotions for any child. Lack of significant gestures and improper, carefree body language can sometimes make a child feel that he or she isn’t loved enough or cared for.

Uninvolved Parenting :

In such cases, parents adhere to the basic needs of their children however remain detached from them. In many cases they don’t respond to their child’s emotions and set no as such expectations from them. As a result, the child grows with the feeling that emotions are invalid and inappropriate. Hence the child develops guilt in the future for being expressive and feels surplus amount of suppression. There have been many instances where a child has shown characteristics of low self-esteem and low competence as well.

Permissive Parenting:

As a child’s emotional coach, the parent takes the child’s emotional needs seriously. They are nurturing, communicative and consider negative emotions as opportunity for intimacy. These children have high self-esteem, can regulate their emotions very well. According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation” (1991)

Disrespectful of feelings:

Such parents do not at all consider the importance of child’s emotions. For them emotions are a waste of life. They are more practical & target oriented. As a result, the child grows with the feeling that emotions are invalid and inappropriate.

Emotional Coach:

As a coach, the parent takes the child’s emotions seriously and tries to understand what is upsetting them. They value the emotions and consider negative emotions as opportunity for intimacy. These children are high in their self-esteem, can very well regulate their emotions and control and solve their problems all alone.

There are hundreds of studies showing that how parents treat their children- whether with harsh discipline or with empathetic understanding, has deep and lasting consequences for the development of the child’s emotional life.


Many studies show that parents treating their children- be it with authoritative discipline, with empathetic understanding or a mixture of different styles based on a child’s needs; has deep and lasting consequences for the development of the child’s socio-emotional life.

We understand parenting is a very difficult task. And given the growing importance of EQ in this era,we need to focus on the emotional and social development of our children. There are specific combinations of parenting practices within a parent that particularly impact child development rather than separate parenting practices or dimensions (e.g., Baumrind 1991; Maccoby and Martin 1983). Hence promoting situational and comforting parenting practices with unconditional positive regard can shape children into emotionally sound individuals. 

Just as we send our kids to school for their intellectual development; we need to indulge our kids in the activities that shall help them promote their emotional and social development. We need to teach them to comprehend the world with basic non- verbal cues too, to build a pattern of making wise decisions both mentally and emotionally. This, not only brightens the future of your child but also creates an everlasting bond that lasts between you and your child. As psychologists say, “Your body keeps a count”.