K. H. Grobman

This is a collection of resources to help you teach about Diana Baumrind's observed Parenting Styles. Here you will find: (1) excerpts from her original work on the topic (excellent for sparking class discussion) (2) some information you might put on slides or prepare for yourself, and (3) a fun role-playing activity to push students to apply what they have learned.

Here is a PDF file Baumrind Parenting Styles handout for your students.

You may request a single copy of a 21-page PDF file of the original article by sending a short note to teach@devpsy.org; then you can make two copies available for your students on reserve.

Diana Baumrind's (1966) Prototypical Descriptions of 3 Parenting Styles

First paper where prototypes are published:
Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior, Child Development, 37(4), 887-907.

Second, and most often cited, paper with extensive discussion of parenting styles:
Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88.

The permissive parent attempts to behave in a nonpunitive, acceptant and affirmative manner towards the child's impulses, desires, and actions. She [the parent] consults with him [the child] about policy decisions and gives explanations for family rules. She makes few demands for household responsibility and orderly behavior. She presents herself to the child as a resource for him to use as he wishes, not as an ideal for him to emulate, nor as an active agent responsible for shaping or altering his ongoing or future behavior. She allows the child to regulate his own activities as much as possible, avoids the exercise of control, and does not encourage him to obey externally defined standards. She attempts to use reason and manipulation, but not overt power to accomplish her ends (p. 889).

The authoritarian parent attempts to shape, control, and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of the child in accordance with a set standard of conduct, usually an absolute standard, theologically motivated and formulated by a higher authority. She [the parent] values obedience as a virtue and favors punitive, forceful measures to curb self-will at points where the child's actions or beliefs conflict with what she thinks is right conduct. She believes in keeping the child in his place, , in restricting his autonomy, and in assigning household responsibilities in order to inculcate respect for work. She regards the preservation of order and traditional structure as a highly valued end in itself. She does not encourage verbal give and take, believing that the child should accept her word for what is right (p. 890).

The authoritative parent attempts to direct the child's activities but in a rational, issue-oriented manner. She [the parent] encourages verbal give and take, shares with the child the reasoning behind her policy, and solicits his objections when he refuses to conform. Both autonomous self-will and disciplined conformity are valued. [She values both expressive and instrumental attributes, both autonomous self-will and disciplined conformity] ... Therefore she exerts firm control at points of parent-child divergence, but does not hem the child in with restrictions. She enforces her own perspective as an adult, but recognizes the child's individual interests and special ways. The authoritative parent affirms the child's present qualities, but also sets standards for future conduct. She uses reason, power, and shaping by regime and reinforcement to achieve her objectives, and does not base her decisions on group consensus or the individual child's desires. [... but also does not regard herself as infallible, or divinely inspired.] (p. 891) [Note that portions in brackets are significant additions to the prototype in Baumrind (1967).]

Background Information: Child Qualities & Parenting Styles

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritarian Parenting

Permissive Parenting

Background Information: Why does authoritative parenting work?

Control that appears fair and reasonable (i.e. not arbitrary) to the child is far more likely to be complied with and internalized.

Nurturing parents who are secure in the standards they hold for their children provide models of caring concern as well as confident, self-controlled behavior. A child's modeling of these parents provides emotion regulation skills, emotional understanding, and social understanding.

Parents who combine warmth and rational and reasonable control are likely to be more effective reinforcing agents. They praise children for striving to meet their expectations and making good use of disapproval, which works best when applied by an adult who has been warm and caring.

Authoritative parents make demands that fit with children's ability to take responsibility for their own behavior. Children subsequently learn that they are competent individuals who can do things successfully for themselves. This fosters high self-esteem, cognitive development, and emotional maturity.

Lesson Plan Excerpt: The fourth parenting style

Sorry I haven't had a chance to prepare this section yet. Right now my priority need to be completing my dissertation. I hope to prepare this lesson plan excerpt in the summer. Here is an outline. The basic idea is that you ask students to draw up diagrams for how the parenting styles relate. That might seem obtuse to students so you can start them out by suggesting a model: draw three blobs on the board and put a parenting style in each blob. Then say your model is that each of three styles is completely distinct from the others. That should spark on some discussion which typically leads to a "line" model where authoritative is a kind of middle point between the other two. Further debate (possibly needing your nudge) should bring out that you really need to distinct (i.e. orthogonol) lines. From there you can get the standard two-by-two matrix and fill in the reminaining style. Then explain previous research about this.

Lesson Plan Excerpt: Role Play of Parenting

Sorry I haven't had a chance to prepare this section yet. Right now my priority need to be completing my dissertation. I hope to prepare this lesson plan excerpt in the summer. Here is an outline. As the instructor, you role-play the adolescent child and the class plays the 'parents'. Set up the scenario where the parent asks a child to do a chore. The child says "no." Ask for permissive parenting responses. Then ask for authoritarian parenting responses. This is typically very easy for students to do. If you keep your demeanor relaxed and repond with humor, students end up laughing as the model these scenarios. Finally ask for authoritative parenting repsponses. These role-playing tasks are pretty easy and essentially review the basic ideas for students. Now extend the scenario by responding to the parent's authoritative suggestions with somethign like, "You never make (sibling_name) do the dishes!!!!" Now repeat the different styles. When you reach authoritative parenting, students will probably have difficulty. Most will drift into permissive parenting styles. A typical authoritative solution is to acknowledge the child's feelings, still assert a parenting role to insure the chore is done now, and arrange to work on issue for the future. (e.g. "You feel (sibling_name) does not do as many chores as you. Please wash the dishes now. We'll talk about chores as a family tonight after dinner."). Here is a place to note how you can have high control and a high level of empathy. A second point to mention when students are having trouble is the difference between 'hot' and 'cold' cognition.