What is Your Parenting Style?

According to Dr Phil there are three main styles, ways or levels of managing with which we deal with our children. These are:


If you are an authoritarian parent, then you tell your child exactly what to do and what not to do. The rules for behavior are very clear and you as the parent are not very flexible when it comes to the rules!

You as the parent control most of the decisions that are made in your family. You probably set goals, not only for yourself, but for your family. You give rewards and punishment. Your children know what to expect from you and what your expect from them. Things are clear and there is ambiguity. The roles in the family are clear.

You are fair and sensitive when it comes to both rewards and punishment. You do not give our rewards, nor punishment in an arbitrary fashion. The rules and expectations are clearly defined for all. Your children know what to expect from you and also know what is expected of them.

You can be confrontational at times - especially when your rules and expectations are being challenged.


As an Equalitarian parent, you give your children choices. Your family probably operates more like a team and your children feel like they like in a democracy up to some point.

As a parent, you probably are the type that likes to set your own goals and when it comes to your family's goals, they are set together as a family. Decisions that impact the family are made as a family and problems that affect the family are solved as a family.

The atmosphere in you home is of team spirit. Your children have a voice in the family and your communication style is open and effective. You and your children are good at negotiating compromises.

You have rules and expectations for the whole family and for your children. Reasons for rules are explained and there are reasonable consequences for all behaviors - reasonable rewards and reasonable discipline.

There is room for flexibility and rules and consequences are modified for depending on the situation. Children can ask for rules to be changes based on their needs. Parents are responsive to their children's needs and maturity.

Discipline is viewed as an opportunity to teach the child a lesson that the child will need to learn as he grows up.


A permissive parent takes a gently approach to parenting. You let your children be and intervene when think or see your children getting off track or getting into trouble. You allow your children to have a lot of space and like them to have ownership of ideas.

You encourage your child to be his or her best, to act compassionately and emphatically. You help them tap into their own internal motivation and help them use their need for self improvement, personal achievement and even guilt be their guide.

You know your child's buttons and will use them to get guide your child in the right direction. You encourage freedom of expression; you allow your children to voice their opinions freely and encourage their creativity.

In Dr Phil's book - Family First - Dr. Phil helps you understand you parenting style and your child's type and suggests that you adapt your parenting style to better suit your child's style.

Not only will this make your parenting task a lot easier, your child will be parented in a manner that is most suitable to his or her personality and learning style.

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