Most parenting psychology literature talks about four parenting styles, derived from the combinations of two parenting qualities, warmth (also called “responsiveness”) and demandingness, like this:

Parenting Style Warmth Demandingness
Authoritative High High
Authoritarian Low High
Permissive High Low
Neglectful Low Low

Parents who are both warm and demanding (having high standards) are called “authoritative” and considered in psychology to be the best parents. Parents who are both not warm and have low standards are called “neglectful” and considered to be the worst parents. Authoritarian parents and permissive parents (also called “indulgent”) come out in the middle somewhere, the first lacking warmth, the second lacking standards.

The table of parenting styles below is from Rodriguez, Donovick, and Crowley’s 2009 article, “Parenting Styles in a Cultural Context: Observations of ‘Protective Parenting’ in First-Generation Latinos.” In their work with Latino parents, they decided to add a third category, autonomy granting, giving us four new parenting styles: protective, cold, affiliative, and a new kind of neglectful. I’m still thinking about this, but it seems like it could be a breakthrough in parenting theory.

It will be interesting to see if this idea is meaningful in terms of outcomes for the kids of these different kinds of parents. There is evidence, for example, that the kids of authoritarian parents have a lot more trouble with alcohol abuse than those of authoritative, and kids of permissive parents have even more trouble than that. Will there be a significant difference on this outcome between authoritarian and “cold” parents, who differ only in their giving their kids the chance to mess up or not? How about between permissive and “affiliative”?

Parenting Style Warmth Demandingness Autonomy Granting
Authoritative High High High
Authoritarian Low High Low
Permissive High Low High
Neglectful Low Low Low
Protective High High Low
Cold Low High High
Affiliative High Low Low
Neglectful II Low Low High
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