Parenting is a very complex, challenging, and rewarding experience. According to the American Psychological Association, The three major goals of parenting include: “Ensuring children’s health and safety, preparing children for life as productive adults, and transmitting cultural values.  . . Research has found consistent links between parenting and child behavioral adjustment.” 

In an attempt to categorize parenting styles and their effects on children’s behavior, Diana Baumrind conducted research in the late 1960’s.  She defined three primary styles of parenting: authoritarian, permissive/indulgent, and authoritative. These styles are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, depending on circumstances, parents may adhere to different approaches.  

The authoritarian  style is characterized by its rigidity.  Parents who are authoritarian are demanding but not supportive. They expect adherence to the rules they set without question. Children of authoritarian parents are more likely to be “obedient and proficient, but score lower in happiness, social competence, and self-esteem.”

The permissive/indulgent parents tend not to impose boundaries. They are lenient and avoid confrontation with their children. Consequently, children raised with these types of parents often have low impulse control and difficulty with authority.

On the other hand, authoritative parents are involved and supportive of their children. They allow them to make constructive mistakes. “This approach is deemed the most optimal parenting style to use in western cultures.” Their children tend to be happy and well adjusted. 

In 1983, Stanford researchers Maccoby and Martin expanded the model to include a fourth designation: The uninvolved/neglectful parentThis approach  is similar to permissive but lacks parental warmth.  These adults do not impose any discipline style and are often uninterested in being parents. Their children often exhibit behavior problems and suffer from depression. 

A recent study posed a correlation between three parental and teaching styles(uninvolved style not included.)Data from multiple investigations indicate that authoritarian, permissive and neglectful parenting styles are negatively associated with school performance . . .  In contrast, authoritative parenting style has been consistently related to an enhanced academic achievement.”   

When applied to classroom management, teacher styles are characterized by the amount of their involvement and control. “The authoritative approach is the best form of classroom management style because it is the one most closely associated with appropriate student behaviors.” These results appear to reflect the findings of a 2009 study  that recommended the same teaching style for academic success. “Students who experienced the same parenting style and teaching style achieved higher final exam scores than students who experienced different parenting and teaching styles.These results support that students’ academic achievement in schools are affected by the similarity and differences that exist between their home and school environments.”  

How do schools of education support teacher candidates in this essential aspect of classroom management?


Laura Maniglia