The Influence of Parenting Styles on the Psychological Development of Children

Parenting is invaluable for the psychological development of a child. Psychology has extensively delved into the relationship between parenting style and children’s mental health. There are different types of parental behavior that can affect children in different ways, including their emotional, social and cognitive development. This article will examine the influence of the different approaches that parents use in the upbringing on the psychological development of children.

Understanding Parenting Styles

A family is playing a game on a brown table and they look happy.

Psychologist Diana Baumrind proposed the most widely recognized parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved. These styles vary in their levels of child sensitivity and expectations.

  • Authoritative parents are warm and demanding, considered the most effective form of parenting. They are assertive and encourage their children to be independent while providing warmth and affection.
  • Authoritarian parents are highly demanding and involved but not responsive. They emphasize obedience and discipline, often resorting to punishment.
  • Permissive parents are lenient and tend not to enforce family rules strictly. They are attuned to their children’s emotions but are often under-involved in their children’s lives.
  • Uninvolved parents are low in both responsiveness and demands. They are cold and withdrawn, offering little support or guidance to their children.

Impact of Parenting Styles on Child Psychological Development

A mom is carrying her little girl on her shoulders.

Parenting Styles: Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting styles are good for children’s mental health because secure attachment, emotion regulation, and cognitive and social development are all strengthened. This type of parenting helps children become emotionally, socially, and intellectually competent as authoritative parents set the right tone from the onset.

Positive Impact on Mental Health

Authoritative parenting style has been extensively researched and found to be positively related to children’s mental health. There is evidence proving that children raised under the authoritative style are likely to experience higher self-worth, improved social skills, and fewer cases of depression and anxiety compared to other parenting styles. This is thanks to the balanced approach of authoritative parents who are warm, responsive, and also firm and controlling, establishing clear rules and boundaries.

Secure Attachment and Emotional Regulation

Authoritative parents maintain a secure attachment with their children. This kind of attachment provides a basis for healthy emotional development since children are secure in their relationship with their parents. Authoritative warmth and responsiveness ensure children feel safe to express their emotions and ask for help when necessary. Therefore, children learn how to handle stress and deal with challenging circumstances.

Cognitive Development

Authoritative parenting styles also have a key impact on children’s cognitive development. Authoritative parents teach their children to be responsible and active, encouraging them to explore and explain the world on their own. Children require nurturing to learn how to think and act rationally. This positive environment encourages curiosity and creativity, preparing them for continuous learning and success.

Communication and Social Skills

Open communication and social skills are key factors of authoritative parenting styles that boost children’s positive mental health. Authoritative parents are open to communicating with their children, expressing interest in their opinions, and encouraging them to share ideas and advice. This helps build trust and respect in the parent-child relationship. Additionally, authoritative parents demonstrate appropriate social behaviors and share valuable social interaction skills like compassion, collaboration, and problem-solving. These skills are important for interacting with others and managing everyday situations.

Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting has a detrimental impact on a child’s mental health and delays emotional development, predisposing children to anxiety disorders. Strict and less affectionate authoritative parenting causes anxiety, low self-esteem, and behavioral problems. Parents need to be aware of how their practices affect their children’s mental health and work towards creating an emotionally supportive family environment.

Negative Impact on Mental Health

Authoritarian parenting involves demanding standards and control but limited responsiveness. This results in negative mental health outcomes for the child. Authoritarian parents may lead to increased anxiety levels in children due to continuous judgment and comparison to others. The absence of affection and care can lead to feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem. The focus on conformity and obedience reduces children’s independence and social interaction abilities, potentially resulting in conduct disorders.

Emotional Development

Authoritarian parenting styles negatively impact children’s emotional development as they discourage independence. Children in authoritarian households may not freely express their desires and thoughts. The focus on obedience can result in feelings of anger and guilt if children resist these expectations. Emotional repression and internal conflict arise from a lack of opportunities to explore and express emotions freely.

Risk of Anxiety Disorders

The stress of performing to high standards without comfort can lead to anxiety issues for children raised by authoritarian parents. Strict rules and pressure create an atmosphere of fear and stress, making children excessively anxious. This chronic stress and anxiety eventually affect mental health, leading to symptoms of anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or panic disorder.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting styles have mixed impacts on children’s mental well-being. It provides freedom and autonomy but can lead to behavioral and emotional control issues. Parents must practice warmth and responsiveness along with boundary control.

Mixed Impact on Mental Health

Permissive parenting includes high nurturance but low demandingness and control. This offers children freedom to be independent but can have mixed influences on their mental well-being. Children from permissive families perceive their parents as caring, reinforcing self-esteem and security. They can explore personal interests and develop their personality. However, the lack of structure can lead to irresponsible behavior and a lack of consequence awareness.

Lack of Discipline and Boundaries

Permissive parenting styles often lack discipline and boundaries. Indulgent parents struggle with consistent control strategies, leading to behavior regulation issues. Without clear rules and repercussions, children can become irresponsible. They may not grasp the consequences of their actions and the importance of learning from them.

Emotional Well-being and Regulation

Permissiveness can cause emotional and behavioral problems due to lack of structure. A lack of rules can leave children feeling lost and unsafe in social interactions. This often leads to anxiety and stress due to perceived randomness in life. Without guidance, children may not proactively manage stress and adversity, leading to difficulty in controlling emotions and aggressive behavior.

Uninvolved Parenting

Uninvolved parenting styles have negative effects on children’s psychological health and well-being. Neglect leads to feelings of abandonment, low self-esteem, and behavior problems. It is crucial for parents to provide emotional support and engagement in their children’s lives.

Detrimental Impact on Mental Health

Neglectful parenting shows low emotional closeness and involvement, negatively impacting children’s mental health. Children raised by uninvolved parents feel neglected and abandoned, resulting in low self-esteem. Without adequate emotional care and support, these children cannot establish secure attachment. This makes them prone to behavioral disorders and difficulties in developing healthy interpersonal relationships.

Emotional Neglect and Lack of Support

Emotional neglect is a harmful quality of uninvolved parenting styles. Latchkey kids receive little comfort or psychological support from detached parents. Without parental support, children feel disconnected and insecure in relationships, leading to loneliness. This emotional neglect affects their mental health, preventing healthy attachment, emotional regulation, and self-concept development.

Risk of Mental Health Issues

The relationship between mental health issues in children and uninvolved parenting is positively correlated. Lack of attachment makes children feel defenseless, prone to psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. Without emotional support and guidance, children may resort to harmful behaviors to find acceptance. Lack of supervision and structure increases the risk of mental health problems.


Parenting directly influences the psycho-social and cognitive development of children. Authoritative parenting styles help children develop positively, while authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved styles may harm children’s mental health. It is important for parents to understand how their parenting styles affect their children. Establishing the best environment for growth and development is crucial. Learning about the impact of parenting styles on mental and emotional health is essential for parents.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Open chat
Zita Chriszto | Clinical Psychologist
Hello 👋
How can I help you?