Creative Child

These Parenting Styles are Best and Worst for Raising Creative Kids, According to Study

by Rebecca Eanes

In the 21st century, creativity is of increasing value, and the seed for creativity is sewn early in childhood. As such, researchers have been looking at the correlation between parenting styles and creativity, and what they’ve found is quite interesting. Across these studies, results have shown a significant positive relationship between the authoritative parenting style and creativity and a significant negative relationship between the authoritarian style and creativity.

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Let’s begin with a quick overview of the three main parenting styles looked at in these studies. Authoritarian parents are demanding and strict. This style is high in control and low on warmth. Authoritarian parents rule with an iron fist and a “my way or the highway” attitude. The focus is always on obedience, and therefore negotiation is never allowed. They make and enforce their rules with little regard to the child’s feelings or opinions.

Authoritative parenting is characterized by high standards and emotional responsiveness. Authoritative parents set appropriate limits and explain their rules while giving their children the resources and support needed for them to succeed. They take their children’s feelings and opinions into account while remaining in the leadership role. They are measured and fair in their discipline and employ positive discipline tools to teach their children better behavior and self-control.

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Permissive parents are low in standards and high in warmth. They may set rules but do not often enforce them. They are lax in teaching better behavior and have a “kids will be kids” attitude. They may place too much emphasis on the child’s feelings and opinions, letting the child take the lead all too often.

In a study coming out of the Department of Psychology and Education Sciences at Alzahra University, authoritative parents are shown to raise the most creative children while authoritarian parenting actually decreases or stunts creativity. In this study, creativity was defined as “the ability to think in new ways in which unique solutions are found to face present problems.”

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