Creative Child

Love and Limits

by Rebecca Eanes

Parenting very often feels like a balancing act. It can be tricky to find the sweet spot between permissive and authoritarian, that ideal place that many experts refer to as authoritative. In Parenting Styles: What They Are and Why They Matter, Kendra Cherry breaks down the difference between 4 parenting styles. Here is my summary.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


These parents highly value obedience. They have strict rules and expect absolute adherence. A toe across the boundary calls for swift punishment. While authoritarian parents love their children, control is valued above responsiveness. They don’t express a lot of warmth or nurturing, nor do they give children many choices. Authoritarian parents often have a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, and their expectations are often higher than achievable. Children raised by authoritarian parents often learn to be obedient in an effort to obtain approval and love from their parents, but they are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem, depression, unhappiness, and anxiety.


The opposite of authoritarian, permissive parents are often their children’s BFFs. They show lots of love, warmth, and nurturance, but they don’t have clear rules. There are little expectations or demands from permissive parents, and discipline is either non-existent or very inconsistent. Though children of permissive parents often have higher self-esteem than children of authoritarian parents, they are often overly indulged and become less self-disciplined than children raised under an authoritative style. These kids may also feel insecure because of the lack of boundaries and somewhat lost at sea without a captain to guide them.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


Not bothering to set rules or expectations and not being warm and responsive, uninvolved parents are generally detached. As you might expect, this has the worst outcome for children, leading to low self-esteem and a lack of self-control.


The parenting style associated with the best outcome, and also in line with Positive Parenting, authoritative parents set clear boundaries and provide consistent discipline (teaching) while also being highly responsive, warm, and nurturing. Children are expected to follow rules, be responsible, and exhibit proper behavior, but blind obedience is not expected. Being more democratic, these parents are big on communication, listening to their children and working together to find solutions to the problems that arise. Studies show this parenting style raises children who are happy, capable, and successful.

Tips on how to strike the perfect balance on page 2...

1 of 2

You might also like.

Want more? Follow us.

Join our newsletter and get the latest updates!
Hit "Like" to see Creative Child on Facebook