Expat Psychologist Amsterdam / PsyBlog  / PARENTING STYLES


Overprotective – parenting is passive and seeks to calm negative emotions at the first sign. There is often a lack of clear boundaries and inability to reassure children about their fears. This style of parenting often leads to submissive and dependent children who appear passive but lose their temper if they cannot get their own way.

Dismissive parenting does not acknowledge a child`s feelings of fear and aims to push negative experiences away. A dismissive parent will often ignore what a child is telling them and try to distract them with an (usually inappropriate) alternative such as sweets or biscuits. A parent who says “don’t be silly” or “nonsense” a lot likely to be a dismissive parent. This style of parenting leads to children becoming withdrawn or conversely leads to a lot of attention-seeking behavior such as showing off, small accident or destructive behavior towards possessions.

Permissive parenting attempts to put children`s needs first by being relaxed and easy-going. Unfortunately, permissive parenting can often fail to set the firm boundaries that growing children need in order to learn about themselves and the world around them. Permissive parents accept a child`s behavior but fail to offer guidance and reassurance or to set a limits for behavior. Permissive parents are often those who are happy to chat in the aisle of the supermarket while their children dismantle the goods on the shelves around them. Permissive parenting can lead to aggressive and anti-social children.

Authoritarian parenting was often favored by past generation when children were supposed to be seen and not heard. Authoritarian parenting is critical of a child`s negative emotions and often ignores or trivializes feelings. It is style of parenting that favors punishment and restrictions of choices. This leads to compliant and “well-behaved” children. Who have low self-esteem and confidence?

Child-focused parenting acknowledges the full range of emotions that are experienced by children. It offers reassurance when a child is afraid and clear guidance about behavior. This style of parenting sets firm boundaries and sticks to them, compromising if it is clear that it is beneficial to the child. It responds to a child`s changing needs and recognizes that a child is a separate person with a life ahead that will require the emotional and practical skills that only can be learned in childhood. This type of parenting can lead to confident and outdoing children who are capable of understanding and managing their own boundaries as they grow older.