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What Parenting Styles Are Effective With Teens?


Across the board, no matter where you do your research, you’ll find a variant of the following four parenting styles:

  • Authoritarian

  • Neglectful

  • Permissive

  • Authoritative

Different parenting styles have different effects and outcomes on children, some more effective and beneficial than others. With teenagers, parenting becomes more difficult dealing with the rebellion, experimenting, hormones, mood swings, and more. Teenagers want independence, freedom to make their own choices, privacy, respect, and the list goes on. Tailoring your parenting style to effectively manage these difficult years is essential to the parent-teen relationship and their overall prosperity.

In order to determine which parenting style you use and which is best to use with your teen, you must first have the knowledge of what each style is and how the styles look:

Authoritarian: I often find myself explaining this parenting style as the “my way or the highway style”. It may also be called “The Disciplinarian”. Parents who use this style may call themselves “stern” or “strict”. Authoritarian parents have rules and these rules MUST be followed by their children. Explanations and additional communication are not a priority as the expectation is for the child to listen and obey “because I said so”.

Neglectful: Also often called “ The Uninvolved” style. These parents are unresponsive, unavailable, and even in some cases unaware. These parents may be absent from their children’s life and homes both emotionally and physically. Neglectful parents are also not active in providing for their child’s needs emotionally or physically, nor are they active in their day to day lives.

*If you recognize any of these neglectful parenting style characteristics or know someone who demonstrates these concerning behaviors, don’t hesitate to call for help. Their children may be at risk of neglect and abuse.

  • All Emergencies: 911

  • Florida Abuse Hotline: 1-800-96-ABUSE

  • Online Abuse Reporting: http://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/abuse-hotline

Permissive: When you hear permissive, think “permission”. Parents who practice a permissive parenting style tend to be lenient, easy going, and give their children permission to do as they please. These parents often strive to be the “cool parent” or their children’s “best friend”. Permissive parents tend to have poor boundaries, structure, and minimal clear and concise rules.

Authoritative: The authoritative parent practices boundaries, sets rules, has realistic expectations, and gives support to their children. Authoritative parents provide appropriate consequences and discipline to their children. However, unlike the authoritarian parenting style, these parents provide explanation and help their children understand WHY the consequences are necessary. They do this through open communication and mutual respect.

So what style is best for parenting a teenager?

In reading these 4 parenting styles, one should have stood out as the “better” option. Authoritative Parenting has been proven to lead children on a path of more success, build their self-esteem, and foster responsibility to benefit them in the long run. Authoritative parents set rules, boundaries, reasonable expectations, and discipline their children as needed. With teenagers, authoritative parenting is essential to help teach them to make sound choices, evaluate safety risks, and assess consequences to their actions.

However, as teens experiment and try new things, parents can too! It is totally fine to incorporate some of the concepts of the other parenting styles. For example, practicing some permissive parenting concepts such as giving your child space and privacy, letting them see “your fun side”, or making yourself available to be their “friend” can help to increase the bond and trust between you and your teen.

In addition, authoritarian concepts such as strict rules and discipline can be applied if your teen is being overly disobedient. If you assure to have a strong base of the authoritative parenting style, it can be beneficial to mix it up from time to time. The teenage years are full of ups and downs so don’t be afraid to alter your approach as needed.

If you or your teen are struggling with this complex time, there is help! Reach out to Jamie Ratowski to discuss setting up a session at 954-391-5305 ext. 9.

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