Parenting Styles (Baumrind, 1966)


In respect of parenting, Diana Baumrind’s works on parenting styles are among the earliest milestones in developmental psychology. They started with Baumrind’s detailed explorations into the parent-children relationships of various families in Berkeley, the US (Baumrind, 1967; Baumrind, 1971), and with her proposition of three parenting patterns – AuthoritarianAuthoritative, and Permissive.  

Table 1 compares and contrasts the three parenting styles in accordance to Baumrind (1966, 1971). Overall, authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting are two opposites, with the former exerting absolute control over children and the later yielding to children’s individuality, while authoritative parenting settles a balance between freedom and restrictions. Although both place high demands on children, authoritarian parents tend to base their standards on traditional beliefs, whereas authoritative parents rationalize their rules to meet the purposes of discipline as well as their children’s autonomous compliance.

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Table 1. A comparison between Baumrind’s three parenting styles.


In her later works, Baumrind mentioned two other parenting styles – Nonconforming and Harmonious. Nonconforming parenting was described as promoting individuality and independence in children, and at the same time expecting them to strive for excellency (Baumrind, 1971b). It can be understood that these parents exert low control – as opposed to authoritarian and authoritative ones – but hold high demands – as opposed to permissive ones.

Harmonious parenting was characterized with its focus on resolving discords within the home to conserve a peaceful environment which equally benefits all family members. Although there is certain equality in the interactions between harmonious parents  and their children, these parents maintain their adult roles, while permissive and nonconforming ones may neglect these and behave childishly. Finally, unlike nonconforming parents, harmonious parents remain agreeable with the mainstream. (Baumrind, 1971a; Baumrind, 1971b)

Perhaps due to Baumrind’s inadequate samples and a lack of supporting evidence provided by successive studies for nonconforming parenting and harmonious parenting,  current documentation refers to Baumrind’s theory of parenting styles as including only three patterns – authoritarian, authoritative and permissive. The effects of these three patterns of upbringing on children’s development have been examined by a substantial amount of research, including several by Baumrind herself. This topic will be explored in an upcoming entry at PsychPics’ Findings.




Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behavior. Child Development, 37 (4), 887-907.

Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75 (1), 43-88.

Baumrind, D. (1971a). Harmonious parents and their preschool children. Developmental Psychology,  4 (1). 99-102.

Baumrind, D. (1971b). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monograph, 4 (1). 1-103.


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