When it comes to parenting, there are a lot of different styles one can use to raise children and prepare them for the real world.

Many years ago famed psychologist Diana Baumrind broke down three type of parenting that was heavily examined by educators, other psychologists and parents alike.

She came up with the authoritarian parent, who uses a my-way-or-the-highway type of parenting style. And the authoritative parent who’s more willing to listen to their children’s wants instead of ignoring them.

There’s also the permissive parent who just wants to make their kids happy at any financial or emotional cost.

Of course other studies and parenting categories developed — like the helicopter parent who hovers over their child’s every move and decision, and the snow plow parent that takes away every possible challenge for the child so they have it easier in life, and the “bulldozer parent who makes their presence and opinions known to every teacher, coach and school that the child encounters.

Emerging trends

To learn more about his topic and the other possible parenting categories, the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, conducted a study to determine how parenting methods differ today compared to  parenting styles of the past.

Researchers also wanted to get a better idea of what type of adults the next generation of kids will be, as a result of today’s different parenting styles.

The study gathered 3,000 parents of school-aged children across the U.S. from September 2011 to March 2012, and follow-up research was conducted in a series of interviews to further develop and name the different parenting categories. Researchers received a grant of $850,000 from the John Templeton Foundation to finance the study.

Faithful parents

The first category that researchers came up with was the “Faithful” parent, which makes up 20 percent of parents in the United States. The Faithful parent, according to the study, believes society is on a downward spiral in terms of morality and spiritual belief.

“The world can be an evil place,” a parent in this category might think, “So I have to set a strong religious foundation so my child doesn’t go astray.”

This parent usually has beliefs based in Christianity, Judaism, or Islam the study shows, and rebels against many of the social norms that they believe are actually sinful in nature.

For example, we all knew that one kid growing up who wasn’t able to come outside and play a lot, couldn’t receive phone calls or couldn’t come out to school dances or parties. Most likely these kids were raised by the Faithful type and were shielded from a lot of outside influences that their parents believed were actually harmful temptations.

Although school and overall success is important to the Faithful parent, they are more likely to place emphasis on their child’s spiritual development and the level of discipline their child has to the family’s beliefs.

Impressing God is far more important than impressing friends or teachers in the eyes of the Faithful parent, and using the help of a church, synagogue or temple for raising their child is extremely commonplace, reveals the study.

Engaged Progressives

“Engaged Progressives” represent 21 percent of parents, say researchers and are the ones that will most likely be called cool by their children’s friends.

This parenting group doesn’t use spirituality or religion to set guidelines for their child. Instead they use their own past experiences to dictate what’s right and wrong and also tend to be more optimistic about the present world and their child’s future.

The study also shows that Engaged Progressives are most likely to let their children find their own way at a very young age, as it pertains to being social, developing spiritual beliefs or engaging in sex. Meaning, if a father is talking to his 15-year-old son about condom use, instead of trying to talk him out of premarital sex is, he would fall within the Engaged Progressive category.

This type of parent also typically stays away from religion, the study found, and uses the Golden Rule as the main compass to teach morality.

And instead of trying hard to shape their child’s opinions, they consider their children to be “responsible choosers” and will probably engage in a lot more conversations with their child while listening to their needs much more than other parents.


The study also shows that 21 percent of parents would fall into the “Detached” category of parenting, where they allow their kids to shape their own destiny and have a hands-off approach to child rearing.

Researchers say this type of parent is usually pessimistic about the future and believe outside influences will have a greater impact on their child’s development.

The findings of the study determined that many of the Detached parents are Caucasian, work in blue-collar jobs, rarely eat dinner together as a family, and don’t ask their kids about homework, tests or grades that much.

Researchers also say the Detached parent doesn’t feel a close connection with their child and spends less than two hours a day with them in one-on-one interaction.

American Dreamer

There’s also the “American Dreamer,” which represents 27 percent of parents, and this parenting style is usually low-income households that do everything in their power to balance the scales of opportunity for their children.

They also try to remove every social challenge the child may face because of their financial circumstance.

Researchers say a lot of parents in this category happen to be blacks and Hispanics, and many said in the survey that they have a “very close” relationship with their children and do all they can to keep them away from the harms of their sometimes harsh environment.

This particular parent is most likely pulled away from their child more than the other groups due to working more hours and trying to better their financial situation. But they somehow still stay heavily involved in their child’s upbringing while remaining extremely hopeful about their child’s future and the opportunities in this country.

The study also revealed that between all the categories, most of the parents said their children share the same values as they do, despite outside influences– and dissension in the household is usually about everyday things like setting curfews or doing the dishes.

Researchers also found that there are less authoritarian types of parents than in previous generations and many try to properly balance the art of being a disciplinarian and friend to their child, which certainly wasn’t the case in the past with many parents.


By Daryl Nelson

Source: ConsumerAffairs – http://goo.gl/dhmTg