Improving parenting education is key to helping parents know that they are raising their children in a helpful way.

It could be considered that how a mother and father elect to raise their children is a personal and private matter. However, practitioners and professionals are dedicated to assisting parents to develop a framework that helps guide their parenting style.

The key is to improve parents’ understanding of the cause and effect of a chosen parenting style, and provide tips on tailoring this for their individual family environment.

What we know for sure is that the style of parenting matters to a child’s development, as childhood experiences have a lasting impact all the into adulthood.

Some adults believe parenting is something that happens after their child is born; as of this birth they are now ‘mum and dad’ and parenting will happen innately, in a largely unplanned way. Raising children is very rewarding but also involves times of frustration and uncertainty. Many parents adopt the parenting style of their own parents or quite the reverse, if they expressly do not want to raise their family the way they were raised.

Let’s outline a simple guide to understanding the effects that different parenting styles can have on children.

  1. Supportive Parenting Style
    • Warm and responsive
    • Firm rules and clear boundaries
    • Supportive rather than punishing
    • Providing choices

Effects – The child will feel safe and secure, and will trust that their needs will be met.

  1. Authoritarian Parenting Style
    • Lacking warmth and responsiveness
    • Firm rules and clear boundaries
    • Discipline is aimed at obedience
    • Giving orders

Effects – The child does not trust that their needs will be met and therefore becomes emotionally distant and does not feel free to explore new surroundings.

  1. Permissive Parenting Style
    • Warm and responsive
    • Seeming more like a friend than a parent
    • Lenient with few demands
    • Discipline is basically non-existent
    • Giving in often

Effects – The child lacks self-discipline, poor social skills and may become self-involved and over demanding. They may feel insecure due to a lack of boundaries. The child may adopt risky behaviours.

  1. Disengaged Parenting Style
    • Lacking warmth and responsiveness
    • Neglectful, make few demands
    • Discipline is minimal to non-existent
    • Giving little or nothing to the child

Effects – The child is exposed to neglectful and insensitive parenting and therefore the can become anxious, insecure, upset, angry, sad and worried. The child does not trust that their needs will be met.

The Play, Learn, Think and Care Parenting Framework 

According to the Education Council of Australia, the supportive parenting style should be the goal of every mother and father. Parents can help their children enjoy the best possible start in life by being loving and affectionate, caring and warm. Parents should participate and engage with their children on a regular basis and establish limits to help the child understand and express their emotions, ultimately, being a good role model and protecting them from anti-social or aggressive behaviour. You can provide a solid foundation for your child to lead a positive and meaningful life based on solid values and principles.

Parents Also Need to Look After Themselves

Children can flourish in a variety of environments and circumstances; it is what parents do, rather than who they are with, that will impact a child’s development.

A parent needs to believe in their parenting abilities, have the self-confidence to raise their children well and to have the necessary skills to do so.  A parent’s own health and wellbeing is also associated with good parenting.

Finding assistance

Are you asking, “What sort of parent would I like to be? What sort of parent am I?”  Our trained  child psychologists offer family therapy and individual counselling to assist in addressing many difficulties of life – no matter how small. If you feel stuck, please call Strategic Psychology to make a confidential appointment. No referral is required unless you intend to claim a Medicare rebate.


Department for Education and Child Development

Victoria State Government Education and Training (Family and Parenting Services)

Parenting and families in Australia (Social Policy Research Paper No. 34)

DECD Practical Guide from working with families from pre-birth to eight years old