Is It Better to Be Laid Back or Strict As A Parent?

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to parenting, but some approaches are definitely more popular than others. Some parents choose to be laid back and go with the flow, while others take a more strict approach. So which is better? The answer depends on your child and what works best for your family. Every child is different, so you may need to try out multiple approaches to see what works best for you. However, there are some benefits to each style of parenting.

The Types of Parenting Styles

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There are a variety of different parenting styles that can all lead to positive outcomes. The four most common parenting styles are authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved, and authoritative.


The authoritarian parenting style usually results in children who are obedient and well-behaved. This is because authoritarian parents are very strict, setting clear rules and expectations that their children must follow. They also exert a lot of control over their children’s lives, often using harsh punishment to enforce their laws. However, this parenting style can also have some adverse effects. Children raised by authoritarian parents may become anxious and resentful and have trouble thinking for themselves or making decisions. In addition, authoritarian parenting can often lead to behavioral problems in children.


High expectations and clear boundaries characterize the authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parents are supportive and demanding, providing their children with structure and guidance while encouraging independence. This parenting style has been shown to be the most effective in child development, as it leads to competent, self-confident, and resilient children. One of the critical elements of authoritative parenting is positive reinforcement. By praising their children for good behavior, authoritative parents help them feel valued and motivated. Another important element of authoritative parenting is consistency. By setting firm rules and enforcing them consistently, authoritative parents provide their children with a sense of stability and predictability. Authoritative families are typically warm and close-knit, with strong parent-child bonds.


Permissive parenting, also known as free-range parenting, is a parenting style characterized by low levels of demand and high levels of responsiveness. Permissive parents are typically very warm and nurturing, but they may also be permissive regarding rule enforcement. As a result, kids of permissive parents may have difficulty following rules and display defiant or impulsive behavior. While permissive parenting can have some negative effects, it also has some positive aspects. For example, permissive parents tend to be very supportive and accepting of their children. This can foster a strong sense of self-esteem and encourage children to be independent thinkers. In addition, permissive parenting may help promote children’s creativity and flexibility.

Uninvolved or Neglectful

A neglectful parenting style is characterized by little to no involvement in the child’s life. Although this does not include neglecting basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing, it can include neglecting emotional needs, such as love, support, or any type of structure. Uninvolved parents would also often not bother with any consequences for bad behavior, as they have no expectations of the child. This type of parenting often leads to substance abuse and delinquent behavior in children. Neglectful parenting can have a lasting impact on children, leading to a lifetime of challenges.

How Laid Back is Neglectful, and How Strict is Authoritarian?

How a parent chooses to raise their child is a personal decision that is often based on a combination of factors, including the child’s age, temperament, and the family’s cultural values. There is no one right way to parent, but some general parenting styles tend to produce different outcomes in children.

To some, permissive parenting may look too laid back, but for kids that develop differently, this style may be a good approach to developing creativity and autonomy. At the same time, the authoritarian style may also work for children that have already learned mature behaviors. Ultimately, being too strict or too laid back is subjective, and it all depends on what the child needs.

Which of the Four Parenting Styles is the Best?

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There’s a lot of debate over which parenting style is the best. Some people swear by the authoritarian style, with strict rules and harsh punishments. Others prefer the authoritative style, with consistent rules and positive reinforcement. And then some prefer a more permissive style, with more freedom and less structure. The truth is, there is no single correct answer. Every family is different, and every child is unique. What works for one family might not work for another.

The most important thing is to be flexible and responsive to your child’s needs. As your child grows and develops, you may need to adjust your parenting style to reflect their changing needs. A more authoritative approach may be necessary for young children to instill discipline and promote good behavior. As they get older, they will need more independence and freedom to explore their interests. The key is always being attuned to your child’s needs and willing to adjust your parenting accordingly. By being flexible and sensitive, you can ensure that you’re always giving your child the best possible care.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the answer? Is it better to be laid-back or strict as a parent? The answer is, “It depends.” It’s important to find parenting practices that fit your family and your child and that you can stick with over time. Raising children is hard enough without trying to do something that doesn’t feel natural to you. But don’t forget — even if you choose a more relaxed approach, it’s still important to build positive relationships, set boundaries, and establish rules your child needs to follow. And whatever approach you take, always remember to put your child’s safety first. Share your thoughts in the comments below.



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

Boss Parenting
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