Parenting Styles, Which One Do You Use?


Today's post is for parents and parents to be.

We all used to be children once upon a time and some of us even have our own children today.

Knowing how the different parenting styles effect a child's responses and ways of being as they grow older can give us insight into how our own behavior can be mindfully modified to provide any child with the most opportunities to be emotionally healthy and stable so that they live to their full potential in all aspects of their life. Read on for the details of the article that can be found by clicking on the image above....

"Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships. For parents, this quality of “emotional intelligence” means being aware of your child’s feelings, and being able to empathize, soothe, and guide them.

When it comes to raising children, what parental behaviors make the difference? As a research-psychologist studying parent-child interactions, Dr. Gottman has spent much of the past forty years looking for the answer to this question. Working with research teams at the University of Illinois and the University of Washington, his studies involved lengthy interviews with parents, talking about their marriages, their reactions to their children’s emotional experiences, and their own awareness of the role emotion plays in their lives.

The results tell a simple, yet compelling story. We have found that most parents fall into one of two broad categories: those who give their children guidance about the world of emotion and those who don’t. We call parents who get involved with their children’s feelings “Emotion Coaches.” 


The Dismissing Parent 

  • Treats child’s feelings as unimportant, trivial 
  • Disengages from or ignores the child’s feelings
  • Wants the child’s negative emotions to disappear quickly
  • Sees the child’s emotions as a demand to fix things
  • Minimizes the child’s feelings, downplaying the events that led to the emotion
  • Does not problem-solve with the child, believes that the passage of time will resolve most problems 

Effects of this style on children: They learn that their feelings are wrong, inappropriate, not valid. They may learn that there is something inherently wrong with them because of the way they feel. They may have difficulty regulating their own emotions. 

The Disapproving Parent 

  • Displays many of the Dismissing Parent’s behaviors, but in a more negative way 
  • Judges and criticizes the child’s emotional expression
  • Emphasizes conformity to good standards of behavior 
  • Believes negative emotions need to be controlled 
  • Believes emotions make people weak; children must be emotionally tough for survival 
  • Believes negative emotions are unproductive, a waste of time

Effects of this style on children: Same as the Dissaproving style.


The Laissez-Faire Parent

  • Freely accepts all emotional expression from the child 
  • Offers little guidance on behavior
  • Does not set limits
  • Believes there is little you can do about negative emotions other than ride them out
  • Does not help child solve problems 
  • Believes that managing negative emotions is a matter of hydraulics, release the emotion and the work is done 

Effects of this style on children: They don’t learn to regulate their emotions. They have trouble concentrating, forming friendships, and getting along with other children. 

The Emotion Coach

  • Values the child’s negative emotions as an opportunity for intimacy
  • Is aware of and values her or her own emotions
  • Sees the world of negative emotions as an important arena for parenting 
  • Does not poke fun at or make light of the child’s negative feelings
  • Does not say how the child should feel 
  • Uses emotional moments as a time to listen to the child, empathize with soothing words and affection, help the child label the emotion he or she is feeling, offer guidance on regulating emotions, set limits and teach acceptable expression of emotions, and teach problem-solving skills 

Effects of this style on children: They learn to trust their feelings, regulate their own emotions, and solve problems. They have a high self-esteem, learn well, and get alone well with others. 


The concept of Emotion Coaching is a simple one that’s rooted in our deepest feelings of love and empathy for our children. Unfortunately, however, Emotion Coaching doesn’t come naturally to all parents. Rather, Emotion Coaching is an art that requires emotional awareness and a specific set of listening and problem-solving behaviors – behaviors Dr. Gottman and his colleagues identified and analyzed in their observation of healthy, well-functioning families. The path to becoming a better parent, like almost every road to personal growth, begins with self-examination. On Friday, we will share an assessment to help you determine what style of parent you are."

Information from Dr. John Gottman's article which can be found by clicking here.