What style of parenting is best for dealing with teens?

In our work with teens, this is a question we frequently are asked by parents who are struggling with how to best manage a difficult teen.  While there is not a “one size fits all” fits all approach to parenting teens, it is safe to state that most parenting experts agree that an Authoritative approach to parenting tends to be effective in most circumstances.  To help you understand authoritative parenting, we have listed the four most common categories of parenting below to refresh your memory about different parenting styles:

Authoritarian Parenting

In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Children’s unwilling to follow the rules usually results in some form of punishment.  Typically, authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply state, "Because I said so." Or “Because I am the parent.”  Typically Authoritarian parents  have high expectations, but are not responsive to their children.

Authoritative Parenting

Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, Authoritative parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are more responsive to their children and willing to entertain  questions and dialogue. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. Permissive parents tend to be more responsive than demanding. They tend to be lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable autonomy and usually avoid confrontation.  Permissive parents tend to be nurturing and communicative with their children; however, they often make the damaging mistake of taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent.

Uninvolved Parenting

An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child's basic needs, they are generally detached from their teen's life.  As teens become independent and separate from their parents, uninvolved parents become even more detached. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect tOptionshe needs of their children.