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This categorization, along with authoritarian parent and permissive parent are taken from the well known studies performed by Diana Baumrind (1971, 1980), a noteworthy figure in the field of Developmental Psychology. Baumrind's research, which was conducted on preschool age children, was extended through high school ages by later works (Dornbusch et al., 1987; Lamborn et al., 1991). Additionally, these catagories were found to apply to only three out of four cases.

Parents in this 'style' are characterized by willingness to discuss the rules they lay out and the decisions they make, as well as being nuturing and generally supportive of their children's autonomy. There have been efforts to attribute many desirable outcomes to this parenting style (high academic achievement, self reliance, high self-esteem, etc.) which are, in the writer's opinion, is misguided.

A matter of import that is not addressed here is the nature of the studies that have led to the conclusions above. There are two important qualifications to be made about the findings above. First, it is important to remember that the basic strategy for relating parental behaviors to child behaviors used in this line of research relies on correlational data. Consequently, there is no certainty that the differences in parenting styles caused the differences in intellectual and social competence observed.

Second, it has been pointed out that preexisting behavior tendencies in children can greatly affect the style of parenting their parents assume (Scarr, 1993). These ideas are further supported by research on personalities of biologically unrelated children in the same household (Plomin & Bergeman, 1991). From these studies we can draw two possible conclusions: the effects of parental care giving are minimal, or that parents' care giving style varies from child to child.

You tell me.