When it comes to parenting, there’s truly no ‘perfect’ or ‘right’ way to be. (Thank goodness.) With the exception of falling a little too far on the lenient or strict ends of the spectrum, being a proverbial ‘good’ parent is all about identifying your tendencies and patterns and doing the best you can to raise kind, resilient humans.
For some parents, what works is a laid-back demeanor and open conversations. For other families, strict rules help to create healthy boundaries. And for some, it’s all about figuring it out as you go. And depending on where you live, how old your kids are, and who you are as a person all weighs in on how you parent.
There are four main parenting styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved.
While research shows that Authoritative parenting helps to raise more emotionally-intelligent children, no parent is truly Authoritative all of the time (and frankly, sometimes it’s good to have a mix here and there). But depending on where you tend to fall on the parenting styles scale for the majority of the time does say a lot about how you run your household.
As parents, we are always trying to keep things in order (or some semblance of order) and create stability in our homes (and lives in general). Here’s what you need to know about how you organize based on your parenting style:
You’re probably more of an Authoritarian parent if you find yourself saying and/or thinking the following phrases: “My way or the highway,” “Because I said so,” or “No buts.” As an Authoritarian parent, your focus is discipline with the idea that creating rules, boundaries, and punishments will help your children understand that actions have consequences—an essential principle of life.
How You Organize
When it comes to organizing, you tend to see everything from a more militaristic perspective. Everything in your home has a special place, and it’s not only a job, but an obligation for things to be put back where they belong—for you, and for everyone else in the household.
As an Authoritarian parent, you see your children’s “work” as homework and chores. Just as you have your career and roles in and out of the house, your children’s “jobs” are to pick up after themselves and get their schoolwork done. Therefore, like any other “job," organizing is an intentional process, every single day. And if your children aren’t taking the time to pick up and put things in their proper places, there will be consequences. This is how they learn.
If you identify as an Authoritative parent, you flit the line somewhere between strict and laid-back. You may use phrases like, “I understand what you’re saying, but…” or “I can see you’re upset, do you want to talk about it?” or “I’m doing this because I love you” which often evoke emotional responses and open the door for discussion.
As a parent, you firmly believe that kids should be kids and enjoy life without constant rules, but you also demand respect in order to create healthy boundaries. What sets you apart in your parenting style is that you value the opinions of your children. You’re open to back-and-forth and open communication with the purpose of understanding one another (yet not necessarily shifting your mindset).
How You Organize
When it comes to organizing, you have a multi-faceted approach. On one hand, you see the value in order and encourage that order in your household whenever you can. But, you also know that organization is trumped by genuine conversation, quality time together, or other important moments that come up in the schedule.
You’re the type of parent who thrives with compromises, and you’ll often agree to a shift in timing to accommodate your children’s needs, even if that means the organizing doesn’t get done exactly when you want it to. For you, keeping things orderly is important, but not so important that you risk keeping a positive relationship with your child(ren) because you’re demanding or dictating the task and timeline.
As a Permissive parent, you probably use phrases like, “Maybe next time,” “No worries,” or “Sure, you do that,” more often than you’d like to admit. When it comes to your parenting style, you’re all about loosening the reins because you believe that kids should be kids—good, bad, or ugly.
For you, the focus is becoming your child’s friend. Your goal is to have your kids confide in you and create a different type of bond. Arguably, your heart may be in the right place, but you tend to let things slide a little more than other parents would.
How You Organize
Your Permissive style puts far greater importance on everything but organizing. Although you, like any parent, really, enjoy having a house that’s put together, you’d forsake that desire if it meant you could do something fun with your kids.
Whenever possible, you jump on opportunities to spend time with your kids, or to feel like you’re growing closer in ‘bending the rules.’ You’re even apt to push aside your own desires to accommodate theirs because you’re hopeful this will grow a bond of deeper respect. However, what you often find is that your children don’t really take your requests seriously, and at the end of the day, the house is disorganized, and items that are needed are often nowhere to be found.
As an Uninvolved parent, you’re more removed than most. Whether you’re Uninvolved by choice—hoping to intentionally grow independence and self-sufficiency in your children—or Uninvolved due to the nature of your work or schedule, you’re not around physically or emotionally.
And while your parenting focus may be to encourage your children to make their own decisions and learn from consequences, your absence can sometimes cause unhealthy disconnect as your kids are often ‘fending for themselves’ or may even feel alone at times.
How You Organize
When it comes to organization, you’re all about the kid-driven approach. Perhaps you’ve expressed (occasionally) that you desire for things to be put away or orderly, but you aren’t always around to enforce this. As a result, if it does get done, it’s either done without any support from you or not done at all.
This is the same approach that you personally take, too. Your own spaces are either organized in a way that no one else understands except you, or they’re a total mess. Ultimately, at the end of the day, organization just isn’t your priority. You have other things to focus on and in your opinion, it is what it is.
Dr. Jeff Howenstein et al. "Correlating Parenting Styles With Child Behavior And Caries". Pubmed Central (PMC), 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4559268/.