When it comes to co-parenting for divorced couples, there is no guidebook. Each situation is unique, and parents often learn on the fly. If there is one constant, it is that divorced parents must continue to work together to ensure that whatever parenting style they use is in the best interests of their child.
Researchers have pinpointed four different parenting styles, born of analysis of control and responsiveness factors in parent/child relationships.
1. The permissive approach
Permissive parents take a fairly hands-off approach to raising their children. They may be indulgent, prefer to avoid confrontational situations and often relate to their offspring more as friends than parents.
2. The uninvolved parent
Uninvolved parents go several steps beyond the permissive approach. They meet the basic needs of their children but remain aloof and mostly unresponsive to further requirements of parenthood. They set down few rules and offer little in the way of guidance or support.
3. Authoritarian parenting
Authoritarian parents have a strict set of rules that they expect children to obey without question. Punishment for disobedience is usually harsh. Since the parents offer little explanation, the children wonder what kind of mistakes they made that resulted in stern disciplinary action.
4. Authoritative parenting
Authoritative parents resemble authoritarian parents in one respect: They establish a set of rules they expect their children to follow. The difference is that this type of parenting includes understanding and support. Authoritative parents listen to their children and provide feedback. Nurturing trumps punishment. They want their children to become socially responsible adults.