Parenting Style Affects Health

How you parent your child can affect their behavior, grades, and yes even their weight. Dr. Mayer reports on a recent research study that found that “parenting style is associated with a 500% difference in the risk of childhood obesity.” I don’t know about you but 500% seems like an awful lot to me. And this percentage is completely dependant upon parenting style.

There are four main parenting styles:

Authoritarian – The parent decides what is best for the child and the child is expected to follow the decisions of the parents. Children are usually held to a high level of achievement. Physical punishment is often used instead of teaching internal discipline.

Authoritative – Parents and children work together to make decisions. The authoritative parent takes into consideration the needs and desires of the child before ultimately making the decision themselves. The child is held to certain guidelines and responsibilities.

Permissive – The permissive parent engages in a joint decision making process with their child. But ultimately they allow their child to make their own decisions. The child determines the rules and discipline is used sporadically if at all.

Unengaged – By far the worst parenting style. Unengaged parents allow their children to make their own decisions without being involved in the process at all.

What researchers have found is that authoritative parenting is “associated with lower rates of obesity and smoking, better grades in school, and fewer symptoms of depression.” Authoritative parents help their children learn to regulate their own behavior. They realize that their parents love them and respect them and usually show their parents the same love and respect.

Authoritative parents do four key things:

1. They are respectful of their child’s opinions and consider them when making decisions.

2. Set limits and rules with pre-arranged consequences if the rules are broken. Then they follow through and enforce the consequences when limits are violated.

3. “Give their child choices among acceptable options.” This allows their child to make decisions for themselves within parental given guidelines.

4. Set a good example by modeling appropriate behaviors.

Dr. Mayer reminds parents that “by taking a more authoritative approach to parenting, you will give your child every advantage in achieving a healthier and happier life.

Related blogs:

Authoritative Parenting: An Overview

Authoritarian Parenting: An Overview

Discipline is Not a Bad Word

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About Teresa McEntire

Teresa McEntire grew up in Utah the oldest of four children. She currently lives in Kuna, Idaho, near Boise. She and her husband Gene have been married for almost ten years. She has three children Tyler, age six, Alysta, four, and Kelsey, two. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to scrapbook, read, and of course write. Spending time with her family, including extended family, is a priority. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and currently works with the young women. Teresa has a degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and taught 6th grade before her son was born. She also ran an own in-home daycare for three years. She currently writes educational materials as well as blogs for Although her formal education consisted of a variety of child development classes she has found that nothing teaches you better than the real thing. She is constantly learning as her children grow and enjoys sharing that knowledge with her readers.