“A Child is a reflection of his/her parent” “Children learn more from what you ARE than what you TEACH” “Kids are like a mirror. What they see and hear, they do” How often have you heard these statements? How true do you think they are? 

Children are indeed a reflection of their parents. They are like uncut diamonds in the true sense and the best part of parenting is that you get to choose what kind of a parent you want to be.

Lets go ahead and see what kind of a parent are you?  In the 1960’s, Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley, divided parenting styles into 4 broad categories.

  1. Authoritarian
  2. Permissive/Indulgent
  3. Authoritative
  4. Uninvolved/Neglectful

When she did her research on preschoolers, she noticed that each child had a different behaviour and there was a strong correlation between the child’s behaviour and the parenting style adopted by their parents. When followed through, this behaviour had an impact even on the future outcome of these children.

Each of these 4 styles were further described on the basis of the following 4 criteria.

  1. Discipline style
  2. Communication
  3. Nurturance
  4. Expectations


These parents are what I like to call the “BECAUSE I SAID SO” parents.  Their discipline style is strict with lots of time outs and punishments. Communication is always one way. Nurturance is extremely low with zero empathy and understanding. And expectations are very high with absolutely no flexibility.

The future outcome is a child with a low self-esteem, poor social involvement and ironically lower academic performance. These children invariably grow up to be irresponsible adults who may suffer from mental illnesses or may have drug/alcohol abuse.


A permissive parent is exactly the opposite of an authoritarian. Their discipline style is on the other end of the strictness spectrum with absolutely no rules whatsoever. The communication is open but the child decides everything for themselves. Nurturance is warm with loads of empathy and understanding. Expectations from the child are minimal.

These children most likely grow into egoistic, selfish and impulsive adults with problematic relationships.


These parents have a clear discipline style with set boundaries and limits which are explained to the child. Hence the communication is frequent with a very warm nurturance. Love, respect, empathy and understanding are the core of this type of parenting style.  Expectations are high but clearly explained and flexible.

The future outcome of these children is very promising with good social skills, high self-esteem, love, respect, understanding and empathy for others. Now doesn’t this prove the statement that children are the true reflections of their parents.


These parents have no rules for the kid but not out of love or respect but out of sheer indifference and negligence. The communication is limited with very low nurturance and absolutely no expectations.

These children grow into insecure adults who most likely get into drug/alcohol abuse or commit suicides.

Now let’s discuss a real-life scenario and discuss how each type of parent will deal with the situation.

A toddler screaming at the top of his voice because play time is over and he/she is supposed to keep back the toys and have a meal.

An authoritarian parent will shout back and tell the kid to keep away the toys and eat food. The reason being? “BECAUSE I SAID SO” any deviation from expected behaviour will lead to a timeout or a punishment.

A permissive parent will allow the kid to play as long as he wants and then have food. The food will be waiting for him when he is done playing.

An authoritative parent will communicate with the child, explaining limits that playtime is over and it is time to have food. The parent will help the child keep back the toys, continuously communicating and empathizing even though the child is throwing tantrums.

An uninvolved parent will not care what the child is up to. Whether it is playtime or meal time.

So now that we have discussed the parenting styles, the question remains, what kind of a parent are you?  More importantly, what kind of a parent would you like to be?  Though psychologists suggest that Authoritative style pf parenting is the best, parenting cannot go by the books. Every child is different and parenting needs to be altered according to situations. But whatever the parenting style or practices you choose to follow, the ultimate goal should be to raise happy, confident, loving, empathetic and eventually successful humans.


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Dr. Malvika Sharma

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