The Four Styles of Parenting

Dismissing Parent-Disapproving Parent
Permissive Parent-Conscious Parent



  • values the child's negative emotions as an opportunity for intimacy
  • can tolerate spending time with a sad, angry or fearful child; does not become impatient with the emotion
  • is aware of and values his or her own emotions
  • sees the world of negative emotions as an important arena for parenting
  • is sensitive to the child's emotional states, even when they are subtle
  • is not confused or anxious about the child's emotional expression and knows what needs to be done
  • respects the child's emotions
  • does not poke fun at or try to make light of the child's negative feelings
  • does not say how the child should feel
  • does not feel that he or she needs to fix every problem for the child
  • uses emotional moments as a time to
  • - listen to the child
    - empathize with soothing words and affection
    - help the child label the emotion he or she is feeling
    - offer guidance on regulating emotions
    - set limits and teach acceptable expression of emotions
    - teach problem-solving skills


Children learn to trust their feelings, regulate their own emotions and solve problems. They have high self-esteem, learn well and get along with others. They share a mutual respect with their parent and that emotional bond fosters cooperation within the family.

A Self-Test: What Style of Parent Are You?
The Heart of Parenting: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

p.43-48, John Gottman Ph.D., ©1997 Simon & Schuster

The Conscious Parent: Return to My Parenting Style Score
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