The Four Styles of Parenting

Dismissing Parent-Disapproving Parent
Permissive Parent-Conscious Parent



  • freely accepts all emotional expressions from the child
  • offers comfort to the child experiencing negative emotions
  • offers little guidance on behavior
  • does not teach the child about emotions
  • does not set limits; is permissive or inconsistent with limits
  • does not help the child solve problems
  • does not teach problem-solving methods to the child
  • believes there is little you can do about negative emotions other than ride them out
  • believes that managing negative emotions is a matter of hydraulics, release the emotion and the work is done


Children do not learn to regulate their emotions, they can have trouble concentrating, forming (or keeping) friendships, getting along with other children and respecting others. The pressure to "parent according to other's desires" can lead to an inauthentic connection and a laissez-faire approach to parenting.

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 Permissive Parent: Return to My Parenting Style Score
The Permissive Parent: Return to Home