Brave Little Baby

Parenting styles and the influence thereof on sleep

Does the way we parent really matter?

There is no wrong and no right way to parent. But let’s face it, the way we parent influences how we respond and how our little ones view the world. That places a lot of responsibility on our shoulders! But rest assured, parenting styles, child temperament, social surrounding and cultural differences all play a role in how your child turns out!

What is parenting styles?

Diana Baumrind, a UCLA psychologist, pioneered parenting style in the 1960s. During her research, she noted that preschoolers’ had noticeably different behaviours. She found that each behaviour was caused by a different parenting style. Her theory links kid behaviour to parenting style. Different parenting styles can affect children’s growth and outcomes.

Today, parenting styles are categorised by two behaviours:

  • Responsiveness – Responsiveness indicates how sensitive and understanding parents are of their children’s developmental and emotional needs.
  • Demandingness – Demandingness measures how much parents demand their kids’ maturity or control their behaviour.

Parenting styles fall on a spectrum. Different children require different parenting approaches rather than a different parenting style. It might be a combination of two or more parenting styles, or whatever works best for the child’s healthy growth.

The 4 main Parenting styles:

In psychology there are 4 main parenting styles. Sometimes you can fall into one category, but most of us have a combination of 2-3:

  • Authoritative, 
  • Authoritarian, 
  • Permissive, 
  • Uninvolved.

You might have also heard about helicopter parenting, attachment parenting, respectful parenting and gentle parenting. It can all be very confusing to say the least!

If you’ve completed the quiz and you were surprised by the results, just know that it’s never too late to change if your child needs more sensitive parenting or more strict and loving boundaries.

Authoritarian (High Control, Low Responsiveness)

Authoritarian parents want maximum control over their children. They believe kids should follow unchangeable rules. These parents rarely explain why the rules exist, they discipline disobedient children instead. Children aren’t taught to solve problems or make decisions because compliance is most essential. These parents often point out kids’ errors and make them pay.

Studies reveal that children with authoritarian parents are more prone to have low self-esteem. Even though they may be obedient and good at their jobs, they may have problems being joyful, be aggressive, and get along with others.

Authoritative (High Control, High responsiveness)

Authoritative parents have rules and consequences, but they also listen to their children. These parents can read their kids’ minds and solve problems before they worsen. Instead of punishing bad behaviour, authoritative parents utilise positive reinforcement and discipline. These parents strive hard to keep a healthy relationship with their kids and explain regulations and consequences.

Children whose parents are in charge are more autonomous, responsible, and emotional.
Many parents of the current age are more authoritative in their parenting style; they realise the necessity of giving healthy and solid limits for their children without controlling them or employing punitive and detrimental techniques.


Permissive parenting is the reverse of authoritarian parenting, in which parents are too lenient and only intervene when necessary. Without rules, routines, and boundaries, kids might get overwhelmed. Our children need rules and a healthy, open relationship.


Uninvolved parents don’t know much about their children. They raise children with low self-esteem, poor school performance, and behavioural issues. These kids struggle with self-control and positive emotions, making it challenging for them to get along.

Attachment Parenting

Attachment parenting involves a caring, hands-on approach. Putting a child’s needs first promotes independence and emotional stability, they say. Physical closeness, bed-sharing, extended nursing, positive discipline, and other attachment-based parenting methods are valued.

Helicopter parenting

You’re a helicopter parent if you’re overprotective and want to control your child’s life. Helicopter parents hover over their child’s accomplishments and misfortunes (specifically, they want to protect their children from failure). Helicopter parents’ dread and anxiety might impede a child’s capacity to gain life skills, confidence, and self-sufficiency.

Want to know what your baby’s temperament is and how to approach them?

Take our Temperament Quiz

Parenting styles and sleep

A thorough sleep coaching evaluation doesn’t assign blame or tell you your parenting style is bad. Looking at your parenting style can help you find a better way to manage your children’s behaviour. If co-parents have distinct parenting styles, exploring such differences might help them manage their child’s behaviour more unitedly, lowering family conflict.

A thorough sleep coaching evaluation doesn’t assign blame or tell you your parenting style is bad. Looking at your parenting style can help you find a better way to manage your children’s behaviour. If co-parents have distinct parenting styles, exploring such differences might help them manage their child’s behaviour more unitedly, lowering family conflict.

Parental style affects what sleep tactics you’re comfortable with and whether you can be consistent and patient with gentle parenting guidelines.

  •  If you have an authoritarian parenting style, you may think rigid routines are necessary and that children should obey rigid, non-negotiable rules. 
  • If you have a permissive parenting style, you may struggle to offer any boundaries, including gentle, age-appropriate routines. 

As holistic sleep coaches we’ve spent time on our new course The Gentle Sleep Way and how to evaluate your parenting style and match it with the method you need to apply to improve sleep.

Our core beliefs

There are many ways to be gentle with your children without resorting to harsh punishment. Making sure children’s physical and emotional needs are met and that they also learn how to be considerate of others when expressing those needs and feelings is the goal. 

The word β€œgentle” can be misleading as you might think there is no form of discipline involved. But, there are consequences for misbehaviour in gentle parenting, but they are proportional to the action and in this sense very much like authoritative parenting.

Being rude and impolite should not be tolerated in a gentle parenting household. Parents could help and guide their children in character formation, but they would not punish them in a violent manner, but rather in an appropriate manner for their age. 

As a parent, you should observe and try to understand why your child is behaving in this way, as well as to get to the root of the problem. Always be honest and show your children that human beings are also capable of making mistakes.

Lastly, we invite you to reflect on these parenting styles:

  • Which parts do/don’t you see in yourself
  • Is this a problem, blind spot, or irrelevant to you?
  • What is the most important part of how you were brought up? What do you think is bad about it?
  • What aspect of yourself do you wish to focus on?

Struggling with bedtime battles, night wakings, short naps or early mornings? We’ve got a gentle way and tak parenting styles & baby temperament into consideration!

Our Gentle Sleep Way online, self paced, course is what you have been looking for

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