The way we discipline our children will shape and mold them into the adults they will eventually become. Discipline will help create their self-image, thoughts about appropriate behaviors and actions, and it will also influence their personalities as well. No set of parents have exactly the same discipline type as another, but couples can have similar tactics in disciplinary actions that will end up producing children with similar values, self-confidence, and personality traits.

Psychologists have pinpointed a few different types of parents by outlining their methods of discipline. Each type of parent produces different characteristics in their children and shapes their child’s psychology in different ways.

The Authoritative Parent
This type of parent is strict, but also realizes the benefit of flexibility and collaboration. The rewards and punishments that this type of parent uses helps shape their child into a responsible adolescent and adult. Like all types of parents, this approach begins when the child is still a toddler and will continue through their adolescence until the child is an adult. This is considered the most effective type of disciplinary parenting strategy by most psychologists.

The Authoritarian Parent
This type of disciplinary parenting approach is similar to the previous, but is characterized by a distinct lack of affection and the parent may also fail to give age-appropriate explanations for punishment. This parent may also indulge in phrases such as “because I said so” or “because I’m the boss.” Many children raised by these parents suffer from poor self-esteem and have general feelings of unhappiness.

The Permissive Parent
Unlike the previous styles of disciplinary practices, these parents allow their child to get away with murder and rarely punish their child at all. The children are allowed to set the boundaries and rules and any punishments imposed by the parents are rarely carried out or followed through with. This type of discipline causes children to often make poor or unsafe choices and causes children to grow into immature adolescents and adults. They also tend to do poorly in school and in many cases cause children to become resentful and unhappy.

Within these categories of parenting, there are sub-categories and mixing of disciplinary parenting styles. However, broadly speaking, most parents fall somewhere in these three groups when it comes to disciplining their toddlers. Discipline must start early because that’s when children are most open to change and habits become ingrained. The moral of the story is “start young,” and remember that your toddlers are not perfect people and neither are you. If you are supportive and loving, but firm in your choice of disciplinary actions, your child should grow into a happy and well-adjusted adult, which is something that most parents want more than anything for their children.