Parenting Style Quiz (Free Test)

There is a lot of pressure to be the “perfect” parent: to have children that obey the rules, but are happily doing so. No parent will ever be perfect, but the styles in which parents approach expectations, boundaries, and nurturing can set a child up for more or less success. 

This parenting style quiz and overview will help you assess where you are at in terms of parenthood and how you can make changes to adhere to a more “ideal” parenting style. Remember that all children are different, and the best way to assess your parenting abilities may be to reach out to community members or a family counselor. 

What Are the Four Parenting Styles? 

The four parenting styles are authoritative, permissive, authoritarian, and neglectful. These styles are determined based on the warmth of the parent, alongside how much they demand of the child. All parenting styles have produced productive adults; the authoritative style is most likely to set a child up for success. 

Warm vs. Cold Parenting Styles

Warm parents tend to embrace their children, both literally and figuratively. They provide support through every step of the child’s growth and development, offering positivity and encouragement along the way. Children, a warm parent believes, are imperfect and always deserving of love and kindness. This might mean that a child gets away with a slip-up here and there, but that’s okay, because the parent has faith that the child will learn lessons along the way. 

A cold parent does not offer the same support. Praise is not easily dished out, especially if the child is misbehaving or stepping out of line. Colder parents see a distinct boundary between the parent and child, or the adult and child, and communicate those boundaries very firmly. Once guidelines are set by cold parents, they are not bent. 

In general, studies show that the warmer styles of parenting produce happier, more productive children. A child who forms a positive, trusting relationship with the parent is also more likely to develop a secure attachment style that creates healthy, happy relationships later in life.   

Demanding vs. Undemanding Parenting Styles

How much does a parent demand of their child? A demanding parent asks a lot. Chore charts, screen limits, and morning routines are typical of a demanding parent’s style. They communicate these demands to their children and follow through. 

An undemanding parent does not ask as much of the child. They might shrug off certain responsibilities because “they’re just kids.” An undemanding parent may make a child’s bed for them, pick up after their toys, or help them with their homework to the point that the parent does it themselves. Or, they may just neglect to set these demands entirely, leaving the child to fend for themselves. 

A demanding parent can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the warmness behind it. Experts say that the most effective parenting style is demanding, yet warm. Undemanding parents may either neglect their child or fail to establish boundaries and expectations that will form an adult who is disciplined and respectful of authority. 

The Four Parenting Styles

  • Authoritative parents are a mixture of warm and demanding.
  • Authoritarian parents are a mixture of cold and demanding. 
  • Permissive parents are a mixture of warm and undemanding.
  • Neglectful parents are a mixture of cold and undemanding. 

Although different parenting styles work for different children, experts generally suggest that parents aim to be authoritative parents: warm and demanding. 

Can You Change Your Parenting Style?

Yes! If you take the results of this quiz (or receive feedback from friends and family) and aim to be a more authoritative parent, you’re already on the right path. Listening to others is crucial to being an authoritative parent. Authoritative parents listen to their child and can be flexible in their discipline or encouragement. A neglectful, permissive, or authoritarian parent may not become the “perfect” authoritative parent overnight, but remember that no parent is perfect. The effort to become an authoritative parent, along with the help of others, can make a significant transformation in your and your child’s life. 

Ways To Become a More Authoritative Parent 

Understand your parenting style. 

Permissive parents have to make different changes than a neglectful or authoritarian parent. Take some time to reflect on how your parent your child. Are you colder than other parents that you know? Do you tend to bend the rules when you could be more disciplined? To further assess your parenting styles, do not be afraid to reach out to your child’s teacher, family friends, or a professional. 

Reinforce authoritative beliefs about children. 

To set appropriate boundaries and discipline a child like an authoritative parent, you will have to think like an authoritative parent. Authoritative parents generally have the following beliefs:

  • Children, like adults, long to be loved, nurtured, and feel like they belong.
  • No one is perfect: adults or children! 
  • Mistakes are a learning opportunity. 
  • The mind is always growing, never fixed. 
  • Children will not know how to do things unless someone (usually you!) shows them. 

If you strongly disagree with any of these, it makes sense you may not be so authoritative! Talk to your co-parent or friends about how you can lean into these beliefs. Remember that you do not have to hold the same beliefs about children that your parents held. 

Be mindful of your actions. 

Before you discipline a child, take a step back. Breathe deeply and be mindful of your thoughts. Are you setting and enforcing boundaries in a warm, yet demanding way? Could you embrace your child more? Take time if you need to think about the appropriate punishments for your child, and talk to your child about your reasoning only when you are in a calm headspace. 

Ask your partner, friends, or a family counselor to hold you accountable. 

It takes a village to raise a child. Parents who are dealing with stress, divorce, or demands from their jobs may have a harder time providing clear boundaries and the nurturing care that a child needs. There is no shame in asking a partner, friends, or a professional to keep you accountable as you set expectations for your child. 

Questions 

[Set One Determines Warmness vs. Coldness] 

  1. Above all, children need love and affection.
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1 
  2. My child loving me is more important than them following the rules I have set. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1
  3. Children should be free to express themselves as who they are. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1
  4. Children deserve a right to privacy. There are plenty of topics that do not have to be discussed between parents and children. 
    1. Strongly agree – 1
    2. Agree -2 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree -3 
    4. Disagree -4 
    5. Strongly disagree – 5 
  5. Praise is just as important, if not more important, than punishment. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1 
  6. Getting in fights or getting teased will make your child stronger in the end. 
    1. Strongly agree – 1 
    2. Agree -2 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3
    4. Disagree – 4 
    5. Strongly disagree – 5  
  7. The only thing worse than a child’s cries are their arguments when you try to reason with them. 
    1. Strongly agree – 1 
    2. Agree -2 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3
    4. Disagree – 4 
    5. Strongly disagree – 5  
  8. Hugs, kisses, and cuddles are important for growing a bond between a child and their parents. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1
  9. Parents need to establish that they are the authority figure in their household, and that authority figures are to be obeyed. 
    1. Strongly agree – 1 
    2. Agree -2 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3
    4. Disagree – 4 
    5. Strongly disagree – 5  
  10. It’s important for me, as a parent, to support my child at all of their sporting events/recitals/graduations and have dinner with them every night. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1

[Results: Cold 10-30 Warm 31-50]

[Set two determines Demanding vs. Undemanding]

  1. I believe that children should abide by a strict set of rules. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1
  2. It’s important that children contribute to the household where they live. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1
  3. Children should not talk back to (or disagree with) their parents. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1
  4. Discipline is crucial to a child’s development. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1
  5. Kids are going to be kids, and they’re going to make a lot of mistakes!
    1. Strongly agree – 1
    2. Agree – 2
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 4 
    5. Strongly disagree – 5 
  6. Children should be free to watch the shows and movies they want to watch when they want to watch them. 
    1. Strongly agree – 1 
    2. Agree -2 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3
    4. Disagree – 4 
    5. Strongly disagree – 5 
  7. Schools do not discipline children as much as they should.  
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1
  8. There’s no reasoning with kids. If they get into a tantrum, you just have to let it pass. 
    1. Strongly agree – 1
    2. Agree – 2
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 4 
    5. Strongly disagree – 5 
  9. A child who is afraid of the dark can cuddle in bed as long as they want. 
    1. Strongly agree – 1
    2. Agree – 2
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 4 
    5. Strongly disagree – 5  
  10. Once you have established a routine, a child must obey it or be punished. 
    1. Strongly agree – 5
    2. Agree – 4 
    3. Neither agree nor disagree – 3 
    4. Disagree – 2 
    5. Strongly disagree – 1

[Results: Undemanding 10-30 Demanding 31-50]

Results 

Authoritative

[Warm + Demanding]

Authoritative parents sit at the intersection of demanding and warm. They have firm boundaries for their children, but approach those boundaries with love and kindness. Parents in this style are supportive of their child. They know children make mistakes, but are happy to guide them through their growth and development. 

This is a great place to be. Parents who can achieve this style are more likely to produce children that excel in school and have high self-esteem. But no parent is perfect, or acts in an authoritative style at all times. Be sure to give yourself grace when you make mistakes, too.

Authoritarian 

[Cold + Demanding]

A parent with an authoritarian style is both cold and demanding. They have high expectations for their children, including the expectation to obey authority with little questioning. There is no “worst” parenting style, but researchers believe that authoritarian parenting can do more harm than other styles. Without the opportunity to build a loving, trusting relationship, a child may grow up with poorer social skills or self-esteem. There is also evidence to suggest that authoritarian styles make a child’s behavior worse. If you are worried about a child’s behavior, you may benefit from approaching them more warmly, and showing your support for their growth and development. 

Permissive 

[Warm + Undemanding]

Permissive parents are warm and undemanding. They support their children almost blindly, allowing them to push boundaries and “get away with” poor behavior more often. Parents using this style are more likely to treat their child like a “friend” than a child who needs discipline. Although a child may appear to be happy because they are getting their way, permissive parenting does have drawbacks. The child may develop an ego, as no one has “checked it” in their development. They may continue on a path of poor or impulsive behavior, not expecting punishments. Healthy boundaries and rules can be a way for a child to develop into a disciplined, yet happy adult. 

Neglectful 

[Cold + Undemanding] 

A neglectful parent is cold and undemanding. They are not particularly supportive of the child, but they do not discipline them, either. Children are often left to fend for themselves. Without an adult to guide them, a child can risk missing out on key moments of development. Neglected children not only run the risk of behaving poorly later in life, but having serious problems with mental health and substance abuse. If you need help raising your child, please reach out to family, friends, or community leaders for resources.

Theodore T.

Theodore is a professional psychology educator with over 10 years of experience creating educational content on the internet. PracticalPsychology started as a helpful collection of psychological articles to help other students, which has expanded to a Youtube channel with over 2,000,000 subscribers and an online website with 500+ posts.