What's my care-giving style?

Caregiving styles fall roughly into three categories. Do you recognize your style?

  • Do you find yourself saying to your kids, "Do it because I said so"?
  • Are you constantly telling your kids what to do to keep them in line, and keep in control?
  • Do you think, "If I don't control the kids, the kids will not be able to control themselves"?
Authoritarian caregivers want to maintain control. But when the control is all in the hands of a caregiver, children don't learn to think for themselves, to trust themselves, or learn how to exercise personal responsibility and self-control.


  • Do you want your kids to view you as nice caregivers-as friends?
  • Do you have difficulty setting and maintaining limits and expectations, providing structure, and enforcing rules?
Permissive caregivers send the basic message, "Do as you want, sweetheart, as long as you're happy" Children of permissive caregivers have difficulty taking "no" for an answer, saying "no" to themselves, and taking anyone else's feelings or needs into consideration. Often, they're rejected by other children.
  • Do you balance kindness with firmness?
  • Do you require mutual respect between you and the children?
  • Do you take the time to listen and understand how the children feel?
  • Do you work together with children to solve problems?
  • Do you balance your own needs with the child's needs?
The children of respectful caregivers learn to think, "What are my needs?", "What are my caregivers' needs?", and "What can we work out so that everybody's needs are met?" Children raised with this type of approach learn how to discipline themselves.

Funding for this program provided by the Department of Health and Human Services