Let’s Talk Parenting Styles with Dr. Krista Kunz of Magnolia Pediatric Dentistry in Mt. Pleasant, SC

The holidays being just around the corner also means we’ll soon be visiting or visited by judgmental family members! Kidding? Not kidding? While we know all Charleston parents, especially the ones whose children are patients at Magnolia Pediatric Dentistry in Mt. Pleasant, are doing stellar jobs, we thought it would be interesting to look at different parenting styles and summarize some of the more well known categories. We’ve also included how we think they might handle resistance at tooth brushing time, just for fun. While reading, please remember that there is no right way and no ONE way to raise a child, despite how many times your Great Uncle tells you that back in his day, “kids knew the meaning of respect and walked ten miles to school both ways in the snow year round.”



Authoritarian parents often say, “Because I said so,” when a child questions them. Parents are not interested in explaining or negotiating and do not want input from their children. They make the rules and enforce the consequences. Children follow rules and endure the consequences.

Tooth brushing style: “Exactly two minutes, exactly twice a day. OR ELSE!”



Authoritative parents use positive discipline to reinforce good behavior, and try to prevent negative behaviors before they start. Authoritative parents aim to strike a balance between being firm but also warm and supportive. Instead of forcing children to follow rules just because, authoritative parents will discuss rules and expectations as a family.

Tooth brushing style: “Everybody in the bathroom to brush together! Let’s learn from each other’s’ technique.”



Attachment parenting stems from attachment theory, or the belief that children need to stay physically close to their primary caregiver for the first few years of life. Some followers of attachment parenting may be against sleep training methods like letting a baby or toddler cry it out. There is a lot of communication and interaction with children.

Tooth brushing style: “Now let’s go through our plan for brushing one more time before we do the brushing dress rehearsal together and go over any questions you might have!”



Permissive parents are lenient and often only step in when there’s a serious problem. They adopt an attitude of “kids will be kids.” When they do use consequences, they may not make those consequences stick. Permissive parents usually take on more of a friend role than a parent role. They often encourage their children to talk with them about their problems, but they aren’t always strict about correcting bad behavior.

Tooth brushing style: “You’re tired? That’s okay, let’s skip it this week.”


Free Range

Free-range parents value teaching kids to become more independent. In short, it’s allowing your kid to do what you feel they’re capable of. Free-range parenting might seem like it only works for older kids, but the concept can be applied to children of any age. Findings suggest that letting children be more independent can foster a sense of resilience, where they’re better able to handle challenges and setbacks.

Tooth brushing style: “If you come across a toothbrush in the woods, I’m sure they’ll figure out how to use it!”

PARENTS! Remember, as long you’re trying, you’re doing a great job! Keep up the good work.



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