What's Your Parenting Style? How Does it Affect Your Nanny?

What's Your Parenting Style? How Does it Affect Your Nanny?

by Martha Scully

Which Answer Describes Your Style of Parenting?

  • You demand obedience and you enforce rules.
  • Do you want your children to have a balanced household? Do you want to have more communication with your children?
  • Do you want your children to regulate themselves and avoid enforcing rules?
  • Do you see yourself allowing your children to do whatever they want?

Which one did you select? Did you have one answer or perhaps you see yourself as a mixture of several? Regardless, you’ve taken the time to actually think about your style or approach to parenting.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the four main parenting styles, and why this is important for future parents, blended families, caregivers, and stepparents and most importantly, how they affect your children. We’ll also get insights from Careguide’s childcare expert and CanadianNanny founder, Martha Scully, and get her perspectives on how parenting styles can affect a nanny’s relationship with the family she is working with.

What’s Your Parenting Style?

Dr. Ari Brown weighed in on the types of parenting styles and how each affects children, in the video above she mentioned, “Your parenting style is the foundation for how you approach certain decisions like, where your child sleeps and how you tackle discipline issues. The styles differ in parents responsiveness and expectations of their kids.

Styles of Parenting

Authoritative or Positive

Parenting is like having a democracy, positive parents set up the rules and expect their children to follow them. These rules and limits guide children in behaving properly, in behaving both in and outside the home… In addition to setting expectations, positive parents are willing to listen to their children’s feelings and concerns and problem solve together.

Martha’s Insight: “Providing a calm, positive environment can be more work for a nanny and parent, but in the long run is beneficial for everyone. Nannies often enjoy these children having advanced, confident, problem-solving skills. Realistically, it can be difficult for a nanny to be positive all the time. Sometime no is just no. Nannies should work closely with the parent on things that cannot be negotiated with children. A very popular tool for parents and caregivers to use, to learn positive parenting is the Triple P Parenting Program.”


Parenting is more like a dictatorship. Authoritarian parents also have high expectations for their child’s behavior, but they do not want to hear the child’s opinion on the rules. Mom and dad know best and they are in charge of the house. There is no negotiation in this parent-child relationship.

Martha’s Insight: “The children will often help the nanny without being asked and show less behavioural issues than the average child. However, the nanny may become concerned that a child is unable to show creativity and happiness. At times these children can have difficulty in social settings which may become concerning to the nanny. Nannies should try and provide these children with times of unstructured play and activities.”


Parents are highly responsive to children, both day and night. The priority is to create a secure parent, child bond or attachment which helps the child gain trust and confidence. Attachment parents set limits but try to do so in a nurturing way. They believe in non-physical discipline.”

Martha’s Insight: “Everyone agrees that a parent being bonded to a child is essential in developmental. But sometimes for the nanny, especially at the beginning of care, a caregiver can struggle with forming her own relationship with the child. Building trust and providing the child with safety and nurturing is always effective for the nanny to form an effective caregiver bond.”

Uninvolved or Permissive Parenting

In addition, one style that wasn’t mentioned by the doctor and really isn’t a style at all is the Uninvolved parent. An uninvolved parent will give the children total freedom and it often manifests or appears to be neglect.

Martha’s Insight: “This type of parenting can cause issues for the caregiver. Nannies can struggle with children’s listening and taking direction. Further frustration can occur for the nanny when a permissive parent will not work together with her. The nanny should slowly provide direction to these children. Providing a proper, positive reward system can be successful and provide the child with the much-needed direction with authority and self-regulation.”

Which Parenting Style is Best? Why?

Research proves that Positive/Authoritative parenting produces the best results. Parents create and enforce boundaries while adjusting to the emotional needs of their children. The result? Self-reliant children with good self-esteem, who are less likely to get involved with substance abuse or engage in delinquent activities. Rev. Derek Lappe noted the benefits of authoritative parenting and how parents can set a positive example, he said: “In my experience as a priest and working with families, one of the things I notice is, the more self control and self discipline the parents have, the less they actually have to discipline their children…”

Authoritarian parenting rules without considering a child’s emotions often work against parents, resulting in bad behavior. Inadvertently, the children often fear their parents and this teaches them to bully. This will then trigger anger issues and bouts with depression. Dr. Brown elaborated on the results of authoritarian parenting, saying: “Studies have shown, that children who grow up in authoritarian households are more likely to have poor self-esteem, and poor relationships with others, they tend to be shy and struggle with making decisions. Most child development experts do not recommend this approach, as it makes a child feel powerless and fearful of his parents. And some children who are raised this way tend to rebel later in life.”

Do you want independent children? How about a child who is smarter than their peers? If so, consider attachment parenting. The mental images of caregivers during babyhood actually provide children with a secure base as they grow up and they are less likely to have anxiety as they move away from their families. These children are also smarter because the baby has been provided with sufficient nurturing while the brain is developing.

Parents who are uninvolved or neglectful may think that they’re teaching their children to be independent but what often happens is that the children develop emotional detachment. This often leads to a lack of love, the children have no expectations and involvement with drugs. This starts at an early age, studies have indicated that a lack of input from parents or nurturing will dramatically affect the child. Doctors note that neglect from parents hinders child brain development.

The Bottom Line

It is important for parents and childcare providers to analyze parenting styles early. Parents may have inherited certain behaviors and practices which may not coincide with their mate’s idea of parenting. Nannies can be mindful of parenting styles when interviewing and perhaps even avoid certain jobs if they can’t be effective in certain environments.

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About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of CanadianNanny.ca. Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.