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Toddlers & Preschoolers


Your Parenting Style


Disciplining your child | Your child's temperament

Your parenting style

What is a parenting style?

A parenting style is the way that you parent your child. It is:

  • How you talk to and play with your child.
  • How you offer love to your child.
  • How you discipline your child.

Everyone has their own beliefs about how a child should be raised.

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Practical parenting tips

Daily conversation

  • Talk to your child with an open mind.
  • Learn what's important to your child.
  • Don't be judgmental.


  • Talk to your children all the time - when there are no problems or behavioural issues, instead of just talking to them when they're in trouble.

Set clear and well-thought expectations for your child's behaviour.

  • Make sure your children understand why the rules are in place.

Set consequences

  • Pick the right consequence for the action or mistake.
  • Explain the lesson behind the situation or mistake.
  • The child should not get the most severe consequence with all their actions because it isn't fair and won't be effective.

Focus on empathy

  • Teach your child how her behaviour affects other people.

Encourage your child to share thoughts and feelings

  • Encourage your child to state how he is feeling about rules and expectations, and let him disagree.
  • Let him tell you why he disagrees, so he learns that his opinion and emotions are valuable.

Be flexible and reasonable

  • Be flexible when the situation calls for it.
  • Give your child choices, for example choosing between two healthy foods, or two colours of clothing.

Recognize that each child is different

  • Treat your child with respect for her individual temperament & character (personality).

Practice talking, listening and problem-solving

  • Let your child speak freely (but with respect).
  • Don't interrupt when your child is sharing her opinion or solving a problem.
  • Listen to and consider what she's saying.

Teach by example

  • Be a good role model – follow rules, deal with your emotions, show empathy to others.

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Parenting Styles

There are three different parenting styles – democratic, authoritarian and permissive. The style that works best for parents and kids is the democratic parenting style.


What is It?

  • Parents clearly define rules but children have the freedom of choice.
  • Parents treat their kids with respect and dignity.
  • Clear daily routines for children.
  • Open communication.
  • Positive discipline instead of physical punishment.
  • Warm, friendly relationship with kids based on mutual respect.
  • Parents try to understand their child's thoughts and feelings.
  • Parents teach their kids to be responsible (i.e. by helping with household chores).

What happens when I use this style?

  • Children learn to be independent.
  • They learn to ask questions, be tolerant of others, and how to problem solve.
  • They develop a healthy and strong self-esteem.
  • Very little parent-child conflict.


What is it?

  • The parent makes all the decisions and needs to have all the control.
  • Children don't have any rights.
  • Strict rules - children must follow all rules without knowing why they're in place.
  • Parents lead all communication - children are supposed to be seen and not heard.
  • Parents focus on a child's mistakes and withhold love or affection as a punishment.

What happens when I use this style?

  • It may be hard for parents and children to have a close relationship.
  • Children will follow rules out of fear.
  • They may become anxious which can lead to higher levels of depression.
  • They may have a more difficult time solving problems or making decisions on their own
  • They may misbehave and find it difficult to control impulses, especially when the parents are not around; this can lead to them rebelling (such as acting out in school, or fighting with other children).


What is it?

  • Parents allow their children to do what they want, no matter what.
  • Children have all the rights and parents are not respected.
  • Children lead all communication.
  • The rules are either unclear or don't exist, which means children don't have to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Children have no set routines.

What happens when I use this style?

  • Parents want to make their child happy all the time, which means giving in, and not asking them to follow the rules.
  • Parents may see themselves more in the role of the child’s friend, and this cause confusion regarding authority or leadership.
  • Children can get confused with a lack of routines.

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For more information:

Region of Peel - Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
to speak with a Public Health Nurse

Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216

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Revised: Friday June 21 2019

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