4 Main Types of Parenting in America. Where Do You Fit as a Parent?

We all heard of the demanding Tiger Mom who pushes her children to succeed at all costs using strict methods. In a study conducted by the University of Virginia in  2011, researchers tried to find new types of parenting that have emerged in the United States in recent years. The study encompassed more than 3,000 participants at the ages of +30, all were parents to children at school age. It was funded by the John Tempelton Foundation with a sum of close to $1 million.

Researchers found 4 main types of parenting:


1) The Faithful are 20 percent of U.S. parents. They strictly follow a religious creed (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) and try to educate their children according to it. These parents believe that society and the world are inherently corrupted. They do not allow their children to do things other children do.

Faithful parents emphasize discipline and family values. Their children’s success is important to them, but it is secondary to living life according to God’s purpose.

2) Engaged Progressives – Those who belong to this group comprise 21 percent of all American parents and are mostly political liberals. They are the most modern and ‘cool’ compared to the other groups.

They do not rely on religious values in raising their children, but on life experience and intuitive understanding of good and bad. Generally speaking, they are optimistic about the world outside and about the future of their children.

These parents are more likely to let their children follow their wishes and find their own path in life from an early age. They are more open to different spiritual beliefs, sexuality and modern ideas (For example, by the age of 14, their children know everything about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases). Their moral compass is socially oriented rather than religious, and instead of trying to shape their children’s opinions, they want to give them the tools, so they can make intelligent choices by themselves.

Compared to the other types of parenting, Engaged Progressives are the most responsive to the needs of their children.

3) The Detached – This type includes 19 percent of the parents in America. Detached Parents let their child grow up independently and naturally as much as possible. They think that children should be responsible for their own fate.

Detached parents are pessimistic in nature. In their view, the external reality exerts much more influence on the child’s personality compared to education given at home.

Most of these parents come from the working class. They work long hours and hardly see their children, not to mention direct interaction, such as doing homework together or having joint meals.

4) The Dreamers – Of all the types of parenting mentioned above, we can say that the dreamers are with the strongest feet on the ground while at the same time dare to dream of a better world for their offsprings.

The dreamers consist of 27 percent of all parents. They are convinced that hard work and determination are the recipe for success. These parents will do all in their power (which is sometimes quite limited) to provide their children with material benefits while detaching them from the bad influences around them. They are close to their children and deeply involved in all aspects of their lives.

Dreamers come from a low socioeconomic status and consist of mainly Afro-American and Hispanic families. Their strong conviction that hard work is the precondition for material success embodies the American Dream in its pure and even naive form.