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How to Change Your Parenting Style

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Do you need to change your parenting style? I had to make adjustments to mine. It wasn’t that I was doing terrible things, but my parenting style did not match the needs of one of my children. You see, my daughter is very driven, very hard on herself. My son, on the other hand, is not. I should’ve kept the do your best mantra going with my son, but not with my daughter. To her, do your best sounded like you can never be good enough, so do better. Unfortunately, she began to wilt under the pressure.

What about your children? Older children often need a looser parenting style because they’re already exacting enough on themselves. Younger children can be more carefree so you can push and prompt them a bit more.

I was able to salvage the years I had left with my daughter, and, thankfully, that adjustment has made all the difference. If you need to change your parenting style for the good of your child, do it today. Here are 4 tips for how to change your parenting style.

(Not sure if you have a certain parenting style? iMOM’s Parenting Style section has lots of great ideas to help you develop the best style for your children. And read this to see which of the 4 Parenting Styles best describes you.)


When it was obvious that I needed to change my parenting style, I felt a little lost. I had become so use to parenting from a set of ingrained standards that I had to rethink many decisions throughout the day. So as you adjust your parenting style, be prepared to feel a little off and unsure about what you’re doing. That’s okay. Seek out wisdom from trusted resources and friends as you find the parenting style that’s best for your child. You can also take a look at this Mom’s Guide to Making Good Decisions.

Go for a custom fit.

There’s a lot of good advice about parenting, and some rules are so general that they do apply to most children—no lying, no hitting, you get the idea. But to determine the right discipline and privileges for your child, look at her as an individual and tailor your strategy to her specifically.


When I adjusted my parenting style, my daughter was still pretty young, so she only knows me as the mom I am now. But when she watched old videos recently she said, “Mom, you were a lot more strict back then and serious too.” I didn’t address my parenting missteps with her at that moment, but one day I might. And if she asks about it, of course, I will.

If your child is old enough to understand, it’s wonderful to say something like this: “Sweetheart, I love you so much and have always tried to be a good mom to you. But I realize I could do some things differently to be an even better mom to you. So I am sorry for…”  Get specific if you feel your child can handle it. “I’m sorry for always pushing you so hard to make good grades.” But if your changes are more subtle, just keep the apology general.

Love. Time. Attention.

Every good parenting style contains three key elements: love, time, and attention. So whatever tweaks you make to your style, be sure that it is heavy on these three. Love will evidence itself in your patience and kindness with your child. Time spent with your child and the attention you give to her when you are together will bolster the other parts of your parenting style. And, as much as possible, try to put these 5 ways to be a kind mom into practice in your home.

So do you need to adjust your parenting style? How will you make the change?


Complete this sentence: The best part about our family is ____________.

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