Movies About Parenting Styles [TOP 5]

Parenting isn’t easy, and each parent has their own unique way of raising their kid(s). Each parenting style has its own pros and cons and differs in how it impacts the child long-term. Many movies show a parenting style executed in its own way. Since these movies are generally Hollywood movies, the situations may be exaggerated. Still, the themes are real, and there are useful lessons to be learned.

The following movies each represent different types of parenting styles:

1. The Lion King (1994): Authoritative

2. Brave (2012): Authoritarian

3. Mean Girls (2004): Permissive

4. Matilda (1996): Uninvolved

5. The Blind Side (2009): Over-involved.

Each parenting style results in a different outcome.

There are different outcomes associated with parenting styles that parents choose to rear their children in. Here is all you need to know.

Family watching Movie About Parenting Styles

Here Are the Top 5 Movies to Show Each Parenting Style

Parenting styles are considered to vary between warmth and control. Each parenting style has a certain level of warmth and affection and a certain level of control regarding how much structure the parent imposes on the child. To better understand parenting styles, we will be looking at movie examples that embody each of these themes.

1. The Lion King Portrays Authoritative Parenting

The movie The Lion King is an excellent example of authoritative parenting. The relationship between Simba and his dad displays high levels of warmth and high levels of control and involvement in the child’s life by the parent.

The parent is very loving, warm, affectionate, and high in structure. Therefore, parents that prefer this type of parenting set consistent limits and ensure that their demands are reasonable and not out of the ordinary. The child’s point of view is taken into account and not ignored.

This parenting style can be likened to a democracy where the relationship is more of a give and take, and both parties are happy. The parent is still the parent, and they decide what the limits will be.

This is the high control aspect of this parenting style. But, the parent still considers how the child feels instead of railroading them. The parent also ensures that they shower their kids with affection and love, creating a great balance of strict but loving.

A great example of high control would be the parent setting an area boundary for Simba as some areas are dangerous for him to play in. However, suppose Simba wanted to venture further. In this case, the parent will not shoot down the child and pull the ‘I’m the parent, and you’re the child, so do what I say’ card.

The child and the parent communicate, and each expresses their point of view. They’ll consider the child’s request and ask why this is important to them. In most cases, a compromise is made.

Children raised under this parenting style tend to have better self-esteem, excellent social skills, and overall better grades. They tend to have the best outcome in life as they are self-assured.

2. Authoritarian Parenting Can Be Seen in The Movie Brave

This parenting style can often be confused with authoritative parenting as they sound very similar. However, they are vastly different, particularly when it comes to the warmth provided by the parent. With the Authoritarian parenting style, the parent still imposes high structural control, but there is a lack of affection, love, etc.

This type of parenting is all about the parent’s need for the child to conform to their demands. The parent also demands obedience. This is why this type of parenting style is high in structural control.

The parent happily pulls the ‘I’m the adult, so what I say goes’ card. This can be seen in the movie Brave where the mother demands her daughter acts, behaves, speaks, eats, etc., in the way she wants and not in the way that makes her daughter happy.

The parent is strict and keeps a tight rein on the child, all while expressing little warmth. The child is barely given any chance to say anything. This type of parenting style is often called helicopter parenting, depending on the warmth provided.

In this case, the child will grow up lacking self-confidence, unhappy, and withdrawn as they were barely allowed to express themselves. They also have anxiety and poor social skills as they were never allowed to communicate their own point of view.

Related Reading: Authoritative Vs. Authoritarian Parenting

3. Permissive Parenting Is Shown in The Movie Mean Girls

The name of this kind of parenting style speaks for itself. This type of parenting style is characterized by low control and high warmth. This makes it the polar opposite of authoritarian parenting.

In this parenting style, the children have free reign. They basically run the show and are in control because just about anything goes. Few demands are made by the parent, and there is rarely any punishment administered regardless of how bad the child behaves. This is clear in Mean Girls, where Regina’s mother makes it known that there are no rules in her house and that she’s “not a regular mom, she’s a cool mom”.

Permissive parenting is where the parent plays the role of a best friend instead of a parent. Usually, parents who use this kind of parenting style want to appear cool, letting the child get away with anything. Wanna throw a house party with lots of booze until the early hours of the morning? The parent is totally fine with it and will even supply the alcohol.

Children raised in this kind of parenting style feel entitled and spoiled. Everything must go their way, and they must always be in control. They do not know what “no” means. The child will lack self-discipline, have poor academic performance, and engage in risky behavior later in life.

Related Reading: Examining the Different Parenting Styles

4. Uninvolved Parenting Is Evident in The Movie Matilda

The uninvolved parenting style is the most dreaded one of the bunch. As the name of this parenting style suggests, the parent is completely uninvolved and even potentially neglectful. This type of parenting is characterized by low control and low warmth.

The parent is indifferent to the child’s needs, particularly the child’s emotional needs, as the parent displays low levels of warmth. The parent is often neglectful and barely responds to the child’s needs.

Due to the low control, the parent will hardly have any demands and leave the child feeling somewhat adrift. This can easily be seen in the movie Matilda where the parents were wrapped up in their own lives and barely paid any attention to Matilda. She had to take care of herself from an extremely young age.

This type of parenting style means that only the child’s basic needs are fulfilled, such as having a roof over their head, or the child is fed. However, either than those basic needs being met, the child is virtually on their own. This type of parenting style is sometimes called rejecting/neglecting parenting.

This type of parenting is often seen in parents struggling with some form of substance abuse. It can also be seen with parents who value their careers more and put them first. This parenting style leads to emotionally withdrawn children, children with anxiety, performing poorly academically, and are likely to dapple into substance abuse later in life. Obviously, Matilda ended in a much rosier light (it is a movie after all).

5. Over-Involved Parenting Is Seen in The Blind Side Movie

Although research mainly focuses on four parenting styles, there is a fifth one. These parents are involved in every aspect of their child’s life. These parents are heavily engaged and are often referred to as snow plows as they remove any obstacles that stand in their children’s way.

This type of parenting style also has high warmth and high control. This is evident in the movie The Blind Side as the mother is heavily involved in her children’s lives, ranging from how well they are doing academically to their hobbies, sports they participate in, etc.

This parenting style leads to the kids feeling thoroughly loved, supported, and like someone will always have their back. It can have the negative effect of removing the ability for children to deal with obstacles or be resilient when issues come up, however.

Continue Reading: Attachment Parenting Vs. Gentle Parenting [WHICH IS BETTER?]


As seen above, parenting styles range from undemanding and loving to controlling, unresponsive, and cold. Each of the movies shows how these parenting styles work and how they impact the children involved.

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