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What’s the best parenting style? ABC’s ’The Parent Test’ explores the answer


What’s the best parenting style? That’s the main question at the center of the new ABC show The Parent Test.

In the show, host Ali Wentworth and expert Dr. Adolph Brown explore different ways to raise kids.

“There’s helicopter parents, there’s free range, there’s high achievement. And basically these groups of parents are voting on themselves so that we can, at the end of the season, finally show you the most effective parenting style,” Wentworth tells ABC Audio. 

According to Brown, a clinical psychologist and parenting expert, the most effective style is any style that “has fun, which is an authentic part of learning…firmness, which is consistency, structure, limits and boundaries…fairness, understanding that…rearing a child today is different from rearing a child in the seventies, eighties and the nineties…The last part is making sure that every single child you believe in them.”

But it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“To say a best style, you would have to say that every child is the same,” says Brown. “It’s important to have the aspects of what makes a great parenting style more so than oftentimes what you use as the umbrella definition or name for the style.”

Wentworth, who’s married to Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos, says the show inspired them to have some “very frank conversations” about parenting.  

“I parent through humor and I think it’s something that in the future will become a parenting style. But that’s about avoiding confrontation and having them listen in a different way,” she says. “But I realized, George and I have a lot of traditional parenting in our parenting style that I never realized until we sort of went in depth with that family.”

The Parent Test airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

(A previous version of this story published on 1/19/23 included a misspelled word in the headline. The text above has been updated to correct the error.)

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