- Authoritarian and Authoritative Parenting Styles: Which Is Best? — GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog
- Authoritarian Parenting Style
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- Authoritative Parenting Style
- Baumrind’s Parenting Styles
- Authoritative Parenting
- Authoritarian Parenting
- Permissive Parenting
- Uninvolved Parenting
- Parenting Styles and Outcomes for Children
- Support for Baumrind’s Authoritative Parenting
Authoritarian and Authoritative Parenting Styles: Which Is Best? — GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog
People have their own unique style when it comes to parenting. It is not just about a set of rules; the style of parenting caregivers take on is a reflection of who they are, their culture, and their value systems.
It’s important that parents be able to adapt their parenting style to integrate the best practices of other styles. This article will focus on two styles in particular: authoritarian and authoritative.
Authoritarian Parenting Style
Using an authoritarian parenting style hinders children’s capacity to verbalize what they want and need within the family system and hinders communication between parents and children about the reason for certain rules and expectations.
When parents implement an authoritarian parenting style, the family is operating under what I would call a “closed system,” meaning that there is no room for discussion, options, alternatives, or negotiation between parents and their children.
Parents who use an authoritarian parenting style send the message that children must cooperate with their parents “because I said so” by implementing techniques such as shaming, withdrawal of love, or arbitrary punishments.
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An authoritarian parenting style may get children to be compliant on a short-term basis. However, children will not feel that there is a “democracy” in the household. As a result, they may be compliant due to fear of being punished. In addition, children will perceive that their feelings don’t count, which encourages them to feel powerless.
An authoritarian parenting style creates an oppressive environment for children to live in (particularly for children who are adopted and/or in foster care). An oppressive environment prevents children from thriving. In order for children to thrive, parents need to create an environment that is warmth, which allows children to learn to self-regulate.
Children also need to learn self-discipline, and they learn this from internalizing limits from a loving perspective as opposed to having limitations placed on them without empathy.
An authoritarian parenting style can create insecure attachment patterns in children, which prevents the emotional bond necessary that creates trust between parents and children that their physical and emotional needs will be met. As a result, children are more vulnerable to low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, which are among the most common mental health issues among adolescents.
Parents who choose an authoritarian parenting style most ly were not securely attached as children themselves, which increases the chances of passing on insecure attachment patterns to children.
Authoritative Parenting Style
Of the four primary and widely acknowledged parenting styles, research shows that an authoritative parenting style achieves the most positive results with children. (Permissive and uninvolved are the other two styles.)
An authoritative parenting style responds to the emotional needs of children while setting limits and boundaries. Research on parenting styles shows that when parents are authoritative and engaged, children thrive in their environment and develop secure attachments with parents, an emotional bond that allows children to trust that their physical and emotional needs will be met.
Children feel a sense of empowerment when there is balance between choice and responsibility. Authoritative parents expect their children to meet high standards while also being willing to reason and be flexible with children when they make mistakes.
Authoritative parents allow children to have a voice in what happens in their lives, and children perceive that their parents are open and sensitive to their needs.
As a result, children have the opportunity to learn how to negotiate, become self-reliant, achieve academic success, develop self-discipline, be socially accepted, and have increased self-esteem.
If children are not provided with these opportunities, they build resentment and act out their feelings, which may cause behavior problems and increases the odds of delinquency and drug use during adolescence.
To implement an authoritative parenting style, parents should:
- Show their children that they care.
- Praise positive behavior and accomplishments.
- Set clear and fair expectations.
- Listen to their children.
- Be consistent.
- Discipline using choices and consequences.
- Take their children’s opinions into consideration.
- Be demonstrative in showing affection and saying, “I love you.”
- Provide opportunities for children to make choices.
For most adults, parenting is one of the most challenging tasks they will take on in life. It can also be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. All parents want their children to grow into happy and well-functioning adults. In order to achieve the best possible outcome, parents should integrate acceptance, firmness, and encouragement of autonomy into their parenting practices.
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Baumrind’s Parenting Styles
Joel A Muraco; Wendy Ruiz; Rebecca Laff; Ross Thompson; and Diana Lang
The parenting style used to rear a child will ly impact that child’s future success in romantic, peer and parenting relationships. Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist, coined the following parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive/indulgent, Later, Maccoby and Martin added the uninvolved/neglectful style.
Figure 1. effective teaching, effective parenting requires a mix of authoritative and considerate responses to a child’s needs. This balance can lead to more appreciative child behavior.
It is beneficial to evaluate the support and demandingness of a caregiver in order to determine which style is being used and how to effectively use it. Support refers to the amount of affection, acceptance, and warmth a parent provides to a child. Demandingness refers to the degree a parent controls a child’s behavior.
In general, children tend to develop greater competence and self-confidence when parents have high-but reasonable and consistent- expectations for children’s behavior, communicate well with them, are warm and responsive, and use reasoning rather than coercion to guide children’s behaviors.
This kind of parenting style has been described as authoritative. Parents who use this style are supportive and show interest in their kids’ activities but are not overbearing and allow children to make constructive mistakes. This “tender teacher” approach deemed the most optimal parenting style to use in western cultures.
Children whose parents use the authoritative style are generally happy, capable, and successful.
Figure 2. Authoritarian parenting called “rigid ruler” in part because wooden rulers were often used for capital punishment in the 20th century.
Parents using the authoritarian (“rigid ruler”) approach are low in support and high in demandingness. These parents expect and demand obedience because they are “in charge” and they do not provide any explanations for their orders.
Parents also provide well-ordered and structured environments with clearly stated rules.
Many would conclude that this is the parenting style used by Harry Potter’s harsh aunt and uncle, and Cinderella’s vindictive stepmother. Children reared in environments using the authoritarian approach are more ly to be obedient and proficient, but score lower in happiness, social competence, and self-esteem.
Parents who are high in support and low in demandingness are ly using the permissive-also called the indulgent-style. Their children tend to rank low in happiness and self-regulation, and are more ly to have problems with authority. Parents using this approach are lenient, do not expect their children to adhere to boundaries or rules, and avoid confrontation.
Children reared by parents who are low in both support and demandingness tend to rank lowest across all life domains, lack self-control, have low self-esteem, and are less competent than their peers.
Parents using the uninvolved (or sometimes referred to as indifferent or neglectful) approach are neglectful or rejecting of their children and do not provide most, if any, necessary parenting responsibilities.
Watch this video about Baumrind’s parenting styles.
Parenting Styles and Outcomes for Children
Parenting style has been found to predict child well-being in the domains of social competence, academic performance, psychosocial development, and problem behavior. Research in the United States, parent interviews, child reports, and parent observations consistently finds:
- Children and adolescents whose parents use the authoritative style typically rate themselves and are rated by objective measures as more socially and instrumentally competent than those whose parents do not use the authoritative style.
- Children and adolescents whose parents are uninvolved typically perform most poorly in all domains.
In general, parental responsiveness tends to predict social competence and psychosocial functioning, while parental demandingness is typically associated with instrumental competence and behavioral control (e.g., academic performance and deviance). These findings indicate:
- Children and adolescents reared in households using the authoritarian style (high in demandingness, but low in responsiveness) tend to perform moderately well in school and be uninvolved in problem behavior, but tend to have poorer social skills, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of depression when compared to their peers who are reared in households using the authoritative approach.
- Children and adolescents reared in homes using the indulgent style (high in responsiveness, low in demandingness) tend to be more involved in problem behavior and perform less well in school, but they have been shown to have higher self-esteem, better social skills, and lower levels of depression when compared to their peers who are not reared using the indulgent style.
|Support (Low)||Support (High)|
In reviewing the literature on parenting styles, it is apparent that using the authoritative parenting style is associated with both instrumental and social competence and lower levels of problem behavior at all developmental stages for youth in the United States. The benefits of using the authoritative parenting style and the detrimental effects of the uninvolved parenting style are evident as early as the preschool years and continue throughout adolescence and into early adulthood.
Support for Baumrind’s Authoritative Parenting
Support for the benefits of authoritative parenting has been found in countries as diverse as the Czech Republic, India, China, Israel, and Palestine. In fact, authoritative parenting appears to be superior in Western, individualistic societies—so much so that some people have argued that there is no longer a need to study it.
Other researchers are less certain about authoritative parenting and point to differences in cultural values and beliefs.
For example, while many children reared in European-American cultures fare poorly with too much strictness (authoritarian parenting), children reared in Chinese cultures often perform well, especially academically.
The reason for this ly stems from Chinese culture viewing strictness in parenting as related to training, which is not central to American parenting beliefs.
As children mature, parent-child relationships should naturally adapt to accommodate developmental changes. Parent-child relationships that do not adapt to a child’s abilities can lead to high parent-child conflict and ultimately a reduced parent-child relationship quality.
- The authoritative (the “tender teacher”) approach is the most optimal style for use in the U.S.
- The ways in which parents rear children can have lifelong impacts on children’s development.