In this Article
- What is Authoritative Parenting?
- What Are the Characteristics of Authoritative Parenting
- What Are the Effects of Authoritative Parenting Control on a Child?
- Authoritative Parenting Skills
- Pros of Authoritative Parenting
- Cons of Authoritative Parenting
- How Can You Be a Better Parent with Authoritative Parenting?
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Are you in the midst of chaos where everything is haphazard and every day has a new problem? If your kids are out of control and you find that firm decisive action is required to keep them in check then authoritative parenting might be the answer.
Authoritative parenting is when you have a high-level of demandingness and responsiveness in your family. You set expectations and make it clear to your kids that they must meet them, based on their individual capabilities. Followed by most modern middle-class families, keep reading to learn why authoritative parenting is the ultimate style of parenting and how it is beneficial for the development of your kids.
What is Authoritative Parenting?
Authoritative parenting uses amicable communication between the parent and child, setting rules and objectives and laying the foundations for achieving them. Parents communicate in confident, friendly, affirmative and peaceful ways and do not set goals based on the child’s desires, but rather, based on past performances and achievements. Keeping the child’s calibre in mind before setting the bar’s height is the cornerstone of authoritative parenting basics.
What Are the Characteristics of Authoritative Parenting
These are the characteristics of true authoritative parenting-
1. Demand and Response
It’s all about raising your standards in life and so should your kids. As an authoritative parent, you set demands and expectations, based on their potential and current limits. You set goals and ensure they are working towards them. Explain what you expect from them and set reasonable timeframes.
For example – if you notice your kid performing well in the classroom, ask him to get straight As if he’s already scoring a few B’s and a bunch of As. Explain how this will expand his academic profile and benefit him in the future, thus making even the toughest problems easier.
2. Give and Take Verbally
This style of parenting leverages communication. You basically set the house rules and explain the reasons behind them to your kids. Your kids get to understand why they need to follow those rules and how it will benefit them. Be absolutely transparent about these rules and make the rationale behind them crystal clear.
For example – Waking up at 4 AM in the mornings will allow them to be more productive individuals and encourage the building of leadership qualities. Tell your kids why waking up early is linked to peak performance and how it benefits their well being.
3. Involvement and Assistance
Authoritative parents understand their child’s needs and do not shy away from participating in their child’s daily activities. Be it helping out with high school lessons or mentoring them on different subjects; parents get involved in their world of academia and sports as well.
For example – if your child isn’t making the cut in the high school baseball team and has his dreams set on being a top-class professional athlete, you make sure his diet is in place and discuss with this school coach his pain points and strengths. You focus on what needs work and plan out a program for achieving those goals and turn the necessary changes into reality.
4. Critique and Praise
Parents who are authoritative in nature do not shy away from giving honest, non-biased feedback, even if it sounds a little harsh. Feedback helps children grow and understand their own weaknesses and strengths. They also don’t forget to praise and appreciate progress when the time arises. By blending appreciation and criticism, you fine-tune their development and build character.
For example – if your child hasn’t been performing well in his exams and despite giving him reminders, he is nonchalant about it. You point out the changes in his attitude and how he needs to work on that, followed up by future consequences if continues to move in that direction. Although a bit harsh, your child may think about it and slowly start changing.
When he shows signs of change and brings results, you appreciate him for his change and progress, this reaffirming his efforts in a positive fashion.
5. Giving Freedom and Supervision
Authoritative parents ensure that they’re kids get the freedom they need but also keep track of their situation. They don’t let their kids give total freedom since complete freedom may let them get derailed from their goals or distract them, however, for minor decisions and some activities, they give a certain degree of dependence.
For example – Your child wants to go out to a party with his friends. You ask him the venue, what time will he be back and whether there are drinks involved (since you won’t let an underage kid drink). If you feel something’s out of the ordinary, you ask his older siblings or someone in the family or your neighbours to keep tabs on him while he’s out.
6. Love and Restrictions
As an authoritative parent, your love will serve as reassurance for your child’s confidence and develop his sense of self-worth and self-esteem. However, you can’t pamper them with too much love at the same time which ends up in giving into wants and demands. You need to set boundaries or limits on the things they want and make sure they play it safe by preventing them from walking through the wrong path.
For example – Your child wants a pair of roller-skates. However, you’re afraid that they may go beyond the neighbourhood and get themselves hurt by skating rashly on the busy streets. Be assertive and firm by letting them know that you will only buy them the pair if they promise to skate within the premises and not skate in public or bustling places.
7. Quality Time
Authoritative is a cooperative and friendly way of parenting and not a dictatorship model. You must spend quality time with your kids at the end of the day and bond with your family, such as during dinner times or maybe by going to the movies on weekends and through similar activities.
For example – You make a rule to keep all your cell phones, and electronic devices switched off at the dinner table to talk about how everyone’s day went. No interruptions, no distractions, just pure and simple quality time with your family.
What Are the Effects of Authoritative Parenting Control on a Child?
The following are the effects of authoritative parenting control on a child-
Open Discussions – You discuss freely different topics with your kids. From bullying to school work, making friends, going out and provide them with an open and encouraging environment for flowing conversations.
Mindful Listening – Your children listen to you mindfully and so do you when they have something to say. Mindful listening will actually encourage better communication as children begin to treat you with respect and trust as you listen to them without judgment.
Love and Assurance – Parents shower their kids with love and affection. They make their kids feel safe, loved, and protected. In this way, children don’t withdraw into a corner and bottle up feelings. By expressing their feelings, they holistically develop into better people.
Fair Discipline – Consistent and fair discipline is the threshold for authoritative parenting. Your child knows the rules of the house and codes of living. By enforcing discipline in a healthy way, you assure that your child isn’t met with angry punishments when they fail to follow the rules. Instead, you take disciplinary action to minimize or lower the bad and accentuate the good by letting them know that you’re back to normal once they carry out their tasks. This promotes peace of mind and acts as a safety net for kids.
Authoritative Parenting Skills
Every authoritative parent has a slew of skills which makes them stand apart from the rest. Children of authoritative parents grow up to be successful adults most often and here are key skills you must be aware of-
1. Open Lines of Communication
Your child must be able to trust you, and you must be their anchor. Stealing a comic book from the bookshelf or eating desserts before dinner may be no big deal at first, but things start escalating as kids grow older. What if he mixes with a bad group or ends up in a car crash?
By hiding too much, they pile up on their secrets. Be open to them and assure them that you won’t judge them. Failed a test? Don’t be angry. Relax, ask him how he felt, where he went wrong or why he couldn’t ace it. Understand your kids’ problems and help them instead of lecturing them.
2. Do Fun Stuff
Bonding with your children is important. Spending time going out camping, hiking, picnicking or even to the movies and amusement parks are things your kids will love you for and have fond memories of when they grow up. By bonding, you become their treasured friend too.
3. Praise for Progress
You mustn’t praise your kids for no reasons but when the reasons are right, you must. Every authoritative parent appreciates progress and praises their kids for a job well done. Praising will also assure them that they are going in the right direction and positive feedback never misleads. Criticism is warranted when they go down the wrong path.
4. Grant Autonomy
Granting autonomy will reflect your trust in your kids, and they’ll know it. You can grant it based on age-appropriate activities and let them learn how to cope with tough problems, solve situations and overcome failures. This will improve their confidence and sense of self-esteem, and they will feel that they can handle anything that comes their way.
5. Give Privacy
Maybe your child doesn’t want you to show his first drafts or maybe has painted a picture he feels embarrassed to share. Maybe they had a bad day and needed some time alone in their room. Whatever the case, respect your child’s privacy. Everybody needs space occasionally, so be sure to provide a healthy dose of it where needed.
6. Respect Their Opinions and Views
Your children are different as individuals and have their own views of life and opinions. Be open to hearing them out and don’t judge them for their perspectives. Authoritative parents don’t enforce their own beliefs on their children and allow their children to have freedom with their thoughts and sets of beliefs. And that’s a good thing! You can help your children use their beliefs to shape up into better, holistic and successful individuals.
Pros of Authoritative Parenting
Here are the pros of authoritative parenting-
- Responsibility – Kids develop a sense of responsibility and are less prone to mixing with bad company, doing substance abuse, etc.
- Academic Performance – Kids do well in school and even outside the classroom.
- Personal Development – Kids experience increased self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Mental Health – Both parents and kids tend to be happy, positive and pleased with positive outcomes.
- Mutual Respect – Kids respect parents as do parents respect their kids’ point of view.
- Open Communication – Open discussions and friendly relationships with parents
- Skill Acquisition – Kids have an increased desire to learn new skills and participate more in school activities.
- Discipline – Kids follow the rules, become responsible citizens and adhere to limits/restrictions in healthy ways while being aware of rewards and consequences.
Cons of Authoritative Parenting
Although authoritative parenting has its benefits, there are some downsides to it too. Here are the cons-
- Adamant Children – If kids are adamant or very wilful, it can be difficult to enforce and exercise authoritativeness in the family environment.
- More Responsibility – Parents have to take time out of their busy schedules to be more involved with their child’s wellbeing and school activities. They also have to think out of the box sometimes and have answers to unexpected questions.
- Review And Refinement – Periodic review of house rules and refinement of parenting processes are needed to nurture kids. Parents will need to modify the rules every year based on age requirements.
- Rule-Restricted – The family may hinge on rules too much and make the system of living a tad too mechanical instead of organic and growth-based.
- Low Self-Esteem – Some children may feel that their world is being controlled and they aren’t the freedom to exercise their own judgments and actions. This may lead to rebellious behaviours in the household and in school too.
How Can You Be a Better Parent with Authoritative Parenting?
Authoritative Parenting isn’t a means to an end. It’s flexible, effective and reviewable. Every family is different, and this is how you can be a better parent with authoritative parenting-
- Set a Framework – A structure or a framework gives your kids direction. Morning rituals to time management habits and study skills, these are things which must be taught early on. Enforce rules which revolve around the must-needs for success in school and life.
- Rewards and Consequences– According to Charles Duhigg, author of the ‘Power of Habit,’ rewards act as a feedback mechanism for good/bad habits and enable individuals to ingrain in themselves the changes they want to make. With no reward, comes no motivation and with no motivation halts progress.
- Be Responsive – Instead of judging your kids, be responsive. Responding instead of reacting will teach your kids that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. Mistakes are part of the learning curve and the more that are made, the more they learn, and that’s how they progress.
- Create Boundaries – Boundaries discourage bad behaviours, such as not mixing with bad groups or indulging in illicit activities. Explain how they impact their health, life, and well-being and your kids will definitely understand gradually.
- Be Appreciative – Finally, being appreciative and happy for your child is crucial to their future success. Make sure you let them know whenever they make progress or do something outstanding. It will encourage them to keep pushing and progressing, in the right direction of course.
These are some of the most frequently asked questions most parents have about authoritative parenting. Here’s what you need to know.
1. How does authoritative parenting style work?
Authoritative parenting is not authoritarian in nature. You command respect, but you don’t demand it. It comes naturally, and there’s a healthy balance between beliefs, rules, and freedom. Put simply; it’s open, friendly and disciplined too.
2. Why is authoritative parenting different from other styles?
What makes authoritative parenting different from other styles is that it’s not neglectful in nature or negative in structure. Every associated consequence and action is positive, and this style aims to help your child grow.
3. Why is it the best parenting style?
What makes this the best parenting style is its openness and friendly nature. You become your child’s pillar, anchor and also disciplinary. All at the same time. You give your kids love, warmth and enable them to express their emotions freely and this empowers them down the lane in a healthy way. The blend of all these qualities makes it the best parenting style.
4. What are the common things authoritative parents do?
Authoritative parents reward their kids, host birthday parties, play games with their kids and understand their kids as a whole person. They are involved with schoolwork, sports and anything else their child is in. Not too obsessive but involved in a healthy way.
5. Should my parenting style be strict?
You may resort to authoritarian parenting which is stricter in nature, but authoritarian parenting hinges on harsh criticism and lack of positive feedback. Kids may feel deprived of love and affection, thus plummeting their performance in every sphere in life. Strike for a balance. Neither too strict nor too soft. Moderation is key.
Authoritative parenting style effects have been tested and used for generations which makes it one of the best parenting styles in the world. As your children grow and transform into capable and responsible individuals, they will appreciate you for having given them a good childhood. Variety is the spice of life when coupled with moderation, and we believe, authoritative parenting takes the cake where that is concerned.
Also Read: Bad Parenting & its Effects on Children