Authoritative Parenting: Style, Characteristics, Pros & Cons

Authoritative Parenting

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 bars 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

As an authoritative parent, you set demands and expectations, based on your child’s potential and current limits, and ensure he is working towards them. This can be done by explaining what you expect from the child and set reasonable timeframes after a detailed discussion. A mutual agreement is required to ensure the child doesn’t divert from the goals.

For example – if you notice your kid performing well in the class, 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 kid. Your child gets to understand why he needs to follow those rules and how it will benefit him. Be absolutely transparent about these rules and make the rationale behind them crystal clear.

For example – Waking up at 5 AM in the morning will allow your little one to be more productive and encourage the building of leadership qualities. Tell your child why waking up early is linked to peak performance and how it benefits his 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 the 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 your child’s 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 he 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, thus reaffirming his efforts in a positive fashion.

5. Giving Freedom and Supervision

Authoritative parents ensure that their kids get the freedom they need but also keep track of the situation. They don’t give their kids total freedom since it may derail them from their goals; however, for minor decisions and some activities, they give a certain degree of space and allow the child to work it his way.

For example – Your child wants to go to a party with his friends. You ask him the venue, what time he will 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, someone in the family, or your neighbours to keep a tab 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 him with too much love and end up giving in to his wants and demands. You need to set boundaries or limits on the things your child demands and make sure he plays it safe by preventing him from taking 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 in 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 in bustling  public places.

7. Quality Time

Authoritative parenting 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. This time also could have some restriction to ensure everyone is together.

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.

Parents spending quality time with kids

Most parents wonder if a firm approach is a good way to discipline their kids. If you are one of them, read on the effects of authoritative parenting before you decide for yourself.

What Are the Effects of Authoritative Parenting Control on a Child?

The following are the effects of authoritative parenting on a child-

1. Open Discussions

You discuss different topics freely with your kid, whether it is bullying, school work, making friends or going out, and provide him with an open and encouraging environment for flowing conversations.

2. Mindful Listening

Your child listens to you mindfully, and so do you when he has something to say. Mindful listening will actually encourage better communication as children begin to treat their parents with respect and trust as they listen to them without judgment.

3. Love and Assurance

By practising authoritative parenting, parents make their kids feel safe, loved, and protected. When children can freely discuss anything with their parents, they don’t withdraw into a corner and bottle up feelings. By expressing their feelings, they holistically develop into better people.

4. 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.

Some parents might think authoritative parenting is easier said than done. Well, it’s true. Authoritative parenting does require some skill, which we shall talk about below, but it not as difficult as you think.

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. Here are the key skills you must be aware of –

1. Open Lines of Communication

Your child must be able to trust you, and you must be his anchor. Stealing a comic book from the bookshelf or eating dessert 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, kids pile up on their secrets. Be open to your child and assure him that you won’t judge him. Failed a test? Don’t be angry; relax and ask him how he felt, where he went wrong or why he couldn’t ace it. Understand your kid’s problems and help him instead of lecturing him.

2. Do Fun Stuff

Bonding with your child is important. Spending time, going out camping, hiking, picnicking, or even to the movies and amusement parks are things your kid will love you for and have fond memories of when he grows up. By bonding, you become his treasured friend too.

3. Praise for Progress

You mustn’t praise your kid for no reason; but when the reasons are right, you must. Every authoritative parent appreciates progress and praises their child 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 kid, and he’ll know it. You can grant it based on age-appropriate activities and let him 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 child has an individual personality and will have his own views of life and opinions. Be open to hearing them out and don’t judge him for his perspectives. Authoritative parents don’t enforce their own beliefs on their children and allow their children to have freedom with their thoughts and set of beliefs. And that’s a good thing! You can help your child use his beliefs to shape up into better, holistic and successful individuals.

With these key skills, you can implement authoritative parenting to ensure the best for your little one. But, as is the case with every style of parenting, authoritative parenting, too, has pros and cons. Let’s take a look at them.

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; their academic performance has an upward graph if they struggled scoring well previously.
  • 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.

Father helping child with homework

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 well-being 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 don’t have the freedom to exercise their own judgments and actions. This may lead to rebellious behaviours in the household and in school too.

So, how can parents make authoritative parenting work for them? It may still seem like a harsh, but authoritative parenting is flexible and thus can be effective. Here’s how you can maintain the balance between using this parenting technique and being a better parent.

How Can You Be a Better Parent with Authoritative Parenting?

Authoritative parenting isn’t a means to an end. It is flexible, effective and reviewable. Every family is different, and this is how you can be a better parent with authoritative parenting –

1. Set a Framework

A structure or 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.

 2. Rewards and Consequences

According to Charles Duhigg, author of the ‘Power of Habit,’ rewards act as a feedback mechanism for good and bad habits, and enable individuals to ingrain in themselves the changes they want to take. With no reward, comes no motivation, and with no motivation halts progress.

3. 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 they are made, the more they will learn, and that’s how they progress.

4. Create Boundaries

Boundaries discourage bad behaviour, such as not mixing with bad groups or indulging in illicit activities. Explain how they impact the health, life, and well-being, and your kid will definitely understand the boundaries you set for him.

5. 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 parents have about authoritative parenting. We have tried to answer most questions you would have too; however, for queries that haven’t been included here, you may check with a child counsellor or a parenting expert to help you adopt and adapt to authoritative parenting.

1. How does the 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 a disciplinarian. 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. They are 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 of life. Strike for a balance, be 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 ReadBad Parenting & its Effects on Children

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