There are different parenting styles, such as; authoritarian, authoritative, gentle and permissive parenting. The authoritative approach is a parenting style that consists of responsiveness, setting limits, and sensitivity. This style of parenting also avoids threats or punishments.
In this article, I’ll explain more about what authoritative parenting is and its benefits. I’ll also discuss the challenges, if it works, authoritative vs authoritarian style, and the effects of authoritative parenting.
What Is Authoritative Parenting?
Authoritative parents nurture their children in a responsive, sensitive manner while setting proper limits and expectations. They explain rules and discuss them with the child to ensure they understand the reasoning. While they listen to their perspective, they do not always reason with it.
In the 1960s, Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist, identified the following parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive, based on her research on preschool-age children. Neglectful parenting is another style, in which the parent is not involved in the child’s life.
Authoritative parenting has been viewed as the most effective parenting style. However, the idea that parents should parent their children based on the child’s unique personality and personal goals.
There are a few characteristics of authoritative parents.
A few traits they exhibit include:
- Administering fair and consistent discipline when rules are broken
- Allowing their children to express opinions
- Encouraging their children to discuss options
- Expressing warmth and nurturing
- Fostering independence and reasoning
- Listening to their children
- Placing limits, consequences, and expectations on their children's behavior
Research shows that authoritative parenting has the best outcomes when compared to other parenting styles.
Some of the benefits of this parenting style include children who:
- Are more empathetic, kind, and warm-natured.
- Are secure in who they are
- Have good relationships with their parents
- Are responsible and can take ownership over their tasks
- Have good emotional regulation and make decisions independently
- Are social and get along with their peers and teachers
- Are more resistant to peer-pressure
- Know their parent is in charge, so they don’t have to be concerned with being in charge
Does It Work?
Authoritative parenting is an effective parenting style and does work. There are a few reasons why authoritative parenting is a successful parenting style:
Setting an example for your child
By openly communicating with your child, you are setting an example for them. Authoritative parents set clear boundaries and expectations, showing their children how to do so as they grow into adulthood.
Providing proper limits
Similar to permissive parents, authoritative parents are responsive, nurturing, and involved. However, unlike permissive parents, authoritative parents set clear, consistent rules and limits for how their children should behave.
Authoritative parents take a firm stand, expecting their kids to behave responsibly.
Supporting your child emotionally
Children desire to be heard, supported, and loved by their parents. Authoritative parents are empathetic toward their children and hear their perspectives or point of view. They also talk things through, such as situations in which the child misbehaved.
Is It Right For Me?
Each child has specific needs and different personalities. Gentle parenting may sometimes work better. It’s helpful to begin early in your child’s life (even as early as 18 months old) so your child can understand and expect limits and boundaries in combination with warmth and support.
If you’re unsure if an authoritative parenting style is right for you, consider starting small by practicing a few characteristics of authoritative parenting before committing to the style as a whole.
For example, try putting these into place to start:
- Ask your child how they feel before asking them to do something
- Talk to your child calmly when they’re feeling upset, scared, or overwhelmed
- Encourage your child to express themselves by giving their opinion and talking about their feelings
Authoritative vs. Authoritarian Styles
While authoritative and authoritarian parenting sound similar, they have very different principles and effects.
An authoritarian parenting style involves strict, cold behavior toward the child. The parent is also usually less involved in the child’s life, and the child does not get a say in decision-making. Authoritarian parents oftentimes go by the term, “Because I said so”.
Both of these parenting styles imply authority, and the similarities and differences are as follows:
How Do Authoritative Parents Discipline Their Children?
In contrast to authoritarian parenting, authoritative parents avoid harsh and arbitrary punishments. They don’t shame their child or withdraw love while disciplining them. Generally, they avoid resorting to threats and punishments.
Authoritative parents tend to practice inductive discipline strategies, where they reason with their children and explain their actions. They also discuss what’s important (such as values), and walk through what they can do better next time.
Research shows the way a child is parented greatly affects their development and the outcome of their life.
When it comes to the effects of authoritative parenting, it’s been shown that:
- Authoritative parents develop close, nurturing relationships with their children as they provide clear, firm, and consistent guidelines.
- Children are generally responsible, and able to manage their aggression. They also have high self-esteem and are very self-confident.
- Children are able to practice emotional control and have fewer behavioral problems.
- Parents are highly responsive, expect age-appropriate behavior, and boundaries are clear and firm. This results in children who are assertive, socially responsible, self-regulated, and cooperative.
- Children are also happy, capable, and successful.
Your approach to parenting depends on the specific needs of your child and what you feel is best for them. Authoritative parenting styles are known to be effective; resulting in confident children who are responsible, and self-regulated.