Authoritative parenting is the most favored among the different parenting styles. It is said to have the best impact on children. If you think this parenting style is best for your children, too, here are some important questions on authoritative parenting and their answers.
- What is authoritative parenting?
- What are some parenting practices of an authoritative parent
- How does authoritative parenting differ from other parenting styles
- What are the advantages and challenges of authoritative parenting
- Conclusion: Is authoritative parenting the best parenting style
What is authoritative parenting?
Authoritative parenting is characterized by being responsive and demanding. It is one of the four established parenting styles based on Diana Baumrind’s framework.
Sometimes referred to as “democratic parenting,” authoritative parenting aims to strike a balance between being too strict or too lenient. Authoritative parents set demands and boundaries while being responsive, caring, and nurturing. Parents who adopt this parenting style believe they need to set rules to guide their children and, at the same time, show their love by being attentive to their children’s needs.
What are some parenting practices of an authoritative parent
How do you know if you are an authoritative parent? You will know it through your parenting practices. Before we go to the parenting practices that describe authoritative parents, let us first differentiate parenting styles and parenting practices.
Parenting styles vs. parenting practices
Parenting styles are broader than parenting practices. Parenting styles are composed of a constellation or patterns of parenting practices that we convey to our children. Parenting practices, on the other hand, are specific attitudes and behavior that we carry out toward our children. We can identify our parenting style by looking into our different parenting practices.
Characteristics of an authoritative parent
You are an authoritative parent if you possess the following attitude and behavior:
- Warm, nurturing, and supportive;
- Attentive to your children’s needs;
- Listen to your children;
- Foster independence;
- Set and enforce rules, limits, and boundaries;
- Explain rules to children rather than impose blind obedience;
- Explain the outcome of children’s good and bad behavior;
- Respect children to earn their respect in return; and
- Practice positive reinforcement or discipline than harsh punishments.
Authoritative Parenting Practice Examples
Below are some examples of parenting practices displayed by authoritative parents.
- I support my child’s interest in drawing and painting.
- I explain to my child why playing with gadgets is not allowed before bedtime.
- I encourage my child to talk about his or her feelings, whether happy, excited, upset, frustrated, or scared.
- When my child has hurt somebody, I do not punish or let him/her get away with it right away. Instead, I listen to my child’s explanation without judgment.
- I only let my child play with gadgets once they are done with school work and assigned chores at home.
- I listen attentively and do not interrupt when my child has something to say.
- I do not punish my child by ignoring him/her.
How does authoritative parenting differ from other parenting styles
Authoritative parenting differs from other forms of parenting based on responsiveness and demandingness to their children. Other parenting styles include authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved.
Authoritative parenting style vs. authoritarian
Authoritarian parents tend to have strict rules, give harsh punishments, provide very little guidance, and expect obedience from their children without questions. Contrary to authoritative parents, authoritarian parents are not responsive to the needs of their children but are very demanding.
Authoritative and authoritarian parenting are two distinct parenting styles that affect children differently.
Authoritative parenting is characterized by setting clear and consistent boundaries while being responsive and nurturing to the child’s needs. Authoritative parents provide a balance of warmth and discipline, and they actively involve themselves in their child’s life while allowing their child to develop independence. This style is associated with children with higher self-esteem, better academic performance, and fewer behavioral problems.
On the other hand, authoritarian parenting is characterized by strict, rigid rules and high expectations, with little room for negotiation or discussion. Authoritarian parents may use punishment as the primary means of discipline and may not be as responsive to the child’s needs or feelings. This style is associated with children who have lower self-esteem, poorer academic performance, and more behavioral problems.
It is important to note that neither of these parenting styles is inherently “good” or “bad,” and each child may respond differently to different parenting styles. It is also important to recognize that balancing both styles may work best for a child.
Permissive vs. authoritative parenting style
Permissive parenting is characterized by high responsiveness and very low demandingness. Permissive parents attend to the needs of their children just as authoritative parents do. However, they seldom or do not at all set rules for their children to follow. They almost always say “yes” to their children’s wishes.
Uninvolved vs. authoritative parenting style
Uninvolved or neglectful parents are detached from their children’s lives. They are neither responsive to the needs of their children nor demanding of them. Unlike authoritative parents, uninvolved parents provide less support, guidance, and discipline to their children.
Here is a sample scenario of what parents with different parenting styles would do. Let us take, for instance, an 8 pm bedtime routine.
- Authoritative parent: Implements the bedtime routine and explains to the child why they have to be in bed by 8 pm.
- Authoritarian parent: Strictly implements the 8 pm bedtime routine without explanation. The parent punishes the child when he/she does not follow the rule.
- Permissive parent: Sets bedtime at 8 pm but constantly allows the child to stay up late to avoid offending the child.
- Uninvolved parent: Does not set bedtime routine and does not care much when the child sleeps.
If you want to learn more about the different parenting styles, read this: Different Parenting Styles: Are You Doing it Right?
What are the advantages and challenges of authoritative parenting
Authoritative parenting is known to be the ideal parenting style, and it is easy to see why. It seems to be the most balanced among the parenting types and has great benefits. However, authoritative parenting also has its pitfalls and difficulties. Let us take a look at the advantages and challenges of authoritative parenting.
Advantages of authoritative parenting
- Flexibility. One good thing about authoritative parenting is that it allows for flexibility. You can try out different practices that will fit your family values and principles, as well as your child’s age and personality, without depriving your child of freedom.
- Fosters independence and responsibility. Children raised by authoritative parents tend to be independent in the future as parents trust them with enough freedom and support growing up. They also learn to be more responsible for their actions as they know about the consequences and outcomes of different actions.
- Develops respect. Authoritative parenting helps create the value of respect. Parents respect their children by giving them a chance to be heard and giving them freedom appropriate for their age. Children, in return, learn to imitate their parents and show respect to them, the rules, and the boundaries set in place. As children go outside their homes, they also tend to carry this value wherever they go, thus being respectful to others.
- Promotes successful children. Children who get enough love, attention, and support are happier. When children are happier, they also tend to be more confident with themselves and are, therefore, more likely to succeed. The discipline they get and the lessons they learn from their parents about consequences also help them become resilient children. Resilience is a vital key to success.
Challenges of authoritative parenting
- Easier said than done. One thing about authoritative parenting is that it is very easy to say and understand how it should be done. But, in reality, it isn’t easy to do. Your child’s reaction to specific rules or forms of love and support may differ from what you expect. With this type of parenting, you need to have perseverance and patience – tons of them!
- Difficult to find the right balance. No child is the same. What works for one may not work for another. It takes trial and error to determine practices that will strike the right balance between freedom and discipline, between support and demands. Furthermore, as your child grows, their needs also change, and so should your techniques.
- Rebelling child. Are you ready for your child’s teenage years? As your child gets overwhelmed and confused by the many changes during the teenage years, they may find it hard to follow through with your rules and demands. They may start to rebel and go against your rules, which they may not fully comprehend even after some explanation.
While authoritative parenting can be challenging, the benefits are worth it.
Conclusion: Is authoritative parenting the best parenting style
While authoritative parenting is the most popular and deemed to be the most ideal, it may not necessarily be the best parenting style for your child. Remember, not all children are the same. They may have different reactions to different parenting practices and behavior. The best parenting style for your child may be a combination of any parenting style.
If you are convinced that authoritative parenting is the best parenting style for your child, you can apply it, observe the effect, and adjust as you see fit.
Are you an authoritative parent? Do you think this is the best parenting style for your kid? Let us know in the comment section below.