Authoritative Parenting: Knowing the Pros and Cons

Parents go through a lot when raising their children. National Parents’ Day, celebrated every fourth Sunday in July, celebrates the efforts and contributions of proud parents in the lives of their children. On this day, let’s talk about authoritarian parenting and how it affects a child.

Health Shots consulted Dr. Rituparna Ghosh, Psychological Consultant, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, to find out the pros and cons of an authoritarian parenting style.

Authoritarian parenting is considered a healthy parenting style. Image provided by: Shutterstock

What is an authoritarian parenting style?

Authoritarian parenting is a parenting style characterized by an approach of setting rules and expectations. Parents are also attentive to their child’s needs and emotions. Dr. Ghosh says this is a healthy and effective parenting style that promotes positive child development. Parents who adopt an authoritarian style are firm and consistent in their discipline, but also supportive and caring towards their children.

Benefits of an authoritative parenting style

The authoritarian parenting style has its advantages. Here are some of the main benefits:

1. Social and emotional development

Authoritative parenting promotes healthy social and emotional development in children. By providing constant warmth, support and discipline, children raised in this style tend to develop strong self-esteem, self-confidence and a positive self-image, explains the expert. They also tend to have better emotional regulation abilities and exhibit higher levels of empathy and social skills.

2. Academic success

Authoritative parenting has been associated with better academic outcomes in children. The combination of setting clear expectations, guidance, and developing independence encourages children to develop strong study habits, motivation, and a love for learning. They are more likely to excel academically and get better grades.

3. Autonomy and responsibility

Authoritative parents strike a balance between setting rules and granting autonomy to their children. This style allows children to develop decision-making skills, problem-solving abilities, and a sense of responsibility for their actions. They learn to make choices in a supportive environment that promotes independence and autonomy.

4. Positive Communication and Relationship Building

Authoritative parents value open and respectful communication with their children. This leads to the development of a strong parent-child bond based on trust and understanding. Children raised in this style feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and emotions, knowing that their parents will listen and guide them.

5. Reduction of behavior problems

Children raised with authoritative parents are less likely to engage in behavioral issues such as aggression or defiance. The clear expectations, consistent discipline and nurturing environment provided by authoritative parents help children internalize appropriate behavior and develop self-control, says the expert.

6. Adaptability and resilience

An authoritarian parenting style promotes adaptability and resilience in children. By encouraging independence, problem-solving and decision-making, children learn to overcome challenges and setbacks effectively. They develop adaptability, flexibility and a positive attitude to overcome obstacles, which contributes to their overall resilience in different areas of life.

mother with her daughter
No parenting style is perfect. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Side effects of authoritarian parenting

An authoritarian parenting style is generally associated with positive outcomes for children. However, it is important to note that no parenting style is perfect and there can always be potential side effects. Here are a few:

1. High expectations

Authoritative parents often have high expectations for their children’s behavior and accomplishments. While this can motivate children to strive for success, it can also create pressure and anxiety if the child feels unable to meet these expectations. This can lead to stress or a fear of failure.

2. Perceived lack of autonomy

Although authoritative parents encourage independence and decision-making, some children may perceive the limits and rules set by their parents as restrictive. This can make them less independent or hamper their sense of freedom compared to children raised in a more permissive parenting style.

3. Conflict

Even though authoritative parents are all in favor of open communication and negotiation, disagreements or conflicts can still arise between parents and children. These conflicts can arise when the child challenges or questions established rules, leading to potential power struggles or arguments.

4. Over-reliance on parental approval

As authoritative parents provide guidance and support, children can develop a strong dependence on parental approval and validation. This can potentially limit their ability to make independent decisions or seek validation from other sources as they age, Dr. Ghosh says.

5. Perfectionism

Due to the emphasis on high standards and achievement, children raised with authoritative parenting may develop perfectionist tendencies. They might become too focused on meeting expectations and have a hard time accepting failure or mistakes. This can lead to excessive stress and self-imposed pressure.

There is no best parenting style per se. But parents should adopt a parenting style that maintains a balance in disciplinary methods. Be tough, but never be tough with your child, spend time with him, pay attention to what he says, be generous with your praise and have realistic expectations.

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