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What Is Authoritative Parenting?

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Father giving daughter lecture
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Question: What Is Authoritative Parenting?

Answer:

During the 1960s, developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind described three different types of parenting styles based on her researcher with preschool-age children. One of the main parenting styles identified by Baumrind is known as the authoritative parenting style. This style of parenting is sometimes referred to as "democratic" and involves a child-centric approach in which parents hold high expectations for their children.

Characteristics of the Authoritative Parenting Style

Authoritative parents:

  • Listen to their children

  • Encourage independence

  • Place limits, consequences and expectations on their children's behavior

  • Express warmth and nurturance

  • Allow children to express opinions

  • Encourage children to discuss options

  • Administer fair and consistent discipline

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People with authoritative parenting styles want their children to utilize reasoning and work independently, but they also have high expectations for their children. When children break the rules, they are disciplined in a fair and consistent manner.

Authoritative parents are also flexible. If there are extenuating circumstances, they will allow the child to explain what happened and adjust their response accordingly.

The Effects of the Authoritative Parenting Style

Child development experts generally identify the authoritative parenting style as the "best" approach to parenting. Children raised by authoritative parents tend to be more capable, happy and successful.

According to Baumrind, children of authoritative parents:

  • Tend to have a happier dispositions

  • Have good emotional control and regulation

  • Develop good social skills

  • Are self-confident about their abilities to learn new skills

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Understanding Why Authoritative Parenting Works

Because authoritative parents act as role models and exhibit the same behaviors they expect from their children, kids are more likely to internalize these behaviors. Consistent rules and discipline allow children to know what to expect.

Because parents exhibit good emotional understanding and control, children also learn to manage their own emotions and learn to understand others as well. Authoritative parents also allow children to act independently, which teaches kids that they are capable of accomplishing things on their own, helping to foster strong self-esteem and self-confidence.

References

Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88.

Maccoby, E.E. (1992). The role of parents in the socialization of children: An historical overview. Developmental Psychology, 28, 1006-1017.

 

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