Authoritarian Parenting: Pros and Cons

Parents do lots of commonalities when it comes to raising children. There are also great variations as well. For example, applying parenting style. There are four types of parenting: authoritarian, permissive, authoritative, and uninvolved. Here, we will give you an in-depth explanation of authoritarian parenting, from its definition, characteristics, pros and cons, and effects.

Before we get started, we will explain the four types of parenting in brief. This is so you know how each type of parenting looks like and how the other three types differ from the authoritarian type. After that, we will explain the authoritarian type in-depth. Alright, now let’s start.

Types of Parenting

Parenting has both similarities and differences. Due to the many similarities in parenting, parenting style can be categorized into certain groups or types.

According to Diane Baumrind, there are four parenting types: authoritarian, permissive, authoritative, and uninvolved. To help you understand these types, below are brief descriptions of each parenting types.

Authoritarian

Due to how they raise their children, parents with authoritarian parenting styles are often thought of as disciplinarians.

  • Authoritarian parents use a strict discipline style. Punishment is common and there is little to no room for negotiation.
  • Communication between parents and children is mostly one way: from parent to child.
  • While authoritarian parents apply rules, sometimes parents don’t explain it clearly. Instead, the child is expected to know that the rules exist on their own.
  • Authoritarian parents have high expectations for their children but limited flexibility.
  • Authoritarian parents tend to be less nurturing.

Permissive

Unlike either authoritarian or authoritative parenting, permissive parents for the most part allow their children to do what they want. There is limitation of Guidance or direction. They act more like friends than their parents.

  • Permissive parents have little to no rules for their sons. They let them figure out problems on their own.
  • Communication is two-way and open. However, parents don’t give direction and let their children decide for themselves.
  • Permissive parents to be both warm and nurturing.
  • Expectations are usually minimal. Some permissive parents may not even set expectations for their children.

Authoritative

Authoritative parenting tends to be nurturing and reasonable while at the same time set clear and high expectations of their children. Children who have authoritative parents tend to think for themselves and are self-disciplined.

  • Rules for the children are clear. Parents also explain the reason why the rules are there.
  • Communication is two-way and frequent, appropriate to the age of the children.
  • Parents are nurturing.
  • Expectations are high and clear. Parents allow children to have their inputs.

Uninvolved

Uninvolved parents stay out of their way and provide their son or daughter with a lot of freedom. Some parents decide to raise their children this way while others are either unsure of what to do or are less interested in parenting.

  • There is no particular discipline style in this parenting type. Uninvolved parents let their toddlers do what they want.
  • Limited communication
  • Parent give little nurturing
  • Little to no expectations for children.

More about Parenting Style

Parenting style affects both children and parents. Parenting style tends to be inherited from one generation to the next. If a parent was raised by parents with authoritarian parenting, they may parent their children the same way.

It can be the other way around, too. They may raise their children in a completely opposite parenting style.

While parenting style can be categorized, the categories are by no means rigid. Parents can be authoritarian in one aspect and permissive in another, for example.

In this way, the categories are more like a spectrum. Also, a certain parenting style may be the best choice in a situation but maybe the worse one in another.

Authoritarian parenting is also known for the famous “Because I say so,” saying, which discourages children to ask questions.

Parents with this type of parenting may use punishments and not discipline. Instead of teaching their child how to make better choices, authoritarian parents make their kiddies feel sorry for their mistakes.

Authoritarian Parenting Definition

Now that you know four parenting types, let’s delve further into the authoritarian parenting style. Based on research, the authoritarian type is the strictest one.

According to Diana Baumrind, this type of parenting comes from the parent’s belief that the attitude and behavior of a child should be shaped by a strict standard of conduct.

How do you know if you are an authoritarian parent? If you

  • Don’t take the feelings of your child into consideration.
  • Kids must obey strict rules.
  • Believe that children should be seen, not heard.

Then you might be an authoritarian parent. Authoritarian parents believe that children should follow the rules, no ifs, no buts, and no question.

Children are not allowed to ask the reason why a rule exists. The focus of this parenting type is on obedience. There is little to no room for negotiation or a child’s input on the matter.

While children with authoritarian parents on the surface look disciplined. They may lack self-discipline especially if there is no parental or authoritative figure around.

Because the children are not encouraged to act and explore independently. They never really learn how to set personal standards and limits on their own.

Children with authoritarian parenting also tend to follow rules. However, their obedience does come at a price.

These children might develop self-esteem problems. Because their opinions are not heard by their parents. We will tell you more about the effects of this parenting type on a child in the last section.

The Characteristics of Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting has many characteristics. The following are the eight most common ones:

Authoritarian Parents are Demanding but Not Responsive

They may even go as far as micromanaging their children’s behaviors and lives. It is not uncommon to see authoritarian parents have rules that apply to almost the entire aspect of their children’s lives.

They may even have unwritten rules they don’t explain that they expect their children to know.

Authoritarian Parents are Cold, Harsh, and not Nurturing

Parents with an authoritarian parenting style often seem cold and harsh rather than warm and nurturing.

These parents value discipline over fun and have “children are seen, not heard” approach in their parenting. Instead of offering encouragement and praise, authoritarian parents are more likely to yell or nag.

Authoritarian Parents Use Punishments to Discipline

Another characteristic is that authoritarian parents have no qualm of using punishment, including corporal punishment like spanking.

When the rules are broken, these parents react quickly and harshly instead of using positive reinforcement.

Authoritarian Parents don’t Give Their Children Options or Choices

Authoritarian parenting involves rules, rules that the parents set and children must follow. This parenting style rarely give their children options or choices. Instead, they have rules to follow.

Authoritarian Parents Have Less Patience for Misbehavior

In the eyes of authoritarian parents, their heirs must conduct only good things. They have little to no patience when their juvenile misbehave.

They might not even explain why they should not do certain behaviors or talk about their juveniles’ feelings.

Authoritarian Parents don’t Allow Their Children to Make Their Own Choices

On one hand, parents with authoritarian parenting have strict rules and high expectations for their children.

On the other, they don’t allow their children to make their own choices and deal with the consequences of those choices. They don’t have enough trust for their children to make their own choices.

Authoritarian Parents are not Willing to Negotiate

Authoritarian parents see things in black and white. They don’t believe in gray areas. There is no room for compromise. As a result, there is no room for negotiation when it comes to making decisions and rules.

Authoritarian Parents May Use Shame to Force Their Children to Behave

Instead of finding ways to build self-esteem for their children, authoritarian parents often believe that using shame can discourage their children from misbehaving and motivate them to behave better.

Pros of Authoritarian Parenting

As restrictive and disciplinary as it seems, authoritarian style does have its pros. In fact, some aspects of authoritarian style can be beneficial in raising healthy, balanced, and well-rounded children.

Often times, the most well-behaved children in the classroom are those who have authoritarian parents. Here are the pros of this parenting style.

Good Behavior

Under authoritarian parenting, the rules that the child must follow are clear. As a result, children raised by authoritarian parents have a good understanding of what is acceptable and what is not.

As they know that they will be in trouble if they misbehave, they will avoid breaking the rules and stepping out of line.

Goal-driven

Another pro of this parenting style is that children with authoritarian parents are goal-driven. Authoritarian parents usually have detailed plans which include precise instructions for their children to follow.

From these instructions, children can have a better understanding of what steps they need to take so they can accomplish a goal.

Safety

As strict and disciplined as they are, authoritarian parents place a heavy emphasis on their children’s safety, both physical and emotional.

This minimizes the likelihood of a child from doing a behavior that may endanger their safety. Also, children who understand the consequence of harmful behavior are more likely to stay away from it.

Cons of Authoritarian Parenting

How to recover from Authoritarian parenting

Authoritarian parents do well in introducing values and expectations to their children, which is a major role that parents play in a child’s life according to Baumrind.

However, authoritarian parenting effects also have cons that affect children in the long term. Below are some of the cons of this parenting type.

Low self-esteem

Authoritarian parents are strict. They don’t allow their children to make their own choices. It is very important to allow children to make their own choices.

Authoritarian parents hinder this natural ability to develop, resulting in low self-esteem. Children who rely on others to develop their confidence will often face difficulty in new environments or social situations.

Rule-dependent

Authoritarian parents have rules that their children must obey. On one hand, this teaches children to follow rules. On the other, this makes them rule-dependent.

If children raised by authoritarian parents encounter situations where there are no established rules, they will be unsure of how to behave and feel insecure.

Emotionally Withdrawn

Children with authoritarian parents tend to be emotionally withdrawn. They tend to avoid expressing their emotions.

Rebellion

Eventually, children will grow tired of the rules that their authoritarian parents oblige them to follow. As a result, these children will test their limits by intentionally defying their parents. They might even do actions that could endanger their own safety.

The Effects on Children

Different parenting styles have different effects on a child. In the case of authoritarian parenting effects, while it introduces rules and boundaries to children, most developmental experts believe that this parenting type lacks the unconditional love, warmth, and nurturance that children needed. It is also considered too punitive, which could be counterproductive in the future.

These are some of the effects of authoritarian style on children:

  • Children often have low self-esteem
  • Some children raised by authoritarian parents act more aggressively outside the home
  • Some children may be overly shy or act fearful around others
  • Children will associate obedience and success with love
  • Due to underdeveloped social competence, children may have difficulty in social situations
  • Juveniles tend to conform easily but they also prone to anxiety and depression
  • Their sons or daughter may have difficulty with self-control as they never really learn to make choices and face the natural consequences of their choices
  • Children may grow up thinking that violence-based behaviors are normal

Closing

Like other parenting types, authoritarian parenting has its pros and cons. In situations where discipline and restrictions is number one, this kind of parenting might be effective. In other situations, however, it can have negative effects on the child. Although it introduces rules and boundaries, things like warmth, unconditional love, and parental responsiveness, which all children need, tend to be lacking.

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