Authoritative Style: Best Parenting Ever
Parenting styles refer to the emotional state of parents in rearing their children. Some might confuse parenting styles with parenting practices, which, in contrast, refer to the specific actions of parents in interacting with their children. Parenting styles focus more on whether a parent has high sense of responsibility and high intensity of affection towards a child or not. With these qualities being considered, Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist who focused studying on parenting, developed three categories of parenting styles depending on the accountability and warmth of parents, namely Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive. Permissive parents give more freedom to their children and show great affection but low accountability. On the other hand, authoritative and authoritarian parents exhibit very high accountability because they are more demanding, therefore involving their selves more in every activity of their children. However, authoritative and authoritarian parents are very different in terms of the display of affection towards a child; authoritative parents are more expressive of their love for their children (Robinson, 1995). Authoritative parenting is demanding in some ways but it creates a good parent-child relationship which greatly affects a child holistic development.
To raise a child, it is best to use a child-centered approach wherein much consideration is given to the own interests of a child. The child-centered approach is offered by the authoritative parenting style, which is neither too controlling nor tolerating. An authoritative parent will never say “Do this! Do that! No buts!” Instead, you will most likely hear an authoritative parent saying, “Okay, do you get my rules? Do you have any problem about it?” A right to ask and probably a right to negotiate are given to the child. Moreover, there are no restrictions as to what activities the child involves himself into. The authoritative parent, as an adult, will give his insights and advices to the child with regards to choice of activities but still gives more importance to the child’s preference as long as it will not cause harm to anybody. What every authoritative parent is expecting with this kind of setup is that the child would excel in his chosen field, which is most likely going to happen because it is what the child really wanted after all. But the parent does not just demand this from the child; an authoritative parent guides the child all the way to make it happen.
Aside from the type of approach in raising a child, the parenting style also determines the kind of relationship there is between the parent and child (Smetana, 1995). An authoritarian parent inculcates fear to a child leading to an ineffective or no communication at all. An authoritative parent, on the other hand, is more lenient compared to an authoritarian, creating a well-established communication between parent and child. However, some might argue that permissive parenting creates the best parent-child relationship among the three styles. A friend-like environment that is preferred by most adolescents is created between them and their permissive parents due to the freedom and high tolerance given to them. Although there is a friendly atmosphere between permissive parents and their children, the fact that permissive parenting puts a child’s social behavior at stake should not be neglected. According to a recent study in Brigham Young University, parents have a great influence on whether an adolescent, between ages 12 to 19, will become binge drinkers. It was concluded that permissive parents almost tripled the risk of their teen-age children to participate in heavy drinking (Verzello, 2010). In addition, teens with authoritative parents have the lowest risk of becoming a binge drinker.
Resulting from a good parent-child relationship, an authoritative parent raises a child with high self-esteem, well-developed emotion regulation, refined social skills, satisfactory academic performance, and most importantly, a happy and lively disposition in life. What an authoritative parent does to bring up such a child is to recognize the child’s abilities and then helps hone them to attain their highest capabilities. Nevertheless, some might say that authoritarian parents are better because their children get an A++ in every exam. Math whiz, walking encyclopedia, debate champ, chess master — name it and authoritative parents have children like it. The behavior of kids are reflections of the parenting styles, but should academic performance be the only basis of the success in parenting? Of course, the answer is no. This claim is strongly proven in the study headed by Susie Lamborn regarding the patterns of confidence and adjustment of adolescents brought up using different parenting styles. The social, physiological and psychological aspects are of equal importance as the academic performance of a child. The results of this study provide evidence that authoritarian parents raise academically-honored children, but who are emotionally weak, psychologically unstable, and physically uncompetitive. This is something that authoritative parents do not want to happen to their kids, although high academic performance is still an aim. An authoritative parent does not expect the child to excel in something the child does without a heart.
“Train up a child in a way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This proverb tells people that the things you teach a child will be carried on until the child grows up. It implies that a great task is put upon a parent’s shoulder for raising a child. This task must therefore be done in the finest way possible. But what really is the best way to bring up a child? Some parents are permissive so they just opt to be cool moms and dads while risking the discipline of their children. There are also the authoritarians who are too controlling, neglecting to give their children time to enjoy their youth. And of course, there are also the authoritative parents who use a technique that is somehow intermediate of the two. The saying “Everything in excess is bad” is proven in the style of parenting. Too much affection can spoil a child while too much authority can terrorize. A child only needs enough of those things, nothing more.
Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88.
Lamborn, S. D., Mounts, N. S., Steinberg, L. and Dornbusch, S. M. (1991), Patterns of Competence and Adjustment among Adolescents from Authoritative, Authoritarian, Indulgent, and Neglectful Families. Child Development, 62: 1049–1065. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1991.tb01588.x
Robinson, C., Mandleco, B., Olsen, S.F., & Hart, C. (1995) Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive Parenting Practices: of a New Measure. Psychological Reports: Volume 77, Issue, pp. 819-830.
Smetana, J. G. (1995), Parenting Styles and Conceptions of Parental Authority during Adolescence. Child Development, 66: 299–316. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1995.tb00872.x
Verzello, A. (2010), Teens and alcohol study: Parenting style can prevent binge drinking. Brigham Young University News Release.