What is Authoritative Parenting?

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Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind developed her parenting styles in the 1960s as a researcher for the University of California, Berkeley. In the research, she studied different parenting approaches centered on the demands they placed on their children and their levels of responsiveness. She created the framework for three parenting styles, and later other researchers added a fourth based on her studies.


Parenting Styles

The other Baumrind parenting styles are based on studies done in the US and are described as:
Authoritarian Parenting: Strict parents who do not discuss options with children, there is swift punishment for broken rules without negotiation or explanation.

Permissive Parenting: While very nurturing, permissive parents do not set rules or expectations with their kids. These parents have low expectations, and discipline is rare.

In later years, psychologists Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin added Uninvolved Parenting to reflect parents who have limited demands, low levels of awareness, and little communication.

What is Authoritative Parenting?

Authoritative Parenting is a parenting style with high responsiveness and a high level of expectations for the kids. This style is often regarded as the best approach to parenting as it sits between too strict and too laissez-faire. While authoritative parents set limits and create consistent rules in their homes, they use positive and patient disciplining methods.

Authoritative parents listen closely to how their children feel and help them find solutions to problems, but they are consistent in setting boundaries. Children learn that there are punishments for negative actions, but these punishments are based on positive parenting techniques. Parents use their own actions to demonstrate the boundaries that they have set and to model effective problem-solving techniques.

These parents will continuously give their children:
  • Crystal clear expectations
  • Solid boundaries
  • Consistent communication and active listening
  • Problem-solving and coping skills

Outcomes of Authoritative Parenting

According to studies, the children of authoritative parents are often more successful in school, participate in more activities, and develop high levels of self-esteem. Additionally, these children are better adjusted and tend to build closer relationships with their parents. 

According to Healthline, children of authoritative parents have better coping skills because they have parents who take the time to model problem-solving. This modeling helps them understand and develop ways to cope with different emotions and shows them how to control their behavior.

Discipline and Authoritative Parenting

Clear boundaries are developed over time as parents continue to communicate and reinforce acceptable behavior for their children. While authoritative parents do not accept bad behavior, they will take the time to discuss the child’s opinions and emotions. The parent’s expectations for the child do not change, but authoritative parenting allows them to take a more situational approach to the problem.

For example, if a child does not want to do their homework, an authoritative parent will take the time to explain why homework is necessary and why they expect the child to complete the task. They will not yell or demand that the homework be done in a strict amount of time. Opening a discussion can allow the child to describe why they do not want to complete their work, and it will also let the parent help them create a constructive solution. 

While every family will determine which style is best for their kids, it is interesting to explore the research being done surrounding different parenting ideas.

Co-parents may have different parenting styles, and TalkingParents is a great way to allow them to communicate about their children.

TalkingParents blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding legal matters.

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