Authoritarian Parenting Style

By Stephen Walton © 2012

What's It All About?... and What Are It's Effects

The "Authoritarian Parenting Style" is an extremely strict form of parenting that expects a child to adhere to rules and regulations set out by the parents with little or no input or communication from the child.

Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind in her studies based on the dimensions of "Parental Responsiveness" and "Parental Demandingness" conclude that:

This type of parenting style is a harsh, rigid emotional climate that is low in parental responsiveness (the nurturing aspect of the child) and high in parental demandingness (control over the child).

Open communication is generally not an option in this type of parenting style.

Authoritarian parents feel they are the boss and their children should conform to the their demands without question.

The rules are expected to be adhered to with no room for negotiation. The consequence of breaking a rule is absolute punishment.

Yelling and Spanking of younger children is often resorted to for means of discipline and control over their behaviour.

High standards of behaviour are expected and extreme value is placed on obedience with an indisputable respect for authority.

Generally authoritarian parents are not very emotional or affectionate and are often critical of their children if they fail to meet their expectations.

Effects of The Authoritarian Parenting Style

Following are a few possible effects of this style of parenting

  • Children rarely learn to think on their own
  • They feel pressured to conform
  • They often become socially withdrawn
  • May be very angry, resentful and frustrated
  • Can find it hard to deal with their anger
  • May develop a tendency to act out
  • Develop a fear of failure (do to pressure)
  • Often have a low self esteem
  • Develop a resentment of authority

Why Some Parents Use This Approach

If you observe different families you will notice there are many parents today that still practice this type of parenting technique, often dictated by nationality, cultural or ethnic backgrounds.

Others were raised themselves by authoritarian parents and simply model their style without considering alternative approaches.

There are also those parents that feel ruling with an iron fist is the best way to keep their children in line and under control at all times.

The "Positive Parenting Centre's" Perspective

Rules should never be perceived by your child as a means of power or control over them. They need to be understood as guiding principles that govern their conduct in a positive direction.

The consequence of a broken rule by a child should be viewed as a life lesson, not punishment for the purpose of obedience.

Strong punishment leads to more misbehaviour, rebellion and a constant power struggle.

A positive discipline approach is required where a child feels valued as their personal opinions are considered and respected.

Self regulation in your child should be encouraged for independence, self motivation and development of a strong self esteem.

In our opinion this parenting style leaves a lot to be desired. It is far too strict, lacks the warmth and nurturing required in creating a positive and loving family environment.

The "Authoritarian Parenting Style" is not one that supports the fundamental principles of Positive Parenting.

Developing Your Own Parenting Style

If you have not yet read our condensed definitions of the other parenting styles, we strongly suggest you read them prior to attempting to define your own parenting style.

The following link options will guide you in your journey


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Go Straight To: "Positive Parenting"

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