After a child takes birth, they are unable to understand what behavior you demand from him. They are unfamiliar with the terms such as “discipline” and “manners.” It is your parenting and upbringing that shape the character of your child. The type of parenting has a significant role in shaping your child’s nature and behavior. In this article, we will focus on authoritative parenting, where we evaluate the characteristics of parenting and how it affects children.
Authoritarian vs. Authoritative Parenting
Unlike permissive parents, authoritarian parents tend to be the strictest parents. While these parents tend to impose many rules and regulations on their children, they are reluctant to engage in any discussion about the rules or accept feedback and opinions from their children. Although the type of parenting sounds harsh, parents following the authoritarian parenting style believe that their parenting styles will make children capable, all-rounder, and high-achieving members of society.
Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist, stated authoritarian parenting definition includes parents being highly subjective to obedience, status-oriented, and expect their children to obey their commands without any question.
However, the truth is, these parenting styles come with a cost. The founder of Paradigm Treatment Center and an award-winning licensed clinical psychologist, Jeff Nalin, states that children following strict behavior and follow all the dos and don’ts tend to analyze their self-worth depending on the obedience of rules set by their parents. The emphasis on cause and consequences hinders a child’s ability to make choices, and later on, it directly impacts their self-esteem.
On the other hand, a parenting style characterized by high responsiveness and high demands stands as a perfect authoritative parenting definition. These parents are responsive towards their children’s emotional requirements while maintaining high standards of rules and regulations. The parents tend to set limitations that remain consistent while enforcing boundaries. The parents administer punishment in a way that teaches their children instead of letting them suffer through it.
Examples of Authoritarian and Authoritative Parenting
Authoritarian parenting examples include severe screen time limitations for their kids or even forbidding staying in front of the screen and control play dates and timings. Other examples include punishments for not completing the allotted tasks before playdates and adhering to “eat or go hungry” during meal times.
On the other hand, authoritative parenting examples include parents being warm, attuned, nurturing, and listening to their children. These parents allow autonomy, encourage independence, reason children instead of demanding blind obedience, set clear limits on behavior, consistently enforce boundaries, use positive disciplines rather than punitive, forceful measures, and earn children’s respect.
Authoritarian Parenting Characteristics
Baumrind believed that parents are responsible for socializing their child’s life and teaching their values and culture. How the parents accomplish the same varies dramatically based upon the way and amount of control they attempt to exert on their children.
The authoritarian style exerts strict control. Instead of valuing self-control and teaching children to manage their behaviors, authoritative parents focus more on adherence. Instead of rewarding their children’s positive behaviors, these parents offer feedback in the form of punishments for their misbehaviors.
Here are some of the characteristics of authoritarian parenting:
Demanding, But Not Responsive
Authoritative parents force their children to follow lots of rules and tend to micromanage every aspect of their children’s behaviors and lives, both I home and in public. Moreover, these parents have several unwritten rules, which they expect their kids to follow. Although the children did not receive very little or no instructions about the “rules,” parents expect that the kids are aware of the rules.
Lack of Explanations for Punishments
Parents following this parenting style never give a second thought to resort to corporal punishment, which often involves vigorous behavior. Instead of relying on positive reinforcement, they react swiftly and harshly when their child breaks the rules.
Lack of Warmth or Nurturing
Parents following this type of parenting tend to be harsh, cold, and aloof. Instead of praising and encouraging, they tend to nag or yell at their children. These parents value discipline over fun and expect that to see and not hear their children.
These parents are highly critical and shame their children for not following their rule. Often they use phrases like “How many times do I need to tell you to do the same things?” or “Why can’t you do these right?” they do not focus on building their children’s self-esteem and believe that shaming the kids would motivate them to perform well.
Authoritative parents never trust that their children can make good decisions and never give them much freedom to demonstrate good behavior. Instead of letting their children face natural consequences for their choice, these parents mostly hover on their kids and ensures that kids do not make any mistakes.
Effects of Authoritarian Parenting on Children
Psychologists divide authoritarian parenting effects into three categories- existential, psychological, emotional, and social effects.
Most developmental and clinical psychologists state that children socialized by authoritative parents suffer later in their life from low self-esteem and inferiority issues. Since their parents never value or acknowledge their decision, they feel the same applies to the outside world. In this transactional nature of parenting, a child’s worth receives acknowledgment when they satisfied some of their parents’ expectations or behaves in a specific manner. However, when the kids fail to do so, it reflects on them, which is not good enough and results in a manic need for perfection.
If someone tries showing them affection or lend a hand of friendship, they feel that the people have some personal agenda or expects something from them. These thoughts and activities prevent them from engaging in any relationships since parents fail to disable the possibility of choice and opinions early in their life and fail to recognize their requirements or gut feelings of what they want to do or what they like. Kids are rarely exercising their will or listening to their inner voice.
Since parents either reward or punish their children’s behavior, most kids grow up believing the existence of only the black and white side of the world. Moreover, they fail to see the complexities and confusion present in nature and people. Most kids experience a narrow outlook towards their life. The kids rarely experience their thought process or philosophies of leading their lives. When they grow up, these children stick only to those things that they learn in their childhood without making space for the existence of new views and opinions.
Since children meet with emotional consequences while expressing any strong emotions, they exist in denial and hide their feelings inside and never display or talk about them. Besides, they tend to present a trouble-free, emotionally dead personality. Since parents teach their children that it is bad to express their emotions, they start viewing them as evil persons even later in their life. They unleash their frustrations outwards in anger or implode inwards and experience severe depression, which causes problems in building emotionally intimate relationships later in their life.
The kids remain constantly worried about their behavior and live in perpetual stress of being correct all time. They always feel that an invisible eye watches every move they make and are extremely critical of them. The kids extremely criticize themselves and begin to manifest shame and guilt within themselves.
Children socialized by authoritative parents fail to develop good friendships and long-lasting intimate relations. They tend to see everything based on value and have higher expectations from the other person. The children view physical power as the ultimate tool of success and feel good when someone displays their power over the weak.
Since they thrive in hierarchical behavior, they try to impose the same within their families. Even some kids enjoy breaking the norm and find themselves attached to antisocial behavior and lead their lives by disrespecting all types of authority. They tend to become highly addicted to drugs and substance abuse and involve in juvenile crimes.
Effects on Parents
Styles of parenting and socialization passes down from one generation to the next. Since today’s children become the future parents, they act and behave the same way as their parents, which passes from one generation to the other in the form of culture. In certain cases, kids might grow up realizing the adverse effects of parenting style and strive to change their parenting styles.
Undoubtedly, parenting kids in the right way is challenging, and kids need to follow discipline from time to time. However, doing the right way is more important than if you get it done. Children grow up in the way they undergo socialization, and with the right parenting style, they make you proud. Besides, adopting the right parenting style in the early years make them proud as parents, as they apply the same behavior with their children.