Authoritative Parenting Style: Warm, responsive, collaborative and high standards.
The authoritative parenting style is about being responsive to the child’s needs while setting and enforcing high standards.
This parenting approach is linked with the best child outcomes among the 4 parenting styles from decades of research.
Preschoolers raised by authoritative parents are more likely to be more mature, more independent. They are more socially skilled and active. They are also more achievement-oriented1.
Older children and adolescents with authoritative parents are more likely to have higher academic success2,3, more school engagement, better social competence and higher self-esteem4. They are also less prone to depression, anxiety, delinquency and drug use5.
Clinical and developmental psychologists, Diana Baumrind, created a model of parenting style based on two dimensions — demandingness and responsivenesss.
Authoritative parents have high maturity demands for their children. They have high standard in behavioral control such as age appropriate behavior or academic achievement. They set limit, monitor and discipline their kids to achieve these goals.
For example, authoritative parents demand their children to do well in school by providing a rational explanation such as “It allows you to succeed as an adult.”
They engage in open dialogue with the children regarding difficulties in school.
They also supervise the studying and attending parent-teacher conferences.
They can be more involved by volunteering in school.
They discipline when their children neglect their homework, but they use non-punitive measure such as positive discipline to do so.
Authoritative parents open-minded and collaborative. They use open communication, explanations and reasoning to foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion in their children. They respect children as rational individuals. They are attuned, nurturing, sensitive and supportive of their children’s emotional and developmental needs. When authoritative parents discipline, they use non-punitive measures.
For example, authoritaritative parents show affection to their children.
They provide emotional support6 in times of disappointment or failure.
They encourage their children to participate in social events and extra-curricular activities.
They are firm but kind when disciplining. They may be strict, but they are not mean or punitive.
Other Types Of Parenting Styles
The three other types of parenting styles are authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting and neglectful parenting.
Authoritarian parenting – high demandingness and low responsiveness.
- Like authoritarian parenting, authoritative parents have high standards.
- Unlike authoritarian parenting, authoritative parents do not require complete compliance or blind obedience from their children.
Permissive parenting – low demandingness and high responsiveness.
- Like permissive parenting, authoritative parents are warm and nurturing.
- Unlike permissive parenting, authoritative parents do not allow children to get away with bad behavior.
Neglectful parenting – low demandingness and low responsiveness.
- Unlike neglectful parenting, authoritative parents pay a lot of attention to their children’s well being.
How To Apply The Authoritative Definition To Everyday Parenting
What does it mean to be an authoritative parent? How to become one?
Here are the things you can do to become an authoritative parent7
- firmly enforce set standards
- favor firm and kind discipline over punitive, forceful measures
- encourage verbal give and take
- share with the child the reasoning behind their rules
- listen to the children’s objections when they disagrees
- discuss and reconcile different preferences
- do not regard themselves as the infallible, end-all be-all authorities
- value autonomy and disciplined conformity over blind obedience
- try to earn, not demand, children’s respect
One example of authoritative parenting is teaching respect to kids by modeling instead of forcing.
One Parenting Style For Everyone
Each child is different. So how can one parenting style work for everyone?
Authoritative parenting has been found to link to the best outcomes because these parents impose firm limits while being sensitive to the children’s needs.
Children with responsive parents tend to develop secure attachment.
At the same time, high maturity standard prevents them from stepping over boundaries.
Parenting style is the emotional climate in which parents raise their children.
Parenting practice is specific action that parents employ in their parenting.
Authoritative parents achieve a balance between too little behavioral control (permissive) and too much psychological control (authoritarian) by choosing different parenting practices that are better fits to their child.
It’s not an all-or-none proposition. It’s somewhere in the middle to achieve the best outcomes.
Baumrind ,1967 ↩
Steinberg et al., 1992 ↩
Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior, Child Development. By Baumrind, D., 1966 ↩
Baumrind, 1971; Parish & McCluskey, 1992 ↩
Steinberg et al., 1995 ↩
Maccoby and Martin, 1983 ↩