Authoritative Essay

Parenting can be very difficult at times, but also rewarding other times. Children are a blessing and everyone has their own way of raising their children. Every set of parents has their own expectations, ways of discipline, setting rules and the place they hope their child will someday make it; the person they hope their kid will become.

While authoritative and authoritarian are both parenting styles that will raise your children to know what is right and what is wrong, authoritarian parents take time to relate to their children to help them make the right decisions for themselves, while authoritative parents resort to punishments and force right and wrong on their children. There are three main types of parenting styles but when it comes to two in particular, authoritative and authoritarian, one is all about harsh punishment while the other is about talking it through.

When it comes to punishing children, these two styles have two very different ways of teaching their children lessons. Authoritative parents generally like to sit down and talk it out. They will try to understand why there child did what they did and explain to them why it was unacceptable. A lot of times, when parents can stay calm and use the phrase, “I am not mad but very disappointed in your actions and the decision you made,” it tends to make the child feel worse and think about what they have done. There will also be consequences, such as losing a privilege or maybe a grounding of some type.

On the other hand, authoritarians can sometimes lose their cool and jump straight to a spanking or physical punishment. When they can keep their calm and do not jump straight to this, it can sometimes end in screaming or a long time out session. For example, if the children are fighting over something the authoritative parents might tell them if they can take turns or share then they can continue using that toy, but if not then they will have to play something else. Whereas the authoritarian will simply take it away and tell them that maybe next time they will learn not to fight.

This generally seems to make children angrier than understanding and can sometimes lead to lashing out and other times just lead to them being afraid of making mistakes and afraid of their parents’ altogether. In all parents there is a fine line of expectations that are made clear at an early age and progress and change into different expectations as the children get older. All children should know and understand their expectations and know what rules are to be followed, but sometimes children use their bad judgment and don’t listen or just fall short of what is expected at times.

This is normal for children of all ages. Authoritative parents make expectations clear just as well as authoritarian parents; however they handle what is expected a little differently. They know children will test limits at times or maybe just not understand what is expected of them or why, and this parenting style allows questioning about what is expected and why it is expected. They are open to explanation and understanding, although these expectations will not change. They are also good about working with their children to achieve what is expected and stay focused and out of trouble.

On the other hand, authoritarian parents are opposite because they do not feel they need to explain to their children why they expect what they do of them or why a rule is the way it is. Like the authoritative parents the rules will not bend or change but they also will not be given emphasis to either. When the expectations are not met these types of parents are usually overcome with anger, like most parents would be, but it will result in one of the punishments mentioned previously. They can be similar in some way but when it comes to how things are gone about it is mostly opposite.

Every household will have a set of rules and things that should be followed, such as, maybe a curfew, bed time or certain chores that must be done before fun can be had. In an authoritative household, these rules are discussed and made clear. Whenever there is a change, it is talked about as well. They let their children know the rules. These parents also try to keep the relationship open to the point where their children learn to make decisions and have good judgment on their own, in other words, prepare them for the real world.

In the authoritarian household the rules are also specific and made clear, but instead of them letting their children learn for themselves and trusting their judgment, they set punishments for these rules being broken to ensure they won’t be broken. They also don’t give the reasoning. It is more of a, “because I said so,” manner. In the authoritative style, children learn to think for themselves and rise above the influence of others and can make decisions wisely. The other children may try to rebel because they get tired of the way their parents are or just may be too afraid so they don’t have much of a social life to begin with.

Both styles can teach the kids what is needed for life, but the authoritative style usually seems to sink in with the children more, especially when it comes to teenagers. While some parents may find it easier to make threats and push punishments onto their children to somewhat scare them and to get them to listen and “behave,” other parents find joy in instilling good judgment in their kids by talking them through things and establishing expectations through setting good examples and following them themselves.

Every parent wants the best for their child and every parent has their own way of making the best. Parenting is difficult and can be stressful. However, maintaining their cool to explain things to your child does seem to be having a better outcome for the child. They will be comfortable making mistakes they can learn from, rather than feeling like they cannot make a mistake at all.

The authoritative parenting style: Warmth, rationality, and high standards

An evidence-based guide

© 2010 - 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved

What is the authoritative parenting style?

Frequently hailed as the best way to raise kids, it's an approach that emphasizes sensitivity, reasoning, setting limits, and being emotionally responsive.

It's common among many educated, middle class families, and linked with superior child outcomes throughout the world.

Kids raised by authoritative parents are more likely to become independent, self-reliant, socially accepted, academically successful, and well-behaved.

They are less likely to report depression and anxiety, and less likely to engage in antisocial behavior like delinquency and drug use.

And research suggests that having at least one authoritative parent can make a big difference (Fletcher et al 1999).

But what exactly sets authoritative parenting apart?

How do experts decide if you're an authoritative parent, or practicing some other parenting style? And why, exactly, do researchers think authoritativeness breeds success?

Here is an overview of the evidence.

The authoritative parenting style: The original definition

The authoritative parenting style was first defined by Diane Baumrind, who proposed a new system for classifying parents.

Baumrind's idea was to address how parents control their kids (Baumrind 1966).

According to Baumrind's model, there are three major approaches to parental control:

  • Permissive parents are reluctant to impose rules and standards, preferring to let their kids regulate themselves.
  • Authoritative parents take a different, more moderate approach that emphasizes setting high standards, being nurturing and responsive, and showing respect for children as independent, rational beings. The authoritative parent expects maturity and cooperation, and offers children lots of emotional support.
This combination distinguishes the authoritative parenting style from both authoritarianism and permissiveness.

Like permissive parents, authoritative parents are responsive, nurturing, and involved. But unlike permissive parents, authoritative parents don't let their kids get away with bad behavior.

Authoritative parents take a firm stand, expecting their kids to behave responsibly.

Like authoritarian parents, authoritative parents enforce rules. But unlike authoritarian parents, authoritative parents show high levels of warmth, and they emphasize the reasons for rules.

When kids make mistakes or misbehave, they attempt to reason with their children.

Authoritative parents encourage a verbal give-and-take, and explain the consequences of good and bad behavior.

Authoritative parents are also less likely to control their children through harsh or arbitrary punishments, shaming, or the withdrawal of love.

Put another way, the authoritative parenting style reflects a balance between two values--freedom and responsibility.

Authoritative parents want to encourage independence in their kids. But they also want to foster self-discipline, maturity, and a respect for others.

Some researchers sum it up this way: Authoritative parents are both highly responsive and very demanding (Maccoby and Martin 1983).

That's the classic definition of the authoritative parenting style. And--using this definition--researchers have identified the authoritative parents throughout the world. But there is some variation. It's not clear that authoritative parenting takes the same form in all cultures.

Cross-cultural variation: The authoritative parenting style isn't always about democracy

In Western countries like Australia and the United States, authoritative parenting includes certain democratic practices--like taking children's preferences into account when making family plans, or encouraging kids to express their own, possibly divergent, opinions.

In other places, these democratic elements may be absent. For instance, a cross-cultural study of parenting styles in four countries found that otherwise authoritative parents living in China and Russia did not take their kids’ preferences into account when making family plans. Nor did Chinese parents encourage kids to voice their own opinions--not when they disagreed with those of the parents (Robinson et al 1996).

But one key trait--reasoning with kids--was found in all four countries (Robinson et al 1997). It seems that explaining the reasons for rules, and talking with kids who misbehave, is a widespread practice.

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