Authoritarian parenting style

This is the "because I told you so" parent who is likely to degrade a child and ignore the child’s point of view.

January 19, 2017 - Author: Tracy Trautner, Michigan State University Extension

There are a number of negative side effects to this type of parenting.
There are a number of negative side effects to this type of parenting.

Authoritarian parenting is extremely strict. Parents expect kids to follow the rules with no discussion or compromising. Parents use this approach for many reasons. Many choose this style because of their nationality, culture or ethical backgrounds dictate it. Also, it may be the way they were raised and don’t know any other way. Finally, they believe ruling with an iron fist is the best way to keep kids in line and under control.

This parenting style involves:

  • Having strict rules that must be followed. Children are punished if rules are not followed. Punishment is usually harsh and punitive. It can become abusive, physically and emotionally.
  • Orders that are to be followed, often without explanation. “Because I said so!”
  • Parents that feel that obedience equals love.
  • Open communication is generally not an option in this style of parenting.
  • There is typically no give and take, and will exert complete and total control over the family.

This type of parenting doesn’t work. Boundaries and expectations are healthy and recommended, but need to be balanced with love, warmth and respect for the child.

The negative side effects to this type of parenting include:

  • Children are aggressive, but can also be socially inept, shy and cannot make their own decisions.
  • Children in these families have poor self-esteem, are poor judges of character and will rebel against authority figures when they are older.
  • Children will model the behavior shown to them by their parents while with their peers and as future parents themselves.
  • Children rarely learn to think on their own.
  • Children have a difficult time managing their anger and are very resentful.

This style is low in parental responsiveness and high in parental demandingness. Authoritarian parents are not very emotional or affectionate, and critical of their children if they fail to meet their expectations. Rules should always be used to conduct behavior that is desired. When a child breaks a rule, it should be an opportunity to teach a life lesson and not be punished because they didn’t follow the rules. Unfortunately, strong punishment leads to more misbehavior, rebellion and results in constant power struggles.

This type of parenting does not support positive parenting. In fact, research shows that children with authoritarian parents perform more poorly than kids with permissive parents. For a better parenting option, learn more about the authoritative type parenting style that allows children to be independent thinkers, self-regulate their emotions and are successful, happy and successful. Authoritative parents show high levels of warmth and control. For more information on each parenting style, click on one of the styles below:

  • The authoritarian parent. This is the "because I told you so" parent who is likely to degrade a child and ignore the child’s point of view.
  • The authoritative parent. This is a mom or dad who sets carefully defined limits for children, the one who is a good role model and praises children for their efforts.
  • The permissive parent. This is the parent who is afraid to set limits on children or believes a child has to be true to his or her own nature.
  • The overprotective parent. This is the parent who wants to protect their children from harm, hurt and pain, unhappiness, bad experiences and rejection, hurt feelings, failure and disappointments.

For more information about child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

Tags: caregiving, early childhood development, family, msu extension, social and emotional development


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