There are four basic parenting styles. The most effective is the authoritative approach, which leads to the best outcomes in adulthood. The authoritative style teaches children to be resourceful and empathetic towards others. Let’s learn more.
The authoritative parent uses reasoning to help the child understand the outcome of their actions. Authoritative parents are not dictatorial but, rather, they try to understand the child’s viewpoint and explain why their behavior might not be appropriate in a given situation. These parents use positive reinforcement to bring out the desired behavior. The result is a child who does well in school, is resourceful, healthy, and “plays well with others.”
Authoritarian parents also expect a certain type of behavior, but the means is through punishment and force. These parents demand blind obedience, enforcing discipline as would a drill sergeant with young soldiers.
While authoritative parents can also be highly demanding, they are also very responsive to their children’s needs, unlike those who adopt an authoritarian style.
An upbringing by authoritarian parents usually produces an aggressive child, one more prone to depression and anxiety.
Permissive parenting allows the child free rein with little guidance. These may be warm and nurturing parents, but they do not punish bad behavior as authoritative parents do.
The outcome here is a child who doesn’t perform as well in school as one raised by authoritative parents. However, these children do tend to behave better than children raised in an authoritarian style.
The fourth category of parenting style is those parents who have little involvement—emotional or in any other way—with their children. When they do get involved, they are authoritarian in their approach.
These children are worse off in all respects and are statistically more likely to end up in juvenile detention centers or similar facilities.
Why Authoritative Is the Best Parenting Style
The authoritative style is the best of the four approaches. As a result, children brought up this way are more emotionally stable and achieve more success in school and in life.
Authoritative parents exhibit several common characteristics:
- Authoritative parents explain the purpose behind the rules they impose; this leads to more advanced moral reasoning.
- Authoritative parents develop secure attachments with their children through a warm and responsive relationship.
- Authoritative parents have children who are less likely to be involved in drugs and other forms of juvenile delinquency.
- Authoritative parents avoid criticizing their children for intellectual mistakes, which promotes resiliency in problem solving.
- Authoritative parents tend to have children who are warm, helpful, and popular among their peers.
The Take-Away Message About Parenting
Warm, loving parents who explain ideas at the child’s level and use positive reinforcement will be delighted with their children. This represents the authoritative style of parenting.
Do you agree with my analysis? Which do you think is the best parenting style? Let me know in the comments section below.