What Is Authoritative Parenting And How Does It Affect Children?

Updated May 31, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC

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What kind of parent are you? Do you even know? If we were to ask whether you're a strict or lenient parent, you could probably tell us. You could probably answer whether you're a good or bad parent, too (though that's a pretty subjective answer). But do you know what authoritative parenting is? How about authoritarian? Or helicopter parenting? All of these are different parenting styles, and they each have a different impact on how your child grows up and the type of person they become, so let's take a look at the first of these, authoritative parenting.

What Is Authoritative Parenting?

The first thing to look at is what authoritative parenting even is. How can you know if you're doing it (or if you should be doing it) if you don't even know what it is? Authoritative parenting is considered a healthy approach to parenting that benefits your child throughout their life. There are rules, limits, and consequences with this parenting style, but there are also more opportunities for the child to be heard and considered in making and enforcing those rules.

In this parenting, an open line of communication is created between the parent and the child. When rules are set, the child's opinion and input are considered, and any rules are explained along with consequences. When rules are broken, the consequences are fair and consistent. Even more important, the child is given a chance to explain or discuss the rule-breaking before consequences are handed out. If the situation warrants, consequences may be mitigated because of the discussion.

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The child receives warmth, nurture, and love from the parent without the necessity of good behavior or rule-following to get it. It's important to note that the child understands that they will receive love and warmth from their parents no matter their authoritative parenting behavior. The attention they want is not tied to the behavior they engage in or follow the prescribed rules. These children understand that they are always loved and cared for, no matter what else happens.

The Benefits For Your Children

So, just what does it mean for your child to be raised by an authoritative parent? It means that they are more apt to be happy, healthy, and emotionally developed than peers with other parenting styles. They tend to express more control over their emotions and are better able to regulate those emotions. This helps them to do better not only in school but anywhere else in their lives as well. They do better at making and keeping relationships (both friendships and true relationships) and tend to do better in work and other social settings. Overall, their social skills are strong and well developed because they were nurtured early on.

These children also tend to have more self-confidence in expressing themselves and trying new things. They are more independent and have a stronger sense of their individuality. When a change occurs in their lives, they are better equipped to handle it and adapt to those changes. When it comes to making friends, they do quite well, and they learn how to make decisions on their own and even have a strong sense of how to solve their problems. This level of strength continues to grow as well.

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Because these children are encouraged to do good for the sake of doing good and to follow the rules without fear of losing love or affection, if they don't, they are more likely to do so. They are encouraged to give feedback about rules and punishments. They are encouraged to explain themselves and the situations they find themselves in, work independently, and reason out things that happen in their lives. They are encouraged to express themselves, and all of these things help make them well-rounded overall, leading to dramatic improvements in their overall lives.

The Drawbacks For Your Children

Okay, so we've talked a lot about the benefits out there for children raised by authoritative parents. Now it's time for us to talk about the drawbacks, right? It's time for us to look at the negative aspects of these parents when they raise their children. Well, we'd love to tell you all about the drawbacks, except that research hasn't found any. We don't know what kind of drawbacks there might be because we haven't seen any evidence. All we can see are happy, healthy, and well-rounded children.

If you're determined to look for some drawback, then maybe the fact that the children are so independent could mean that they get a little too off on their own or maybe tend to grow up a little too fast for their parent's preference. Maybe they are encouraged to discuss rules and punishments means that they may be a little more willing to break them (or at least bend them) because they know that they have more opportunities to get out of the punishment. But all in all, there seems to be very little negative to say about authoritative parenting and how it helps children grow and develop.

Getting Help For You And Your Children

Are you unsure about how you've been raising your children? Maybe you don't know what parenting style you've been using, or maybe you're not sure how to change your current parenting style to get a healthier one for your family. If that's the case, you want to seek out some professional help to make sure you're doing what's best for everyone. It might help you and them to create a better, stronger, and much healthier relationship at the same time.

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Getting help is not an admission of failure. It doesn't mean that you've done something wrong or that you are a bad parent. It means that you love your child enough and you value them enough that you want to make sure you're doing everything you possibly can to help them. It means that you're willing to work hard yourself to make things easier and more positive for them, and that's something worth putting a little effort into, right? Like the ones at Regain, talking to a professional could be the key to everything you and your children are looking for.

If you're having difficulty with your parenting style and looking to make some changes, you may also want to have your child start talking to a professional. Making dramatic changes in their life, like the ones that come from changing your entire parenting style, can be a big change, and big changes can be difficult, no matter how old you are. By allowing them to talk to someone about those changes, you're going to be setting them up for more success as you make them. Keep in mind that this parenting style requires you to be open and discuss things with your child.

Your child deserves your best. No parent would say that their child deserves less than their absolute best or that their child doesn't deserve to have a happy and healthy childhood. You, as a parent, want to take care of your child, and you want to make sure that your child has a great life and a great childhood. A positive parenting style is most definitely going to improve that childhood. Talking with a professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, will be an important step in that direction. Just take the initiative to help your children and yourself along the way.

All About Regain

Regain is a great place for you to meet a therapist that you can feel comfortable with. You want to make sure that you have someone you can open up to, and that's not always as easy as you might think. Trying to find someone who lives in your area you're also comfortable with is difficult and time-consuming. But if you could find someone online, someone that could be located anywhere in the country, that would make things easier, right? Well, with Regain, you actually can, and that opens up your options a great deal.

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With ReGain, you get to connect with professionals from all over the country. Then, you get to find someone that you feel comfortable with. Once you've done that, you'll be able to start setting up appointments and meeting with them, but it's a whole lot easier than you might have thought because you'll be able to meet entirely online. That means no more canceling at the last minute because of weather or vacation or a business trip. You can connect with your therapist from anywhere that you have an internet connection.


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