Parents go through a lot when they raise their children. The National Parents’ Day, observed on every fourth Sunday of July, celebrate the efforts and contributions of proud parents in their children’s lives. On this day, let us talk about authoritative parenting style and how it affects a child.
Health Shots consulted Dr Rituparna Ghosh, Consultant Psychology, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai to know about the pros and cons of authoritative parenting style.
What is authoritative style of parenting?
Authoritative parenting is a parenting style that is characterised by an approach of setting rules and expectations. The parents are also responsive to their child’s needs and emotions. Dr Ghosh says it is considered to be a healthy and effective parenting style that promotes positive child development. Parents who adopt an authoritative style are firm and consistent in their discipline, but also supportive and nurturing towards their children.
Benefits of authoritative parenting style
There are benefits associated with the authoritative parenting style. Here are some of the key advantages:
1. Social and emotional development
Authoritative parenting fosters healthy social and emotional development in children. By providing warmth, support, and consistent discipline, children raised with this style tend to develop strong self-esteem, self-confidence, and a positive self-image, says the expert. They also tend to have better emotional regulation skills and display higher levels of empathy and social competence.
2. Academic success
Authoritative parenting has been linked to better academic performance in children. The combination of setting clear expectations, providing guidance, and nurturing independence encourages children to develop strong study habits, motivation, and a love for learning. They are more likely to excel academically and achieve higher grades.
3. Autonomy and responsibility
Authoritative parents strike a balance between establishing rules and granting autonomy to their children. This style allows children to develop decision-making skills, problem-solving abilities, and a sense of responsibility for their actions. They learn to make choices within a supportive framework, fostering independence and self-reliance.
4. Positive communication and relationship building
Authoritative parents prioritise open and respectful communication with their children. This leads to the development of a strong parent-child bond built on trust and understanding. Children raised with this style feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and emotions, knowing that their parents will listen and provide guidance.
5. Reduced behaviour problems
Children raised with authoritative parenting are less likely to engage in behaviour problems such as aggression or defiance. The clear expectations, consistent discipline and nurturing environment provided by authoritative parents help children to internalise appropriate behaviour and develop self-control, says the expert.
6. Adaptability and resilience
Authoritative parenting style promotes adaptability and resilience in children. By encouraging independence, problem-solving and decision-making, children learn to navigate challenges and setbacks effectively. They develop coping skills, flexibility, and a positive attitude towards overcoming obstacles, which contributes to their overall resilience in different areas of life.
Side effects of authoritative parenting
Authoritative parenting style is generally associated with positive outcomes for children. However, it is important to note that no parenting style is perfect, and there can still be potential side effects. Here are some of them:
1. High expectations
Authoritative parents often have high expectations for their children’s behaviour and achievements. While this can motivate children to strive for success, it might also create pressure and anxiety if the child feels unable to meet those expectations. This can lead to stress or a fear of failure.
2. Perceived lack of autonomy
Although authoritative parents encourage independence and decision-making, some children might perceive the boundaries and rules set by their parents as restrictive. This can make them feel less autonomous or hinder their sense of freedom compared to children raised in more permissive parenting styles.
While authoritative parents are all for open communication and negotiation, disagreements or conflicts can still arise between parents and children. These conflicts can occur when the child challenges or questions the established rules, leading to potential power struggles or arguments.
4. Overdependence on parental approval
As authoritative parents provide guidance and support, children might develop a strong reliance on their parents’ approval and validation. This can potentially limit their ability to make decisions independently or seek validation from other sources as they grow older, says Dr Ghosh.
Due to the emphasis on high standards and achievement, children raised with authoritative parenting might develop perfectionistic tendencies. They might become overly focused on meeting expectations and have difficulty accepting failure or mistakes. This can lead to undue stress and self-imposed pressure.
There is no best parenting style as such. But parents should adopt a parenting style that maintains a balance in the disciplinarian ways. Be tough, but never be rough with your child, spend time with them, be attentive to what they say, be generous with praise and have realistic expectations.