Child, Parenting

The authoritative parenting style – Clear rules and respect for the child

The authoritative parenting style

Most parents wonder what is the best way to raise their child to be a happy and successful person and therefore want to use the best parenting methods or styles. Unfortunately, there is no general recipe, because education depends on many factors and the specialist literature now knows numerous methods and styles of education. One of them is the authoritative parenting style, which is a theoretical concept, but many elements of which can be transferred to everyday life in a targeted manner.

Authoritative parenting style – what is it?

The social philosopher Max Horkheimer described the behavior of people who demand authority from others as authoritative in his 1936 essay “Authority and Family”. However, the term authoritative parenting style was coined later by the American psychologist Diana Baumrind, who speaks of “authorative parenting”. Starting in the 1960s, Baumrind examined the effects of parenting styles on the development of children and placed the authoritative parenting style between the authoritarian and the permissive parenting style. While authoritarian upbringing leaves the children little freedom, permissive parents are too yielding and leave the child too much to himself when it comes to decisions.

An authoritative parenting style is viewed by many psychologists and sociologists as a healthy middle ground between an authoritarian and a permissive parenting style. As a theoretical term, it is still discussed controversially in the specialist media, especially since researchers in different countries come to different conclusions. In addition, the term does not say anything about the choice of educational resources or the methods. Put simply, one can assume that parents and educators with an authoritative style of upbringing set the direction and set limits, but give their children sufficient freedom of action and personal responsibility.


The authoritative parenting style in the family

In contrast to the democratic style of parenting, authoritative parents set rules and norms and set flexible boundaries. These are clearly communicated to the children and, in contrast to authoritarian upbringing, the children have their own freedom of action. How big this is depends mainly on the age of the child. School children can definitely be given more leeway than small children, who still have to be protected from many dangers. Parents are constantly challenged to question the setting of boundaries. Instead of pronouncing prohibitions, it is better if the child is given the freedom to discover and understand the world. For example, the development of a small child is more beneficial if rooms are made safe for small children than if the child is constantly restricted by prohibitions.

The authoritative parenting style is flexible and characterized by the parents’ affection and attention to their children. Parents who raise their children authoritatively encourage them without overburdening them. Although a parenting style does not specify parenting methods, it can be seen that authoritative parents in western countries work a lot with praise and the teaching of values. While authoritarian parents would put pressure on their child if their grades were bad, for example, authoritative parents value explaining to their children the importance and purpose of good academic performance.

Implementation of the authoritative parenting style in everyday life

Authoritative parenting is easy to put into practice when parents follow certain principles. In particular:

  • Establish clear rules that are clear and understandable for the child and explain them.
  • Question the established rules regularly with regard to changing circumstances and conditions.
  • Make sure you follow the rules consistently and explain to the child the consequences of breaking the rules. (Example: risk of injury, loss of things, consequences for other people…)
  • Use praise instead of punishment.
  • Treat the child with love, esteem and respect and take their opinions and wishes into account.
  • Guide your child and give him security.
  • Give the child sufficient freedom of choice so that it does not hinder its development but encourages independence. (Example: child decides [with] what to wear)

Effects of an authoritative parenting style

An authoritative upbringing style should encourage children to act independently. It is considered beneficial for psychosocial development. Psychologists and sociologists assume that children who are brought up in an authoritative manner can develop high self-esteem, great independence and good social skills. They are also considered to be team players and can fit into existing social structures. You are willing to compromise and able to accept the opinions of others. According to various studies, children brought up in an authoritative upbringing style also show less tendency to mental disorders and behavioral problems as well as to abuse drugs.


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