Parenting Styles


Although authoritative parenting and authoritarian parenting sound similar, there are key differences, mainly that authoritative parents are demanding, yet responsive to their children’s needs. Authoritative parents hold their children to high expectations but also are willing to discuss reasons for their actions with their children and answer their questions. They are more in tune with their children’s feelings and encourage their children to think for themselves. Studies show that this leads to the best outcomes for children.

You might be an authoritative parent if you:

  • Set high standards for your children, but will not attach harsh punishments like authoritarian parents.
  • Are very involved in your children’s upbringing, being very responsive and emotionally supportive.
  • Have consequences for bad behavior, but are not as strict and are willing to talk to your child about the rules so they understand the reasons for them.
  • Emphasize thinking and problem solving in your children and will encourage your children to have their own opinions.
  • Believe that parenting is a balance of give and take and that to be effective, you have to listen to your children.

How children are affected:

  • Children tend to develop healthy relationships and are less likely to internalize their problems, instead dealing with them in a healthy way.
  • These children also are less likely to behave in dangerous and self-harming ways such as drug and alcohol use or crime.
  • Benefits are also seen in school, where children are self-reliant and find more success in the classroom academically and socially.
  • Other benefits include a decrease in aggression.
  • Children are well-rounded, have a healthy sense of curiosity and are also independent.

If you are an authoritative parent, then you are on the right track! It is largely agreed that children of authoritative parents have the best outcomes in adolescence and adulthood. Continue to listen to your children and try to meet their individual needs while still maintaining balanced parental control.