Authoritative Parenting Style: What, How and Why?

Authoritative Parenting Style

A child’s relationship with their parents is unique to every household. What you do to achieve your child’s upbringing will influence their behaviour, reactions, and thoughts through their childhood, adolescence, and ultimately to adulthood. By knowing the possible parenting styles, you can better understand the type of parent you want to be.

Child psychologist Diana Baumrind has coined three types of parenting after tedious sessions of detailed research on multiple subjects. Later in the study, fellow child psychologists Maccoby and Martin suggested adding a fourth parenting style. All of these factors affect the behaviour of a child differently.

The four parenting styles are authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting, and uninvolved parenting. In this article, you will learn about authoritative parenting.

Most children grow up thinking that their parents are the most authoritative parents ever, and the guardians of all their friends and acquaintances are much ‘cooler’. If you think your parents were authoritative, we’ve got news for you- you might just be proven wrong after reading this article.

So, what is Authoritative Parenting actually? Let’s understand the concept.

The question of what is authoritative parenting has a simple answer. We can define an authoritative parent as someone who has been recognized for being kind and nurturing, and caring but still has the ability to establish rules for their children. That is to say; they are not exactly permissive.

Authoritative parenting includes the following characteristics: 

  1. Their rules are reasonable, and they enforce them when the rules meant to be followed by the child are broken.
  2. Whenever possible, the parents consider the child’s wishes and needs, but ultimately their decision is final.
  3. An authoritative parent has a very high level of trust in their child and expects them to meet high standards.
  4. They take personal responsibility for their child’s actions.
  5. They are willing to listen to their children when they have a problem and get them the help they need.
  6. They have high expectations of their child and make sure that it is clear that the standards they expect are fair and reasonable.
  7. The parent can healthily share feelings with their children, which can be difficult for an authoritative parent in several cases.
  8. The parents recognize their limitations and can ask for help from others when necessary.
  9. The parent can be tough on their child without being overly harsh.
  10. They can believe that their children have great potential and can reach it without putting them down or demeaning them in any way.
  11. The parent treats the child with respect at all times, regardless of how the child acts or dresses, no matter what age they are.

It is essential to set high expectations and be attentive when parents adapt to authoritative parenting. Baumrind explains that parents should teach their children assertiveness, social responsibility, self-regulation, and cooperation.

Children of authoritative parents tend to become independent, self-reliant, and self-regulatory over a time period when they combine expectation with the assurance that their parents will always have their back.

Now that you know what it means let’s understand how does authoritative parenting affect the child?

As with any parenting style, the effects of authoritative parenting are profound.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of authoritative parenting.


Children who authoritative parents empower show greater responsibility for their decisions. Typically, peer pressure does not affect these children. These children are naturally independent, confident, and savvy in making decisions, making them capable of assuming leadership positions.

They develop resilience, which enables them to overcome any adversity they are made to face and recover. This technique not only increases self-esteem but also increases confidence. When parents respect their children by granting them certain freedoms, their children are more likely to respect and empathize with others.

Their social skills are enhanced, and they get along well with their teachers, classmates, and anyone who falls within the radius of their social circle. Their authoritative parents support children.

Parents are always available to supervise children’s homework or provide all the resources to help them succeed in school. However, they would never complete the task on behalf of their kids in the name of helping.


The theory of authoritative parenting is regarded as the most successful approach in the world of psychology. The key to resolving a problem is often finding a balance between two paths in life, and the same concept certainly holds here.

Teenagers typically express anger, apathy, and defiance during their growing years. A parent concerned about properly raising a child may find these phases particularly difficult, mainly because authoritative parents cultivate high expectations of their children and strive to raise them well.

Authoritative parenting style being a parenting style that essentially focuses on freedom and discipline can be more challenging and time-consuming since it demands a delicate balance. Before finding the strategies that work best for their children and themselves, parents are likely to undergo quite a lot of periods of trial and error.

So, what is an authoritative leadership style?

Authoritative leadership is a style of management in which the leader is entrusted with complete control. An authoritative leader puts forth the agenda and goals, evaluates the procedures, and supervises all the work and progress with close to zero help from those working under or with them.

The most effective authoritative leaders inspire their workers toward collective achievements and goals by inspiring them to pursue their directions at every stage of their work process, ultimately leading them to success.

Authoritative leadership comprises four types-

  1. Intimidation
  2. Reflection
  3. Adaption
  4. Reaction

Authoritative Parenting vs Authoritarian Parenting: The simple yet confusing difference.

Again a question that needs to be clearly explained: what is authoritarian parenting and authoritative parenting?

Let us do a comparative study of authoritative and authoritarian styles of parenting with an example of authoritative parenting. The same example will be parallelly explained in the light of authoritarian parenting.

Say, their school teachers had called the parents of two kids because they were caught skipping classes. One of the two families follows the authoritative parenting style, and the others have adopted the authoritarian style. How the parents react to the situation would showcase the difference between the two styles of parenting.

The child with authoritative parents will receive a fair punishment fit for the nature of the offense. They might get grounded for weeks, and their parents might ask them what made them skip the classes, how and why it was wrong for them to do so. At the end of the day, the parents encourage their child not to repeat such behaviour in the future.

On the other hand, the consequences faced by the kid with authoritarian parents might seem drastic and different and, on some level, cruel. They might get yelled at or get beaten up by their parents. Going out of their house with friends, TV privileges- all these might be barred and used against them as punishment.

This brings us to the next section.

Why is the authoritative parenting style the best? 

As role models, authoritative parents demonstrate the behaviours they expect their children to exhibit and abide by. Consequently, their children are more likely to adapt and emulate these behaviours.

Children will also know what to expect when parents are consistent with rules and discipline. Parents who exhibit good emotional control tend to possess these traits, which can be passed on to the children. This way, they enrich their children’s understanding of others and their ability to manage emotions.

An authoritative parent characteristically pays heed to their children and is always there to answer when the children have any questions. In addition to the expectations they have for their children, they provide regular guidance, interest, and support. Children who fail to meet expectations are nurtured and forgiven by their parents rather than punished.

All these positive factors result in their kids being mentally, physically, emotionally and morally enriched human beings.

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