Authoritative Parenting: An Overview

Authoritative parents believe in developing a close and nurturing relationship with their children while also upholding and maintaining a reasonably high level of expectations and rules or guidelines. While the most difficult to accomplish, an authoritative parenting style is the healthiest and most well-balanced style in which to raise children.

Authoritative parents develop clear and fair behavioral guidelines for their children. These guidelines are age appropriate and flexible, taking into consideration special circumstances, personality styles and changes that might occur. In other words, they are clear and consistent, but not rigid. The Authoritative parent is a good listener and respects that her relationship with her child is a two-way relationship. She may even encourage her children to make a good argument for her to consider before making a final decision on a heated topic. Arbitrary rules have no place in the authoritative household. But in an authoritative household, the parents will always make the final call. The authoritative parent leads by example, realizing that she is a role-model to her children. But the authoritative parent also acknowledges that no one is perfect, least of all himself or his children and is willing to openly apologize when a situation requires it.

The authoritative parent and his children have a warm, friendly, mutually respectful relationship. Even when there are disagreements, they occur in a respectful way. The child in an authoritative household knows she is loved even when she has upset her parents.

The authoritative parent encourages a child’s growing sense of autonomy by slowly increasing the freedoms allowed to the child based on the child’s maturity, responsibility and trustworthiness. An authoritative parent’s goal is to prepare children to live fully autonomous lives upon adulthood.

As a result of the love and mutual respect shown in an authoritative household, the number of conflicts will be minimal. Punishments will be rare. When they are required, punishment will consist mainly of natural and logical consequences.

Are you an authoritative parent?