As soon as you hear the word “authoritative” you may experience some negative connotations. This is because authority can so easily be abused. Unfortunately, most of us have experienced some or other negative aspect of authority that has been wrongly used against us. But authority in itself is very positive, referring to someone who is responsible to look out for the well being of others and to make sure that things run smoothly.
When a parent is fair, kind and firm , their position of authority will be respected, enabling both parent and child to learn and grow in a pleasant and harmonious atmosphere. This is the goal of authoritative parenting. When this style is used consistently there are definitely positive effects and benefits which can be observed and experienced. This article will discuss seven helpful ways that authoritative parenting affects your child.
1. Authoritative parenting gives security and support
Growing up can be scary and bewildering for a little child in the big wide world. That is why they need a place to call home, and parents who provide clear and firm boundaries so that they know what is acceptable and what is not. Children need the security of knowing that mom and dad will always be there for them if they have struggles and questions. When things get tough they know their parents will support them, encourage them and teach them how to think through situations and find a workable solution.
2. Authoritative parenting balances love and discipline
At times this can seem like a juggling act, but authoritative parents aim and strive to set high standards of behaviour and achievement for their children without compromising the loving and nurturing side of their relationship. They seek to be sensitive and understanding towards their children, without sacrificing the consequences for bad behaviour. Authoritative parents do not use harsh punishment, shaming or withdrawal of love to control or manipulate their children. Rather they show respect to their child who is then most likely to reciprocate respectfully, and the balance of love and discipline is accomplished.
3. Authoritative parenting encourages self confidence
Authoritative parents are constantly encouraging their children, pointing out their strengths, helping them to work on their weaknesses and celebrating every victory. Children are motivated to work hard and give of their best as their parents recognize and appreciate their efforts. This breeds self confidence in the child who will not be afraid to try new things and take control of the situations they may find themselves in, knowing what are capable of, and being able to stand up for themselves. They will learn how to be assertive and respectfully say ‘no’ if necessary as this is how they have been taught by observing their authoritative parents.
4. Authoritative parenting teaches flexibility
Life is all about learning and growing along the way, and children who are raised with an authoritative parenting style can appreciate the need for flexibility to adapt to the inevitable changes of life. Parents will learn from their mistakes and be willing to compromise when necessary. They will be constantly evaluating their approach to keep pace with their children’s growth and making sure that their expectations are age appropriate. They will also take into account the individual personality traits of the child, whether they are shy and introverted or sociable and outgoing. As their children progress from babyhood to being a toddler, and then a young child and teenager, authoritative parents will nurture their growing sense of independence until maturity is reached.
5. Authoritative parenting promotes productivity
Unlike the permissive parenting style, authoritative parents are deeply concerned about the results their children achieve. They pay attention to their children’s schoolwork, attending functions and activities at the school and helping in every way possible with their studies. When a child goes through difficult times the authoritative parent is well aware of what is happening and gives their child counsel and support in overcoming the hurdles. They set goals together and celebrate when these are reached successfully. Children raised with this parenting model tend to be productive and perform well in their schoolwork.
6. Authoritative parenting lowers the risk of addictions
Keeping children safe from harmful behaviours and addictions such as drinking alcohol, smoking and taking drugs is become increasingly challenging. However, children who have authoritative parents are less likely to go down the path of addictions because their parents are actively involved in their lives. They know that their parents will notice if there are any changes in their behaviour. They also know that indulging in this kind of anti social behaviour will damage the trusting and respectful relationship that they have with their parents.
7. Authoritative parenting models relationship skills
At the end of the day, authoritative parenting is all about modelling a close and mutual relationship between parent and child. Children are taught through consistent demonstration of valuable relationship skills such as loving listening and showing empathy. Respect is the underlying given for all their interactions. When conflicts arise they are handled in a clear and firm manner, addressing the issue at hand without attacking the child’s personhood and damaging their emotions. Authoritative parents know that they are human too and they don’t hesitate to apologize to their child when they have failed in some way. They allow the child freedom to make their own decisions and thus learn to take responsibility for their actions.
The healthy relationship between authoritative parents and their children is warm, friendly and respectful. Children thrive in this kind of atmosphere where they know that no matter what happens their parents will love and appreciate them.