What Is Authoritative Parenting?

5 mins read

Authoritative parenting is child-centered; the parents are close with their children, maintain high expectations for behavior and performance, and adhere to a strict schedule and discipline. In authoritative parenting, parents have full control of their children’s upbringing. They set certain standards to ensure that the children meet a high standard of emotional, spiritual, and physical support.

Authoritative parents give their children the right resources and support them in their endeavors to succeed. They also set limits, execute fair discipline, listen to their children, and provide love and warmth.

Authoritative parenting is considered the most effective parenting style. Children raised with authoritative parenting tend to have strong self-regulation skills, a positive attitude, and self-confidence.

A Brief History of Authoritative Parenting

Diana Baumrind is a developmental psychologist known for her research on parenting styles. Her research involved preschool-age children. She focused on three different types of parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive.

The three parenting styles were, in turn, based on two aspects of parenting: parental responsiveness and parental demandingness. Parental responsiveness refers to how much parents respond to their children’s needs. Parental demandingness refers to how much parents expect mature and responsible behavior from their children. Authoritative parenting requires both high responsiveness and high demandingness.

Authoritative control may effectively generate in the child, behavior which while well socialized is also wilful and independent. —Diana Baumrind, University of California, Berkeley

The Characteristics of Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parents encourage children to reason and work independently under high expectations. According to Diana Baumrind, the following are some of the characteristics of authoritative parents:

  • They encourage independence.
  • They listen to their children.
  • They place limits, consequences, and expectations on their children’s behavior.
  • They allow their children to express opinions.
  • They administer discipline in a fair and consistent way based on disciplinary rules and guidelines.
  • They express warmth and nurture their children.
  • They encourage their children to discuss their options.

The Effects of Authoritative Parenting

Baumrind believes that the authoritative parenting style is the best parenting approach. Her research shows that the children of authoritative parents:

  • Have good emotional control and regulation.
  • Develop good social skills.
  • Tend to have happier dispositions.
  • They are self-confident about their ability to learn new skills.

Why Authoritative Parenting Is the Best Parenting Style

Authoritative parents strive to teach and show their children good emotional understanding and control so that their children learn how to manage their emotions and how to show more empathy toward others. They allow their children to act independently so that their children are able to accomplish tasks on their own. It also helps children to be more responsible.

Authoritative parents also act as role models for their children. They expect their children to behave the same way they behave. Consistent rules and discipline show children what is expected of them. In addition, authoritative parents don’t use punitive punishment on their children. They are strict but kind when disciplining their children, which encourages children to be honest and prevents aggressive behavior in children.

Nevertheless, authoritative parents are always supportive. They get involved in their children’s schooling by monitoring their homework and volunteering for school-related projects and endeavors. Supportive involvement has a great impact on adolescent academic achievement. According to research, “Parental involvement is much more likely to promote adolescent school success when it occurs in the context of an authoritative home environment.”

Authoritative Parenting
Authoritative parenting is considered the most effective parenting style. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


  • Baumrind D. “Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior.” Child Development 37, no. 4 (1966):887–907. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org
  • Steinberg L, Lamborn SD, Dornbusch SM, Darling N. “Impact of Parenting Practices on Adolescent Achievement: Authoritative Parenting, School Involvement, and Encouragement to Succeed.” Child Development 63, no. 5 (1992): 1266–1281. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com
  • “Diana Baumrind’s (1966) Prototypical Descriptions of 3 Parenting Styles.” Developmental Psychology. Accessed June 26, 2018. http://www.devpsy.org/teaching

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