The Smith family exhibits one of the parenting styles most discouraged by parenting psychologists. However, like any other parenting style, it can actually turn out well if done correctly. In fact, the Smith family is one of the most sought-after role models of authoritarian parenting.
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Authoritarian parenting thrives on strict rules and frequent punishment to discourage undesirable behavior. Unfortunately, studies show that the use of negative reinforcement is one of the reasons why children grow up to be poor performers both socially and academically.
Strategies of Authoritarian Parenting Styles as in the Smith Family
- High demands. The parents have many high demands with minimal responsiveness. There are many rules, which are expected to be followed without question. Failure to follow the rules is met with harsh punishment.
- No nurturing. The parents lack warmth and are often cold and harsh. They yell more than talk and order more than discuss. They also offer less physical contact, with fewer hugs and embraces (or none at all).
- No choice. The children have no choice but to follow their parents’ rules, and they have to obey them to the letter.
- No misbehavior. Authoritarian parents do not tolerate misbehavior and definitely do not have time to discuss what is right and what is not. Every instance of misbehavior results in harsh punishment and discouragement.
- No decisions. Children do not make any decisions no matter how personal. Only the parents make the decisions, and the children must follow.
- Less understanding. The parents are less understanding, yell at their children, and tend to expect too much of their children. Consequently, the children lack motivation and are always withdrawn.
Authoritarian Parenting Style Results from the Smith Family
- Children are very obedient and respectful because they grew up with no choice but to obey their parents and had no say themselves.
- Most children suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth because of the constant orders from their parents and because their parents did not promote their confidence.
- The children have poor social skills because they are always alone and withdrawn. They are constantly afraid of being mocked or shamed by others since their parents already yell at and mock them.
- The children are emotionally unstable and suffer from stress, depression, and anxiety. Some easily fall into drugs and substance abuse. They also have a higher risk of juvenile delinquency.
- The children struggle with poor academic performance because of a lack of confidence. Their parents constantly berate them and do not provide guidance, counseling, or assistance.
Authoritarian parents are proud of their children’s blind obedience to their rules. However, psychologists have warned time and time again that if parents want their children to reach their full social and academic potential, authoritarian parenting is not the best parenting style to use. The authoritarian parenting style may work for the Smith family, but that does not mean it will work for others. Parenting is about finding a method that works while caring for the children in the process.
- Darling, Nancy. “Parenting Style and Its Correlates. ERIC Digest.” ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Champaign, IL: ERIC, 1999. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED427896.pdf
- Ang, Rebecca P., and Dion H. Goh. “Authoritarian Parenting Style in Asian Societies: A Cluster-Analytic Investigation.” Contemporary Family Therapy 28, no. 1 (2006): 131–151. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10591-006-9699-y