• in between permissive and authoritarian
• based on reason
• permits independence but values obedience
• imposes regulation, but allows discussion
• firm control
• balanced with discussion and reasoning
• promotes independence
• warm and loving
• Parent sets limits and permits choices within limits
• Parent encourages independence and respects the child
• Parent expects the child to contribute and gives responsibility
• Parent knows when to say no and what to do after saying no
Message Sent to Child:
• I believe in you. You are equal to me in the sense that we are both human beings; true I have had more experience, but I respect you as a person. You are important.
Possible Reaction in Child:
• Child develops confidence and self-reliance
• Child contributes and cooperates and learns to solve problems
• Child learns to make decisions and accepts consequences of decisions
• Child believes in and respects self and others
• Child learns to be tolerant of mistakes made by self and others and respects the rights of others
• “Don’t you think you should study for a while before you go to bed? We’d like you to get good grades. But you know we can’t let you stay up that late. It isn’t good for you.”
The authoritative or democratic parenting style is the most adaptive approach to child rearing. Parents that fall under this category place strong demands on maturity, which is reinforced by setting limits and insisting on obedience. Even though this parenting style is very demanding, authoritative parents are very warm and affectionate. They actively listen to their child’s point of view, and value shared decision-making. Authoritative parenting is a rational, democratic approach that recognizes and respects the right of parents and children.
Authoritative parenting style has several consequences for children. Children and adolescents whose parents are authoritative are seen to be more socially and instrumentally competent. Authoritatively reared children possess self-confidence in mastering new tasks, self-control, and are lively with a generally happy mood. Girls scored particularly high in independence and desire to master new tasks, and boys participated in friendly, cooperative behavior.
Parenting styles can be influenced by sex, ethnicity, or family type. In the US, authoritative parenting is the most common among intact, middle-class families of European descent, and the relationship between authoritativeness and child outcomes is quite similar across groups. The type is both demanding as well as responsive. Parents monitor and maintain clear standards for their children’s behavior. They are more supportive than punitive as well as low in psychological control. These parents tend to be able to balance their conformity demands with their respect for their children’s individuality, so that their children appear to be able to balance their need for individuality and autonomy.
Authoritative parenting predicts good psychosocial outcomes and minimal problem behaviors for adolescents in all these ethnic groups — African, Asian, European, and Hispanic Americans. Authoritative parents are more open to give and take with their children and make great use of explanations. The children tend to be socially competent, energetic, friendly, and curious. They also rate themselves as competent, and are more socially and practically competent than those of any other of the groups mentioned. Children learn that they are competent individuals who can do things successfully by themselves. This in turn gives the child high self-esteem, and enhances cognitive development and emotional maturity.
In general, studies suggest that authoritative parenting is associated with lower rates of substance abuse. Because authoritative parenting provides a child with warmth and responsiveness as well as moderate to high levels of control, this automatically serves as a strong foundation for a child to prosper in a positive way. Lack of parent-child closeness and lack of maternal involvement are clear indicators that lead to risk factors. Family involvement and attachment eliminate possible crisis situations.
The authoritative parenting style goes without physical punishment and in turn provides the most positive results and the fewest problems for children in today’s world. As a result these children score higher in the areas of social development, mental health, and self-perception. Achievement is likely not only during childhood, but lasts long into adolescence.
The authoritative parenting style sends several messages to the child. It says: We trust you to make good decisions, we are behind you, and we will be there if you need us, you can talk to us about difficult situations, we will help you as you learn, and we expect you to do your best.
Although physical punishment will remain part of parenting for some, it is not necessary in raising a child. And it can have harmful side effects. Physical punishment appears to be more for the convenience or needs of the parent than for the good of the child.