Authoritarian Parenting Is A Harsh And Unyielding Parenting Style That Produces Harsh And Predictably Inferior Results

“Anger is the wind which blows out the lamp of the mind."

Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899)

The Authoritarian Parenting Style, also known as the Strict Style, the Military Style and the Japanese Business Management Style of Parenting has high parental expectations for child conformity and compliance to strict Family Rules and Rewards, and yet does not welcome or allow an open dialogue between the parent and child.

Authoritarian parenting expects children to blindly obey without understanding the reasons behind the rules and also expect their children not to ask questions in an effort to understand why something is being asked or required of them.

Just as an authoritarian government expects blind obedience and allegiance from its citizens with ‘no questions asked and none forthcoming’, so also Authoritarian Parents expect the same blind allegiance and obedience from their children.

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Authoritarian Parenting makes up one of the three major styles of parenting, the other two being the Permissive style and the Authoritative style of parenting.

Permissive Parenting is characterized by parents who are warm and accepting yet have few behavior expectations for their children. As the name suggests, these parents are permissive (Tolerant, Indulgent, Lax) with their children.

Authoritative Parenting holds high expectations for child behavior, sets rules and expects compliance with the same, and encourages an open and honest dialogue between parent and child.

Roman Tortoise - © Tancread

There are and have been some instances when authoritarian thinking was the correct way to go, but apart from being a Roman Soldier a few thousand years ago, or being a modern soldier who must obey orders immediately and without question or lives will be lost, this type of thinking is best left on the battle field and out of our homes and away from our children.

That is because Authoritarian Parenting does not allow our children to think for themselves and actually retards and delays a child’s ability to develop critical thinking and emotional interaction skills, both of which are necessary for success in the modern world.

Authoritarian parents always try to be in control of their children and to exert that control over their children.

This is a characteristic that this parenting style is highly demanding of children yet not very responsive to their feelings and emotional needs.

That parents can force children to act a certain way is true, but children and people in general do not grow and develop when deprived of their freedom to choose and deprived of the consequences, good and bad, that flows from that freedom to choose.

Some of the best learning moments occur when a choice we make turns out badly and we are allowed to learn for ourselves the lessons to be learned from those mistakes we make.

I often learn more from one mistake that I can learn a life lesson from than by doing something correctly 20 times over without ever putting a moment’s thought into that action or deed.

Authoritarian parents are more likely to label a child as “bad” instead of identifying a particular action that a child may have done as bad.

These parents also are more likely to spank a child instead of looking for creative alternatives to spanking as the sole means of Discipline.

Used sparingly and appropriately, spanking is useful to a child and can do much to re-focus a child and emphasize certain teachings or consequences for bad behavior or choices.

Authoritarian Parenting is also much less open and communicative towards their children than other styles of parenting.

This occurs as some parents find it easier to ‘push their parental weight around’ rather than taking the time and the effort necessary to properly and lovingly explain the rules of happy living to the children they parent.

Note that parents who were brought up by Authoritarian parents may not have ever learned these skills within their own homes, so they must take extra time and effort now to learn a better way for the children they parent or risk repeating the mistakes of the past with their own children and possibly down to their grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Expat Kids - © Shermeee

Our youth want to be able to grow, learn and think for themselves in life, since it is after all, their life to live.

Studies have clearly shown the negative results to the children of Authoritarian Parenting, which will be presented below.

But first let’s take a moment to imagine what it may feel like to be the child of an Authoritarian Parent.

Assume for a moment you have a project to do for school. There are many different ways to go about doing the project, and all of these different ways could lead you to success in the project and the highest marks in the class.

Now assume that your Authoritarian Parent just told you exactly how you are to do the project whether you like it or not.

This parent controls your actions until you have done the project ‘their way’, and then forces you to re-do the project until it is exactly the way the Authoritarian parent wants it to be.

You as the child had zero input in the project, zero ability to decide how the project was to be done, and you basically acted like a slave to your parent’s will regarding this school project.

How are you going to feel if you get an exception grade on this project?

How much have you learned and achieved by doing this project?

Can you see that you won’t feel good about your grade since it wasn’t your work being graded?

And you probably learned little to nothing since you weren’t allowed to think for yourself and challenge yourself by doing the project yourself in your own way?

With this example in mind, here are the common results of the Authoritarian Style of Parenting:

• It stifles a child’s intellectual growth, initiative and creativity

• It encourages some children to rebel against their parents and other children to become weak and submissive as they resign themselves to a life of being controlled by others

• It creates a sense of dependence on parents that sometimes lasts a lifetime. Ever wonder why some children still live with their parents at age 30? Look closely at the parents for the answer to that riddle

• It places the child at risk for developmental difficulties as children cannot develop properly if never given the slightest freedom to do so

• It limits a child’s sense of creativity, wonder and self-discovery

• It delays and disrupts the establishment of a child’s sense of identity and a child’s ability to understand, express and reciprocate emotions

• It undermines a child’s Self-Esteem and sense of confidence since they begin to doubt their ability to do things on their own

• It tends to breed poor social skills and higher levels of depression

• It breeds children who are socially withdrawn and who lack social and emotional independence

• Children who are fearful, anxious and who have poor communication skills

• Children who are more prone to Substance Abuse, Teenage Sexuality or even Preteen Sexuality, all of which can lead to Teenage Pregnancy and other such matters.

• Children who date and marry partners whom they know and expect their parents to disapprove of (to get back at you for being an Authoritarian Parent to them in the first place)

• Children who grow up to be estranged and distant from their parents during adulthood

• It breeds children who also grow up to be Authoritarian Parents as they follow the only Parental Example showed to them in their own homes while growing up

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An interesting final note is that the affects of Authoritarian Parenting are generally harder and more negatively impactful on boys than on girls, though both sexes do suffer under this Parenting Style.

There is a lot more parenting wisdom to share. Here is another Authoritarian Parenting thought: Unquestioned obedience and absolute control and domination over another human being, much less over our own children, does not allow for the love, nurture, and development needed for our children to become the best and happiest people they were meant to be at any time, for any reason, over and over again.

Authoritarian and Permissive Parenting Styles are opposite sides of the same defective coin. You can and must choose a better Parenting Style for the children who love and depend on you.

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