When your child refuses to eat, do you forcefully make them eat, or do you ask your child about his/her preferences and prepare their meals accordingly?
Your response to this situation can help determine whether you are an authoritarian or authoritative parent. Many parents believe that both of these are the same, but in reality, they are 2 very different styles of parenting.
When talking about parenting styles, there are 4 major parenting styles –
1. Authoritative Parenting – These parents are strict and set an expectation of certain behaviour from their children while also being caring and warm.
2. Authoritarian Parenting – These parents are strict as well but aren’t considerate of their child. They expect blind obedience and often fail to be loving and nurturing.
3. Permissive Parenting – These parents allow their children to be highly independent and are also loving and warm.
4. Neglectful Parenting – These parents often don’t like to get involved in their child’s life and rather take the hands-off approach.
Now that we have discussed the 4 parenting styles briefly, let’s get into the main differences between authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles:
Compared with authoritarian parents, authoritative parents are likely to be warm, loving and nurturing. Authoritarian parents are more responsive than authoritative parents. It is scientifically proven that responsive parents help create a more secure attachment with their child. As the authoritative parents are more responsive to their children’s emotional needs, it is observed that children from authoritative families have more emotional control. They are resilient and can recover from setbacks more easily than the children that come from authoritarian families.
Also, the children of authoritative parents are more likely to feel content than those of authoritarian parents.
Authoritative parents often tend to give their children more autonomy and independence than their authoritarian counterparts. Instead of seeking total control over their children’s lives, authoritative parents believe in monitoring their child and correct their behaviour whenever needed. Compared with authoritarian parents, authoritative parents are likely to be more liberal with their kids.
When you monitor your child instead of taking complete control over their decisions, he/she is less likely to show anti-social behaviour and offensive tendencies.
As a parent, you should try to give your child some freedom and involve them in decision making in the family.
When it comes to rules, both authoritative and authoritarian parents are strict about following rules and expect a certain level of behaviour from their kids. This is probably the only similarity between both of these parenting styles.
The difference lies in the way both of these parents implement their rules. Compared with authoritarian parents, authoritative parents are likely to discuss and explain rules to their children. They are open to having a two-sided discussion on the expectations they have and listen to what their child has to say. This makes children more assertive, and they tend to have higher self-esteem.
Authoritarian parents on the other hand allow one-way communication only. The only reason they expect their kids to follow their rules is the ‘because I said so’ attitude. They expect children to blindly accept their rules without any objections. Such an approach to parenting can make your child apprehensive and insecure.
Authoritative parents are very consistent, yet considerate about disciplining their child. They tend to be non-punitive with discipline and focus on teaching their child the right behaviour rather than punishing them for the wrong.
On the contrary, authoritarian parents tend to punish their children more often, with a punitive disciple to prevent any instances of wrong behaviour in the future.
Parenting is very subjective. Parents have different ways and styles to raise their children, and there is no right or wrong way to do this! Although, it is seen that the authoritative parenting style is more beneficial for children as well as parents as opposed to the authoritarian parenting style.
Some examples of authoritative parenting are –
Be clear with your expectations to your children