Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD Parenting Consultant and Founder of WPA (What Parents Ask) talks on Authoritative Parenting
At the Parenting Workshops that I conduct – I often get asked – “What is the best Parenting style?”
And the answer is simple and straightforward. The best parenting style is the Authoritative Parenting Style.
But, what is the authoritative parenting style?
Are you an authoritative parent?
Who is an authoritative parent?
Authoritative parents give children freedom and encourage independence. But alongside that, they also foster self-discipline and respect for others.
Unlike a permissive parent – an authoritative parent has clear rules but does not use brute force to implement the rules like the authoritarian parent.
Permissive parents express their love for their children by allowing their children to do whatever they want. And then step in to rescue them from the consequences of their actions. Authoritarian parents at the other extreme – expect good behaviour and punish bad behaviour.
In contrast – authoritative parents expect and ensure good behaviour. However, they are loving and forgiving when their children make mistakes. They do not punish their children, but they allow their children to experience the consequences of their actions and learn from their mistakes.
How can you become an Authoritative Parent?
Here are the five tips that will show you how to become an authoritative parent –
- Have high expectations from your child
Permissive parents think that they are being kind by not having any expectations. Authoritarian parents think they are doing what is best for their child by having rigid expectations. What your child really needs, however, is for you to expect the best from her/him because it tells her/him that she/he is capable. Your expectations, however, must be tailor-made for your child. You cannot have rigid expectations.
Stop thinking – My daughter/son has to be good at math. Allow your child to pursue music if she/he likes that. But expect the best from her/him as a musician
- Be reasonable about rules and obedience
Permissive parents have no rules. Their fear of making rules can lead children into danger. On the other hand, authoritarian parents have so many rigid rules that their children have no scope to think for themselves or speak their minds. This can be dangerous too because such children can be easily abused or bullied. It is best to be authoritative and make rules while taking the child’s opinion into consideration.
Don’t say – you have to be back by 7 pm? Ask your child – What time do you think you will be able to get back?
Permissive parents are afraid of their children. They only listen to their children they never talk. Authoritarian parents, on the other hand, are afraid of being challenged – so they shut down all channels of communication. Closing down the channels of communication effectively amounts to not parenting at all because as a parent your task is to teach your child the ways of the world.
Don’t say – Because I say so! Or…. whatever you say. Ask – “Why don’t you like it?”
- Teach your child independence and responsibility
Permissive parents allow their children to do what they please without guiding them. Authoritarian parents bind their children to their sides and do not allow them to step away far enough to be responsible for anything. What children need however are authoritative parents who allow children lots of space to experiment and discover but always keep them within the firm and inflexible boundaries.
- Teach children decision making
Decision making is learnt by practice. Permissive parents allow their children to make all the decisions – but are too kind to allow their child to suffer the adverse consequences of their decisions. They rescue their child as soon as things go wrong. As a result, the child learns nothing. Children of authoritarian parents do not learn anything either because all the decisions are made by the parents. What children need are authoritative parents who guide their child’s decisions by sharing their experiences and allow them to face the consequences of the decisions they make so that they can learn by doing.
Authoritative parenting will ensure that your child grows up to be confident, capable and emotionally secure. Change to authoritative parenting style today!