What Is Authoritative Parenting?

by Mother Huddle Staff
What Is Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting is one of the four parenting styles by psychologist Diana Baumrind. It encourages a blend of support and boundaries. Here, the parent is responsive, listens to the child, and allows them to form their own opinions. At the same time, the parent creates a set of expectations or rules and explains the reasons for having them.

Parenting is a challenging job, and most, if not all, parents desire to do right by their children. That is why there has been extensive research on different parenting styles and their effects. The styles are categorized by how love is expressed, needs are communicated, and authority is exercised. However, the authoritative parenting style is one of the most popular parenting styles in America.

Characteristics of Authoritative Parenting

Though each parent who employs authoritative parenting may adjust it to their family setting and values, there are common factors that generally apply to this style.


Authoritative parents have high expectations for their children. These expectations are well communicated. The child understands the boundaries that have been put in place and the consequences of crossing the boundaries.


Authoritative parents communicate with their children. Unlike authoritarian parenting, which focuses on unquestioning obedience only, children are allowed to express their disagreement and any other opinions they may have concerning a situation. However, even as they express their feelings and needs, authoritative parenting dictates that it is done respectfully.


Authoritative parenting promotes consistency. The parent provides clear and consistent rules and boundaries. For example, if bedtime is at 7 pm, the authoritative parent will ensure that this applies every day and the time does not change according to how the child or parent feels. The parent will allow the child to express why they want to delay bedtime but will not waver.


Parents who are authoritative train their kids to manage their emotions and reactions. They do not dictate what the child should feel. Rather, they allow them to communicate what they are going through while providing resources that help them understand and manage their emotions.

For example, when a child is frustrated, instead of removing the frustration, the parent will use this to teach the child how to cope with the feelings of frustration.

Academic Performance

Authoritative parents are involved in their child’s academic performance. They ensure that homework and assignments are done, communicate with the school to know how the child is doing and provide any resources the child will need to excel in school. Some even go a step further and participate in any school event or meeting. Authoritative parents are very present where academic performance is concerned.


The authoritative parenting style uses failure as a teaching tool. When children fail, they are given the opportunity to take responsibility and learn from it.


Children with authoritative parents are allowed to make positive decisions and have opinions. Children are taught how to make decisions from an early stage. They learn how to identify the problem, identify the options for dealing with the problem, and the advantages or disadvantages of each option. In addition, if there is any conflict, the child is allowed to find solutions to the conflict.

Effects of Authoritative Parenting

What Is Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting focuses on the child. As such, it has many positive effects like:

  • Children who grow up with this parenting style are more self-reliant, self-controlled, cooperative, and achievement-oriented.
  • Parents who use this style tend to have better relationships with their children. This is because the child knows that their opinion matters, and they feel heard. It creates a sense of security in the child as they know their parents can be trusted.
  • Children with authoritative parents usually end up performing better academically when compared to children from permissive or authoritarian parents.
  • Children from authoritative parenting households are well-behaved. This is because not only do they have clear set boundaries, but they are also taught how to regulate their emotions.
  • Because authoritative parents respect their children, children from such families also become respectful to those around them.
  • Children with authoritative parents are resilient. This is because they are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. This enables them to handle the challenges they face better.
  • Authoritative parents foster leadership in their children. As mentioned earlier, children are allowed to make decisions and express their opinions. This makes them more confident to take up leadership roles.
  • Children from authoritative homes are better at taking criticism. They have learned that though mistakes will be called out, they have the opportunity to do better.

Disadvantages of Authoritative Parenting

Though many studies show that it is an effective parenting style, authoritative parenting has its own disadvantages.

Because it falls on the spectrum of leniency and strictness, it is easy for a parent to slide to either side. A parent may either become too strict with the rules or become too lenient. It requires intentionality, consistency, and patience.

Moreover, this parenting style is not as natural to some parents. This can easily lead to parental burnout, especially if they already have other stressful situations affecting them.


Even though this is a great parenting style, there is no one size fits all as each child and situation is different. The most important thing is to focus on the child and the needs that they have at that moment.

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