Negative Side Effects of Authoritarian Parenting [Pros and Cons]

Negative side effects of authoritarian parenting style should be taken seriously given its detrimental consequences on children’s well-being.

side effects of authoritarian parenting style
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What Is Authoritarian Parenting Style?

An authoritarian approach to parenting is marked by high standards of discipline and strict supervision. It employs coercive tactics and rigorous disciplinary measures to correct children’s undesirable behavior.

Thus, it lacks parental warmth and focuses more on enforcing boundaries as well as requiring compliance without making allowance for any compromise or concession. 

Does Authoritarian Parenting Work?

Having an authoritarian approach to raising children may have its advantages but it also has its drawbacks. A reason why this parenting method has been the subject of contention for years.

Authoritarian Parenting Pros and Cons

Children Raised by Authoritarian Parents Are Submissive and Obedient

Authoritarian parents can be unrelenting in their demand for complete obedience. Children are expected to obey rules without a hint of opposition and failure to comply can result in severe consequences. 

Thus, children are often expected to submit to their elders regardless of the views they hold.

Negative Effects of Authoritarian Parenting


Children who are obedient and submissive may also be gullible and easily manipulated by unscrupulous individuals.

Saying yes to everything limits children’s ability to think for themselves in potentially harmful circumstances. Thus, children must be allowed to express their views but they should do so politely. However, in potentially risky situations, children should be taught to run away rather than simply decline an adult’s unacceptable request.

Take this as an example:

My friend shared with me an unfortunate incident her daughter endured while staying at her grandparent’s house, my friend’s in-laws. Her father-in-law was having a drink with a neighbor when the latter asked my friend’s 6-year-old daughter for a kiss.

The little girl was reluctant to comply with the request as the man was filthy and reeked of alcohol. In spite of this, the grandfather, unwilling to upset his friend, compelled his granddaughter to obey. And so she did, but once the drunk neighbor got his kiss, he wouldn’t let go. He kissed and hugged the child repeatedly, leaving the little girl uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the youngster did not protest as she was taught by her authoritarian mother to obey, respect, and submit to elders with no questions asked.

That incident made my friend realize that it is crucial to educate children about the importance of saying no, even to elders, when they are asked to do something that doesn’t feel right to them.

While it is important that children learn to obey and respect their elders, it is also crucial for them to say no to things that make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Risky Behaviors Are Less Common Among Children Raised by Strict Parents

A child raised by an authoritarian parent is also less likely to engage in risky lifestyle choices, such as drug use, smoking, or alcohol abuse.

This is because strict parents often closely monitor their children’s activities and peers, preventing them from engaging in inappropriate behavior.

Negative Side Effects


Every child is different. For some children, strict discipline can prompt them to disobey their parents and do exactly what they are forbidden to do. Something to take into account before adopting this type of parenting approach.

Children Have A Higher Level Of Self-Control

Children raised by authoritarian parents tend to have a higher level of self-control than their peers. They learn to manage their emotions and curb their unruly behavior as a result of strict supervision and discipline.

Negative Side Effects of Authoritarian Parenting:


This does not apply to all children. 

A child who has been raised by an authoritarian parent can also suffer from anger management issues. As a consequence, they tend to act out violently against those around them. 

Parents’ controlling behavior may also cause children to become resentful and bitter which can lead to disruptive behavior later in life. 

Children Raised In Authoritarian Households Are More Likely To Succeed Academically

Children raised by strict parents are more likely to excel in school. You can attribute this to the relentless pressure parents put on their children to achieve academic success. 

Furthermore, authoritarian parents provide their children with a lot of structure to ensure academic success.

The strict discipline they enforce regarding study schedules, doing homework on time, etc., goes a long way to helping kids do well in school.

Negative Side Effects


The outcome will be different for each child.

 While some children will excel in school, others can experience study fatigue and self-esteem issues.

These negative outcomes are due to children’s inability to measure up to their parent’s expectations. 

These children may feel so burned out that they would give up and stop trying. This is especially true for children whose intellectual capabilities lag far behind expected levels.

Negative Side Effects of Authoritarian Parenting: Inability to Make Independent Decisions:

Children raised by authoritarian parents are also hesitant to make decisions because of low self-confidence.

As a result, they tend to be perfectionists which makes decision-making very stressful. 

They bounce back and forth between various options to ensure they are making the best decision possible. 

And while it is wise to be prudent, delaying action can prevent them from making any real progress at all.

Most Commonly Asked Questions about Authoritarian Parenting

bad effects of authoritarian parenting style

Negative Side Effects of Authoritarian Parenting:

Why Do Children Raised by Autocratic Parents Have Low Self-Esteem? 

When a child is punished severely for every mistake he makes, he may develop a negative self-concept and low self-confidence.

Over time, as scores of blows are struck against his feeble frame, the child begins to see himself in a negative light, unworthy of love and respect. 

Thus, such a harsh approach to discipline can lead to adverse psychological effects and undermine the child’s self-esteem and overall well-being.

Why Are Adults Raised By Authoritarian Parents More Likely to Be Aggressive?

Children who are punished harshly develop deep-seated resentments that manifest as aggressive behavior. 

Thus, children’s anger management skills aren’t up to par. It’s common for them to get into conflict, and they tend to resolve it with violence.

The things kids see are the things they become.

Children with violent parents tend to exhibit abrasive behavior. In school, bullying is more prevalent among children who are raised by violent parents than those whose parents are less aggressive. 

Parents are very influential role models, and children tend to imitate their parents’ behavior and strive to emulate them. 

A child may think, “If  my parents behave violently towards me, then it’s okay for me to do the same with my peers.”


It is also possible for children raised by authoritarian parents to be the subject of bullying due to their low self-esteem. 

They may exhibit passive behavior but their burgeoning anger and resentment toward their perpetrators may be buried deep within them.

Aren’t we horrified and shocked when a teenager who has a seemingly calm and serene demeanor suddenly commits a violent act at school?

Anxiety Disorders and Depression: Negative Side Effects of Authoritarian Parenting

negative effects of authoritarian parenting style
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Various studies indicate that children raised by rigid and controlling parents are more likely to experience anxiety issues than children reared by calm and supportive parents. 

You can attribute the psychological disorder to having a constant fear of committing mistakes, falling short of expectations, or of being subjected to severe punishment.

Having such fears can inflict an immense amount of stress which can have long-term repercussions as it negatively impacts a child’s quality of life over time.

In Children with Controlling Parents, Social Skills Are Less Developed

Due to their low self-esteem, children raised by authoritarian parents have difficulties interacting with others. 

They feel unsure of themselves as they are plagued by a debilitating fear of committing mistakes or failing to leave a favorable impression.

As a result, they are often timid and lack the confidence to share their thoughts, making them incapable of engaging in meaningful conversations with people.

Other children, however, may be able to share their views, but they can end up being so chatty and verbose in their desperate attempt to command respect and acceptance. 

As a result, they end up being disliked by their peers, trapping them in a vicious cycle of self-hatred and self-pity.

How Does Strict Parental Control Stifle Children’s Creativity?

Children raised by authoritarian parents often experience developmental delays and creative limitations. You can attribute these problems to parents’ overzealous control and supervision. 

Evidently, those subjected to rigid restrictions often develop a crippling fear of stepping outside their comfort zone to explore new opportunities. Thus, they can stall their progress as they are hesitant to take any risks.

What Is the Difference Between Authoritative And Authoritarian Parenting Styles?

Authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles have salient differences and similarities.

In contrast to authoritarian parents, authoritative parents communicate openly and transparently with their children despite maintaining discipline and boundaries.

Authoritative parents also provide a warm, loving, and caring home environment for their kids. Their children are also allowed to express their views as long as they do so politely.

On the other hand, authoritarian parents enforce stringent rules and often impose corporal punishment to force children into compliance.

In both authoritative and authoritarian styles, obedience is the common goal, but the outcomes can differ dramatically. Disparities between the resulting outcomes can be attributed to the different discipline techniques.

Children nurtured by authoritative parents tend to develop better critical-thinking abilities and increased self-confidence. On the other hand, children raised by authoritarian parents may struggle to make decisions and are prone to falling prey to a myriad of emotional issues.

Key Takeaways:

There are many types of parenting styles, and each parenting method has its advantages and disadvantages. To find the most appropriate parenting strategies for our children, we need to figure out what works best with their personalities and temperaments.

Nevertheless, experts suggest that no matter what parenting style we choose to implement, we must refrain from resorting to either verbal or physical abuse in our attempt to correct a child’s unruly behavior.


Baumrind, D. (2013). Authoritative parenting revisited: History and current status. In R. E. Larzelere, A. Sheffield, & A. W. Harrist (Eds.), Authoritative parenting: Synthesizing nurturance and discipline for optimal child development. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.