Why Is Being an Authoritative Parent the Best Approach According to Experts

Authoritative parenting is touted as the best parenting style by child psychologists for raising well-rounded and emotionally intelligent children.

It is a parenting approach considered ideal by experts because it strikes the right balance between discipline and independence.

What Is Authoritative Parenting?

The authoritative parenting style is a methodology for child-rearing that is sensitive to children’s individual needs while requiring them to adhere to rules, respect boundaries, and measure up to expectations through positive reinforcements.

As a result, parents can foster discipline and set limits without destroying their children’s self-esteem and confidence, which is key to raising children with a positive self-image.

authoritative parenting style


Diana Baumrind’s Extensive Study on Different Parenting Styles

Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist, conducted an extensive study and research on the three commonly used parenting methodologies.

In her study, she observed that preschoolers displayed distinct types of behavior, each of which was tied to a particular parenting style.

Her observation led her to conclude that “different parenting styles can lead to different child development and outcomes.”

What Are the Four Parenting Styles?

Diana Baumrind only tackled three parenting methods, but later on, Stanford researchers; Eleonor Maccoby and John Martin introduced the fourth one, the uninvolved or neglectful parenting style. 

  •  Authoritative 
  •  Authoritarian
  • Permissive or Indulgent
  • Uninvolved or Neglectful

Here Is an Infographic on the 4 Types of Parenting Styles

What Is the Best Parenting Style?

Based on Baumrind’s in-depth research and study, authoritative parenting is the most beneficial in successfully raising exceptional children.

This can be gleaned from the research on authoritative parenting’s positive outcomes on children’s well-being during a study conducted in the 60s and 70s.

Since then, authoritative parenting has become the ideal parenting method many child development specialists recommend.

Authoritative Parenting Style and Outcomes

Authoritative parenting style pros and cons

Pros

1. Positive self-concept

Research published in 2012 shows authoritative parents successfully raised children with a more positive self-image and a healthy sense of self-esteem.

That being the case, these children had a much better quality of life than those raised by authoritarian and permissive parents.

2. Personal responsibility

Parent’s willingness to give the child a certain degree of freedom while holding him accountable for his wrong choices prompts the child to act more responsibly, empowering him to make wise decisions.

3. Good leadership qualities

Children raised by authoritative parents tend to possess the salient qualities of an effective leader, such as independence, accountability, resilience, wise decision-making, and respect for others.

4. Tactful and diplomatic

Authoritative parents discipline their children, not with violence or threats. They engage their children in a dialogue when correcting them for bad behavior.

[For example, they explain to their kids why a certain behavior is unacceptable and why they should face the consequences of their actions.]

As a result, children have a more calm demeanor and exhibit less violent tendencies. They are more likely to respect boundaries and engage in a peaceful dialogue when resolving conflicts.

5. Respect for others

Children who are trained and allowed to verbalize emotions calmly grow up to be more respectful of other people’s opinions.

6. They are generally happy and self-assured

A solid set of social skills, a healthy sense of self-respect, and higher academic success will enable them to live happier life.

Cons

1. Authoritative parenting requires a lot of patience and effort, as parents must do a balancing act in instilling discipline while being cautious not to destroy their children’s self-esteem and sense of autonomy.

2. While child development specialists recommend authoritative parenting as the most effective in raising exceptional kids, not all children will always respond positively to this parenting style.

Therefore, it is advisable to make certain adjustments when necessary.

How Does Authoritative Parenting Affect a Child’s Self-Esteem? 

Authoritative parents still demonstrate nurturing skills even when imposing moderate parental control. 

This balancing act of being strict and being cautious not to ruin their kids’ self-esteem can help children to develop a positive self-image based on a study.

How Does Authoritative Parenting Affect the Child’s Academic Performance?

Child development specialists consider authoritative parenting as the best approach to providing the best environment for your child to thrive and achieve academic success based on a research study and survey conducted on 290 participants.

How to Implement Authoritative Parenting Style


1. Set a good example.

We will not command respect and obedience from our children if we ourselves are not complying with the rules we have set for them to follow.

[Ex. Respect elders, squeeze a tube of toothpaste from the bottom, make the bed first thing in the morning, pray before meals, etc.]

2Calmly explain to your kids why they need to do a certain task.

Doing so will make them realize that you have their best interest at heart, making them even more likely to obey you.

3. The consequence for disobedience must be commensurate with the gravity of the offense.

When imposing consequences for not respecting boundaries, we must ensure that they are fair and justified; otherwise, our children will hold grudges and rebel against us.

4. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and emotions. 

Let him know you understand how he feels but make him understand why facing the consequences of his actions is a necessary disciplinary step to transform his behavior for the better.

5. Allow them to have certain freedoms to make decisions on their own

Enabling them to make decisions will help boost their self-confidence.

But in doing so, let us also be selective about what sort of decisions they can make; for example, letting them choose the color of the dress they want to wear is okay but allowing them to decide how many hours in a day they can watch cartoon movies is not acceptable.

6. Never resort to violence or threats when disciplining your child.

It may upset some parents, but personally, the farthest I can go in disciplining a child is a swat on the bottom ( It must only be done as a last resort, and no bare bottom spanking, please. ) 

And should your child has a medical condition that prompts him to be violent or aggressive, do not spank him but give him a warm hug to calm him down.

A child psychologist, George Holden, agrees that an “occasional spank” might not have a long-term negative effect on a child “unless it was so hard it resulted in child abuse or injury.”

To understand the risk and the proper way of doing this form of discipline, read this article. 

I believe that children must have a moderate level of fear towards their parents to get them to respect boundaries but not to the point of subjecting them to intolerable physical pain to manage difficult behavior and defiance.

7. Be firm and consistent when setting limits and consequences for unacceptable behavior

Never cave in to your child’s unreasonable demands. Set healthy expectations and require your child to live up to them.

Failure to comply with rules and refusal to face corresponding consequences for bad behavior may result in further disciplinary action. [ Reducing the number of hours he spends watching tv for the whole week, etc.]

Conclusion: Authoritative Parenting Style Is the Most Ideal Among Different Types of Parenting Methodologies

Following the advice of experts is a must, but we also need to assess the specific needs of our children when deciding what parenting style to use.

We must not stop learning and applying valuable parenting ideas until we discover what child-rearing strategies work best for our kids.

You can use one parenting style or a combination of two parenting methodologies. It all depends on the situation you’re in and the unique needs of your child.

But whatever parenting style we choose to adopt, we should never resort to physical and verbal abuse in disciplining children.


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.