Authoritative parenting, as described by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, is considered a democratic approach to parenting children. Authoritative parents pull the positive aspects of permissive and authoritarian parenting styles together to create a guided, nurturing environment with set behavioral and educational expectations with room for personal growth. Experts agree that authoritative parenting is the best parenting style as it provides support and encouragement for children with set boundaries of morality and behavior.
Characteristics of Authoritative Parents
Authoritative parents expect and, sometimes, demand just like authoritarian parents. But, rather than set expectations without room for discussion and support, authoritative parents pull the nurturing side of permissive parenting into the mix. Parents allow children the freedom to make their own decisions while guiding children down a path of good behavior with flexibility and understanding. Parents tend to set limits, give children clear rules of expectation and express love, support and clear disciplinary action when needed. Children are allowed to make minor and major decisions, but parents are there to guide the process with discussion, interaction and emotional/physical support.
Effects of Authoritative Parenting on Child Development
Parents with an authoritative nature tend to raise children who are happier, emotionally well-rounded, creative and in-touch with themselves. They are socially accepted children with strong peer bonds and a feeling of freedom with moral and behavioral boundaries. Children of authoritative parents are confident about their decision-making skills and may be more apt to take calculated risks and chances as they feel confident parents will support the effort, rather than discipline the failure or lack of success.
Independence is a huge benefit of authoritative parenting. Parents support their children’s ability and choice to act independently. They may discuss a child’s perspective or feelings about a given subject, whether emotional or educational, as a means of giving the child different vantage points viewable from an adult perspective. They do not, however, push their beliefs onto children. Independence comes from children being given the freedom and support to make decisions with the understanding that those decisions may not lead to the expected result. When children fail, authoritative parents support, uplift and gently push their children to keep trying.
How to Support Your Children from an Authoritative Perspective
Role modeling is one cornerstone of authoritative parenting. Children learn good behavior, emotional control and independence from parents as parents exhibit these traits. Authoritative parents often teach their children subconsciously through their own actions.