development/ Parenting/ Teaching

What is authoritarian parenting?

authoritarian parenting

The strict approach to raise a child

Am I raising my child in the best way? Does my parenting method is what it needs to be to make sure my child becomes a pleasing personality? Am I too naïve to handle my child’s demands? These are some of the questions that parents often asked me. This is because they think that spending time with the preschoolers, I understand their requirements the best. While I might not be able to give the best answer, I can always tell them about different parenting styles that they can choose for their kids. In my last blog: What is authoritative parenting , I explained the Authoritative parenting style and today I am going to talk about Authoritarian parenting style.

This blog will have information about Authoritarian parenting style, its key characteristics, history and traits of children raised in authoritarian style. So, let us decode the parenting style:

Definition of authoritarian parenting style

Authoritarian Parenting style, as per the definition is a parenting style where parents show low responsiveness to their child, however, have high demands. The amount of feedback and nurturance they show to their children is minimal while demanding the child to act as instructed all the time. There are set consequences which are strictly adhered in case any deviance is reported. The parents may provide a little feedback, but, it is mostly negative and a lot of criticism.

The key characteristics of Authoritarian Parenting style

Authoritarian parents are strict, that is for sure, but at times, they are cruel as well. I can easily observe how they deal with their child is not a much-recommended way. I prefer dealing with children gently, but, Authoritarian parenting style is different. The parents do not pay any importance in nurturing self-control, rather, offer instructions to their child for every action and situation.

While every parent aims to socialize their child and make them understand values and standards, Authoritarian parents love to do it through the harsh way. The outcome of the parenting style differs, depending upon the extent of control that the parents exert over their children.

The ultimate authority lies with the parent, and thus the child is dependent on the parents for every action.

What is authoritarian parenting

Some of the common characteristics of authoritarian parenting include:

High demand and low responsiveness

A default trait of authoritarian parents is that they have a lot of demands from their kids, but, do not offer any response. They are very interfering, in fact, they micromanage every aspect of their child’s life; from home to school and more. There are a lot of rules to follow and the children are expected to abide by them, even when they aren’t mentioned to the children directly. The children have an unsaid responsibility to obey the rules, even when they do not know what the rules are.

Lack of warmth and nurturing

This is the most criticized feature of this parenting style. I have personally seen parents who are aloof and harsh and it is easy to identify their authoritarian role. There is no encouragement or praise, in fact, the only feedback that the child receives is yelling and criticism. A child should be seen and not heard, is what such parents follow.

Punishment is the only remedy

You did something wrong, there is a punishment, if you did not do something there is a punishment, in fact, if you did not do something as expected, you get a punishment only. Corporal punishment is a basic thing to discipline the child.

Lack of choices and Action

The parents believe that the child should obey their instructions blindly they state it is “either my way or the highway”. The child has no right to express or negotiate and what is once said should be done without further questioning.

Misbehavior is dealt with strict punishments

If you misbehave, you must be punished. The parents believe that this is the only way to teach a child how to behave at home, office or publically. Some children, whom I teach are way molded in a way that they fear only consequences.

Lack of trust

The parents consider their children too naïve to make their own decisions and hence do not offer them the freedom to make their own choices. Constant hovering to make sure that they are behaving the right way is one of the key features of this parenting style.

Characteristic of the child raised under Authoritarian Parenting style

Parenting style is directed towards the way a child grows and develops its personality. There are a few traits of children raised with an authoritarian parenting style that set the, apart from other children. These characteristics include:

  • Success and obedience are their measures to assess love
  • While such children are tamed at home, they gain a more aggressive personality outside
  • Some children become overly shy and may act fearful.
  • Conforming them is easy and anxiety and depression are a few problems they face
  • Lower self-esteem is the biggest shortcoming
  • Self-control is poor in these children and they do not have the best hold on decision making power.

History of Authoritarian parenting

Diana Baumrind did all the work about parenting styles and in 1960, she described one parenting style as Authoritarian. She somewhat negatively described the parenting style, which, I personally agree to, because I have seen children lose their self-confidence and grow us fearful and shy.

Baumrind claimed authoritarian parents as “obedience and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation.”

Wrapping it up

I am sure this isn’t the parenting style you would like to adapt to raise your child. However, there are parents who know how to do it right and thus utilize this parenting style in the best way. The choices differ from one parent to other and their preferences. While I am personally against this parenting style, I may not tell you to refrain using it. However, I would definitely suggest that this parenting style should be well-balanced with other parenting style characteristics to make a more balanced parenting culture, which would benefit both, the parent as well as the child.


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