In the 1940's and 1950's Diana Baumrind, a clinical and behavioural psychologist from New York City, introduced her ideas of different parenting styles. These three main parenting styles are authoritarian (too hard), permissive (too soft), and authoritative (just right) parenting. In this article, we will explore what authoritarian parenting is, and we will also discuss the repercussions and outcomes of this parenting style in terms of child development and self esteem.
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Authoritarian parenting is characterized by strong, sometimes harsh discipline. These parents value obedience and subjection to authority rather than independent thinking, and may use shame, coercion, and blame to achieve their goals. They often hold their children to high standards of achievement, and are sometimes withholding of love or affection if their children do not meet the standards they set. As a result, children of authoritarian parents generally don't perceive their parents' love as unconditional and may connect success with love in their minds. Parents who practice authoritarian parenting usually don't provide their children with reasons why they need to do the right thing. It's more likely that an authoritarian parent would say, "Because I said so," instead of explaining the reason behind their request. They focus more on negative behaviour than positive.
Authoritarian parenting can be detrimental to a child's psychological and emotional development. Although authoritarian parents generally have good intentions, and want to teach their children to grow up to be good people and to respect their parents' sacrifices, they attempt to do so by using tools such as harsh punishment and shame. Instead of teaching respect and character, this can have the effect of teaching children to feel bad about themselves, that their parents' love is based on their behaviour, and though it does teach them to avoid inappropriate behaviour, they are doing so out of a fear of punishment rather than because of a strong moral value system that encourages them to make the proper choices.
Children with authoritarian parents usually don't learn to think for themselves and find it hard to understand the reasons for doing the right thing, since they were taught simply to obey and not ask questions. They often have low self worth, experience tremendous amounts of stress and guilt, and may suffer from anxiety disorders later in life. Stability and love is very important to a child's emotional development, and authoritarian parenting does not afford this type of environment. Because children don't know the reasons behind why they need to obey orders, they often feel caught off guard by a new rule or discipline, where if they had been taught the reasons why they may have been able to anticipate that a certain behaviour was unacceptable before they committed the act.
All in all, authoritarian parenting may be seen as successful to the parents, as the result is a very compliant child, but most child development experts agree that it can be very detrimental to a child's psychological well being and can make them struggle later in life with bonded relationships to friends, spouses, and also their future children. A much more balanced style of discipline is necessary for a happy and healthy child.
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