Authoritative Parenting Styles: Characteristics, Effects and More

Dad and son smiling

Out of the four parenting styles, authoritative parenting is usually counted as the most effective. The authoritative parenting style consists of high expectations as well as the support and resources that children need to succeed. The parents who exemplify this style listen to their children and provide warmth and love.

The more democratic aspect of authoritarian parenting allows children to have a say in certain things regarding themselves. By being available and open with their children, authoritative parents are creating a loving and fair atmosphere. Encouraging

Dad talking to his son

children as well as challenging them is a big part of authoritative parenting.

The discipline, an alternative to punishment used by authoritarian parents, is fair and keeps to the same patterns. Children will soon learn that when they do something wrong, their parents will not be angry and punish them. This counteracts the fear that some children with authoritarian parents develop.

Respect and mutual understanding is a main component of this style of parenting. The encouragement that is provided by authoritative parents is warm and nurturing so that children know that they have someone to go to when things get tough.


In the 1960s, a psychologist that specialized in developmental psychology identified three types of parenting styles. These were based on her research which involved preschool age children. Recently, there has been one more type of parenting style added to the list.

The four types of parenting styles are as follows: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and lastly, uninvolved. Uninvolved parenting is the newest one, becoming more common in recent years.

It has been a challenge to analyze the styles of parenting since there can be so many unique circumstances to each family. However, most of the time it is a clear distinction, or maybe even some kind of combination. These four types of parenting each have their own characteristics and will affect children much differently.

[Read more about Authoritative Parenting]


The characteristics of authoritative parents are somewhat easy to pick out. Parents are strict with what they expect from their children but unlike other styles, they encourage good behavior and discipline the bad. They help their children move on through life and support them whenever they need it.

Dad and son smiling
  • Encouragement to express thoughts and opinions
    • Parents will ask children their feelings and be level with them. They allow their children to say what they want to say within reason.
  • Administration of fair and consistent discipline
    • Not just fair discipline is efficient. It has to be consistent as well, to create an atmosphere where there is no fear of the unknown.
  • Expression of nurturance and warmth
    • Without this comfort and nurturing, the child will feel isolated and will withdraw even further.
  • Listening to their children
    • Parents will give their children the benefit of the doubt and listen to what they have to say for themselves before jumping to any kind of conclusion.
  • Ability to discuss options freely
    • Authoritative parents let their children make choices and allow them to express what they want in life.
  • Placing of limits, consequences, and expectations
    • Sometimes these limits can be stricter than other styles, but there is communication and understanding between parents and child.

Authoritative parenting is beneficial for both the parent and the child. When there is an environment of open communication, there is an understanding that is hard to replace. The child and parent have a bond between them that promotes self-expression and confidence in skills.

[Read More: Discipline a Toddler]

Based on how a child is treated when he is in his developmental stages, he will grow up accordingly. Since it is so important to make sure that your child is emotionally taken care of and not just physically, this style goes a long way.

Authoritative Parenting Examples

Parents riding bikes with their son

Some examples of authoritative parenting are as follows. These examples show how compromise and discipline work in both the parents’ and child’s favor. They also show how much of an effect this style of parenting really has on the child.

  • When the child wants to have a snack, instead of being able to have free reign of the kitchen, he is allowed to choose from a number of options.
  • When the child takes a toy from a play mate, the parent responds firmly but sensitively. The parents explains the reason that the child is being scolded and uses the opportunity to teach a lesson.
  • The child steals candy from a store and the parents talk to her about stealing and how it is wrong. The child is then disciplined by having to take the candy back and apologize, along with being grounded for a specific, set amount of time.

There are many more situations that can be used to show how authoritative parenting works. Parents will exemplify the behavior that they want their children to have, and will not be unfair when it comes to mistakes being made. When it comes to parenting, authoritative parenting might be the best bet for children.


Mom with her young daughter

Ultimately, the child will grow up and become what they were shaped to be – for the most part, at least. Adults who were raised in authoritative households are more confident and happier than those with authoritarian parents. The comparison is made strictly because the two styles are different but somewhat alike.

  • Good regulation and control of emotion
    • Being allowed to express themselves will help children to develop skills that will help them later on in life when it comes to emotions and feelings.
  • Might tend to have happier dispositions
    • Since children are able to express themselves, they are happier about life and are more comfortable.
  • Good development of social skills
    • The ability to have open conversations with parents allows children to act the same way with others, easily making friends and adjusting to new situations.
  • Self-confidence about their ability to learn new things
    • With sufficient encouragement about their activities and positive reinforcement, children are able to put out their best and be comfortable with new experiences.


To understand authoritative parenting, one must understand why this style is used to begin with. It is to give children a voice and the options that they need to develop and mature. Parents act as role models and exemplify the same behavior that they expect from their children.

Mom holding her baby in arms with endless love

Authoritative parenting works, and there is not much else that needs to be said about that. With good emotional understanding of themselves, parents are able to pass it on to their children with ease. The self-confidence and self-esteem of children with authoritative parents is much higher than that of children who are brought up with other parenting styles.

When children accomplish something, it is not simply what is expected of them, unlike authoritarian parenting. Authoritarian parenting is a good start, but it lacks the love and nurturing that is present in this style and the permissive style.

Regardless of how a child is raised, it is important to consider the effects the style will have. Children are vulnerable, and are shaped and molded by their upbringing. Everything that they go through in life will affect them for the rest of it. When they are treated with respect and understanding, it will be easy for them to do the same to others.


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