Authoritative style of parenting

Thrive Psychology Clinic > Blog > Authoritative style of parenting

July 2, 2020 / By thadmin2

Authoritative parenting is described as having high warmth and high need for control. This means that authoritative parents give their children lots of love and support, and communicate well with them. They set clear guidelines for their children to follow, but they are not unreasonable with their expectations. While the same parenting style may look different in different families, authoritative parenting focuses on creating a healthy balance. Authoritative parents are nurturing and supportive, yet firm.


Finding a balance between being loving and being strict at appropriate times is not easy. So why are we emphasising the importance of authoritative parenting? According to developmental research, children that grow up under authoritative parenting are more likely to have higher levels of subjective well-being, better academic and work performance, and are less likely to engage in socially undesirable behaviours such as delinquency and drug abuse. 


You might be wondering: why does authoritative parenting work the best instead of the other parenting styles? Isn’t it more important to be permissive and just provide them with lots of care while letting them do what they want? Wouldn’t my child achieve good grades and not engage in undesirable behaviours as long as I am an authoritarian and control everything that they do? In most studies, it is found that authoritative parenting produces children with more favourable outcomes. The warmth and sensitivity in authoritative parenting produce children who are securely attached, which leads them to form healthy relationships in future, and have higher self-esteem (Bowlby, 1988). The consistent discipline and expectations that authoritative parents impose on their children allow them to quickly recognise any undesirable behaviours, and thus they are less likely to engage in antisocial behaviours. 

Here are some ways you can become a more authoritative parent:


Grant Your Child Autonomy.

Unlike authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting is not about being the superior figure and controlling everything that your child does. Instead, show them that you’re on their side by guiding them and offering any advice when they need it most while still leaving them to explore the world on their own. Encouraging independence from young will prevent them from over-relying on you as they grow up, and allow them to develop a more stable sense of self. Trust your child and let them make their own decisions, learn through their own mistakes, and solve problems by themselves. This will also help them gain more confidence in themselves. 


Listen to Your Child.

Authoritative parenting involves validating your child’s feelings and acknowledging their wants and needs. This allows them to trust and confide in you whenever they have any concerns, which will help them develop emotional stability as they grow up. Instead of always expecting your child to listen to you, spend some time listening to them as well. This not only helps you to understand them better but also, the consistent positive attention you give them will allow them to feel more loved and secure, which helps in preventing possible behavioural problems in future. Allowing them to express their opinions freely will also help them have higher self-esteem. 


Administer Fair and Consistent Discipline. 

Children are bound to make mistakes as they are still learning to differentiate between what is right and wrong. From the start, it is good to let your child know the expectations you have of them. For example, let them know that hitting their younger brother is wrong, and there will be a punishment for it. Each time you catch them doing so, you have to call him/her out immediately and impose the punishment you set. It is not okay to be inconsistent as they will think that they are not doing anything wrong, or that they can get away with doing it anyway. Also, explain to them the reasons for punishing them. Instead of just scolding them for hitting their sibling, teach them that violence is not the way to solve problems, and their sibling will be very hurt. This will allow them to better understand why they should not be showing such behaviours, and they will also be less likely to do so even when you are not around.


Parenting can be tough and confusing, but if you would like additional resources on children, do check out our wide range of online content, which includes educational videos, podcasts and e-books. The aim of our digital downloads is to provide content that enriches parents with some understanding of possible problems that may arise as your children are growing up, and how to deal with them. If you would like to arrange for a consultation, do contact us and we would be happy to assist you! 



Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. New York: Basic Books