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Why The Authoritative Parenting Style Has The Best Results

The most challenging aspect of being a parent is figuring out how to raise your children, so that they have both great academic results and emotional stability. Parents want to create a safe environment for their children, but at the same time, they want them to be independent and responsible. While there are quite a lot of models and tips on how to raise our kids, authoritative parenting stands out from the rest. But why?

There are four widely-accepted parenting styles and the authoritative one proves time and time again that it achieves the most positive results. The reason for this is that instead of parents telling children what to do and what not to, they encourage their children to express their emotional needs and worries, even when they are being disciplined. Authoritative parenting is all about having a conversation with your children, instead of acting like you know better.

The authoritative parenting style helps children create tight bonds with their parents; these relationships assure them that their needs, both physical and emotional, will be met. While authoritative parents are demanding, they are also reasonable and flexible. They don’t force their children into doing things they absolutely don’t want to (as long as the denial doesn’t have serious consequences); while there are rules in place, they are not as strict as it’s the case with authoritarian parents. Instead, there is a balance between choice and responsibility. Parents let their children solve problems on their own and express their own point of view regarding their lives. By not fully controlling them, children will sense that the parents are responsive and sensitive to their needs.

The fact that they are allowed to feel empowered is instrumental when it comes to developing academic skills, gaining social acceptance, becoming emotionally strong and building up the self-esteem. When children aren’t allowed to take the wheel and steer, they are increasingly more predisposed to committing delinquency or to acting out of resentment.

THESE ARE THE BEST WAYS TO IMPLEMENT THE AUTHORITATIVE PARENTING STYLE:

1) SHOW YOUR CHILDREN THAT YOU CARE

Sure, when you are dealing with adult problems of your own, it’s sometimes hard to be in the right mind frame to care about your children’s problems as well. When you have to write a report for the next day, you don’t feel like listening how Stacy mocked Julie for her poor drawing skills. Yet, do make an effort and show them that you are worried about their well-being and that you always want to be the first one to know if they are facing a problem, no matter how minor. Ask them about their day, ask them if they had any problems, if anything negative happened, if anyone bothered them. They will appreciate it.

2) PRAISE EVERY ACCOMPLISHMENT

 But will I not spoil my children if I constantly praise them? Well, there is a reason why we ask you to praise every accomplishment and not just praise in general. Children love this kind of motivation. They love to feel that they are useful, that you are proud of them and rewarding them for their good deeds reinforces the positive behavior. It doesn’t always have to be a big achievement like getting an A+ at school; every single milestone deserves the praise. You can praise them for remembering to feed the fish, take out the dog, clean their rooms, turn off the TV before you asked them to. Make sure though to delete “Good job!” from your vocabulary and try to be as specific as possible when encouraging them. Also, ensure that the praise is indeed for milestones, thus avoiding the ‘praise junkie’ path, where you even praise your kids for waking up at 7 AM, because if you put them on a pedestal, they might not be willing to try new things, because they are afraid of not being able to stay at the top.

3) BE REASONABLE IN YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Don’t ask your kids things you know they can’t do. Adjust your expectations accordingly, because if you are too demanding and they can’t comply with everything, they will end up feeling like failures. It’s like asking a goalkeeper to become an attacker – it’s not impossible, but it’s unrealistic. Instead, see what you children like and what they are good at, being flexible about it. For instance, if they can’t go jogging for one hour straight, make it half an hour until they feel comfortable enough to run for a longer time. As a parent, you have to avoid exhausting them, otherwise they won’t feel pleasure in anything they do.

4) ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR OPINIONS

 Don’t dismiss what they have to say just because they don’t have your life experience. Children can be brutally honest and that honesty can sometimes be an eye-opener. You have probably seen that video with the girl who is asking for their parents to remain friends and get along well, even though they divorced, right? It’s that kind of simple, but meaningful thinking that tugs at your heartstrings. Precisely because they don’t see the world through your complicated filter, their opinions can often be more valuable.

5) BE CONSISTENT

Don’t tell your kids that they will not receive those toys as gifts, because they misbehaved, only to buy them 6 hours later. The lack of consistency makes you an unreliable leader, because you are not able to keep with your promises, no matter if positive or negative. If you promise to do something for them, you do it. If you promise not to do something for them, you don’t. Otherwise, they won’t feel secure and will stop taking you seriously.

6) DISCIPLINE THEM WITHOUT USING DRASTIC PUNISHMENTS

 Children always have to know what they are disciplined for and understand that their choices have consequences they need to face. If they didn’t do their homework, they will receive a bad grade. If they didn’t clean their rooms, they will have trouble finding the things they need. If they ate too many sweets, they won’t receive any for the next 4 days. From a young age, they have to know that every action has consequences and the discipline, more than being a punishment, should be a conversation. Parents need to tell them what they did wrong, ask them why they did it and ask them how that thing can be done differently. Because children have a short attention span, they need to be disciplined the moment they misbehave, otherwise they won’t be able to remember what they did wrong and when. For authoritative parents, disciplining their children is an opportunity, rather than a duty. What makes this parenting style so effective is that parents don’t assume. They don’t assume that the children know what’s wrong, know what they did or know that they shouldn’t do it anymore. They will ensure that the children got the message and will assist them in finding acceptable ways to deal with the situation they are in. While a punishment can occur, unlike children having authoritarian parents, they will understand why it happened.

7) SHOW YOUR LOVE

Yes, authoritative parenting is demanding, but it also gives something in return and one of those things is love. Show your affection towards your children without waiting for that ‘special occasion’. Do it frequently. Do it randomly. Do it all the time. Demonstrating your love is also an important aspect of nurturing parenting – children need to feel love and to feel that they mean something to you.

THE PROS AND CONS OF AUTHORITATIVE PARENTING

+PROS

  • Children become more respectful of the people they get in touch with
  • They feel confident in the skills they have developed and also have the same confidence to try new things
  • They have the right motivation to learn new things and use them in their everyday lives
  • They are strong, both mentally and emotionally, since they grew up in an environment where they were able to learn an important set of values
  • They distance themselves from gender stereotypes, judging tastes and traits by person, not gender
  • Children know what their parents want of them and also the needed steps to reach their goals
  • They feel at ease with asking questions and expressing their opinions, instead of fearing their parents’ reaction
  • They can have responsibilities which will boost their self-esteem
  • They respect their parents instead of fearing them; this means that they will behave not because they fear the punishments, but because they feel that their parents don’t deserve a disappointment.

-CONS

  • Because rules are flexible, parents sometimes need to be prepared for unexpected questions, which will need different responses, depending on the situation, which might not be covered by the broad set of house rules
  • If children are temperamental, trying to reason with them when they have tantrums can be particularly challenging, requiring a lot of patience.

 

Authoritative parenting isn’t for everyone though, because it’s a style that requires commitment. If you want to give your children room to develop emotionally and mentally, by encouraging their creativity and social skills, it’s a great method, albeit not without its flaws. You can’t just magically set it in motion and expect everything to be perfect. Children have their own unique traits and moods, and sometimes authoritative parenting needs more work and dedication to get the desired results. Do you think authoritative parenting is a style you feel identified with?

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