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Authoritative vs Authoritarian Parenting Essay

Parenting can be very difficult at times, but also rewarding other times. Children are a blessing and everyone has their own way of raising their children. Every set of parents has their own expectations, ways of discipline, setting rules and the place they hope their child will someday make it; the person they hope their kid will become.

While authoritative and authoritarian are both parenting styles that will raise your children to know what is right and what is wrong, authoritarian parents take time to relate to their children to help them make the right decisions for themselves, while authoritative parents resort to punishments and force right and wrong on their children. There are three main types of parenting styles but when it comes to two in particular, authoritative and authoritarian, one is all about harsh punishment while the other is about talking it through.

When it comes to punishing children, these two styles have two very different ways of teaching their children lessons. Authoritative parents generally like to sit down and talk it out. They will try to understand why there child did what they did and explain to them why it was unacceptable. A lot of times, when parents can stay calm and use the phrase, “I am not mad but very disappointed in your actions and the decision you made,” it tends to make the child feel worse and think about what they have done. There will also be consequences, such as losing a privilege or maybe a grounding of some type.

On the other hand, authoritarians can sometimes lose their cool and jump straight to a spanking or physical punishment. When they can keep their calm and do not jump straight to this, it can sometimes end in screaming or a long time out session. For example, if the children are fighting over something the authoritative parents might tell them if they can take turns or share then they can continue using that toy, but if not then they will have to play something else. Whereas the authoritarian will simply take it away and tell them that maybe next time they will learn not to fight.

This generally seems to make children angrier than understanding and can sometimes lead to lashing out and other times just lead to them being afraid of making mistakes and afraid of their parents’ altogether. In all parents there is a fine line of expectations that are made clear at an early age and progress and change into different expectations as the children get older. All children should know and understand their expectations and know what rules are to be followed, but sometimes children use their bad judgment and don’t listen or just fall short of what is expected at times.

This is normal for children of all ages. Authoritative parents make expectations clear just as well as authoritarian parents; however they handle what is expected a little differently. They know children will test limits at times or maybe just not understand what is expected of them or why, and this parenting style allows questioning about what is expected and why it is expected. They are open to explanation and understanding, although these expectations will not change. They are also good about working with their children to achieve what is expected and stay focused and out of trouble.

On the other hand, authoritarian parents are opposite because they do not feel they need to explain to their children why they expect what they do of them or why a rule is the way it is. Like the authoritative parents the rules will not bend or change but they also will not be given emphasis to either. When the expectations are not met these types of parents are usually overcome with anger, like most parents would be, but it will result in one of the punishments mentioned previously. They can be similar in some way but when it comes to how things are gone about it is mostly opposite.

Every household will have a set of rules and things that should be followed, such as, maybe a curfew, bed time or certain chores that must be done before fun can be had. In an authoritative household, these rules are discussed and made clear. Whenever there is a change, it is talked about as well. They let their children know the rules. These parents also try to keep the relationship open to the point where their children learn to make decisions and have good judgment on their own, in other words, prepare them for the real world.

In the authoritarian household the rules are also specific and made clear, but instead of them letting their children learn for themselves and trusting their judgment, they set punishments for these rules being broken to ensure they won’t be broken. They also don’t give the reasoning. It is more of a, “because I said so,” manner. In the authoritative style, children learn to think for themselves and rise above the influence of others and can make decisions wisely. The other children may try to rebel because they get tired of the way their parents are or just may be too afraid so they don’t have much of a social life to begin with.

Both styles can teach the kids what is needed for life, but the authoritative style usually seems to sink in with the children more, especially when it comes to teenagers. While some parents may find it easier to make threats and push punishments onto their children to somewhat scare them and to get them to listen and “behave,” other parents find joy in instilling good judgment in their kids by talking them through things and establishing expectations through setting good examples and following them themselves.

Every parent wants the best for their child and every parent has their own way of making the best. Parenting is difficult and can be stressful. However, maintaining their cool to explain things to your child does seem to be having a better outcome for the child. They will be comfortable making mistakes they can learn from, rather than feeling like they cannot make a mistake at all.


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