What is Authoritarian Parenting and its Consequences?

Authoritarian parenting is just as its name suggests. It is a parent using their status, age and power to rule with authority. It is often seen by the child as being an authority devoid of love. The parent may love their child but so great is the desire of the parent to instill discipline into their offspring, that the child sees little if any love being shown by their parent.

The parent or parents want success for their child whether it be academic, sporting, social or whatever. So strong is the will of the parent to see their child ‘succeed’ that the child is subjected to a rigorous and on-going regime of hard work. In this type of situation, many children equate love with a high score in school grades or success on the sporting field.

There are several consequences of authoritarian parenting and the greatest is probably a broken or less than complete relationship between parent and child. As children grow they experience different problems. In seeking guidance and advice, the child tends to gravitate to a person with whom they feel empathy and love. A strict and pushy parent may not be that person so a major consequence is the fact that authoritarian parents can miss the intimacy and shared experiences many parents have with their children.

Another sad and misguided aspect of authoritarian parenting is the lack of understanding with words and behavior. There is a marked difference between discipline and punishment. A successful parent will guide their child to impose their own form of self-discipline. A parent who administers punishment is seeking to impose their will upon their child. It seldom if ever works. In fact over the years, authoritarian parenting has become discredited and is rarely recommended today.

There are several types of parenting styles or approaches and authoritarian parenting can be divided broadly into two types – intrusive or non-intrusive. Both types issue clear and precise directions but some will have a high involvement in the reaction of the child while the other tends to remain separate from the day to day activities of the child seeking only to judge the child according to the results achieved.

One of the saddest aspects of authoritarian parenting is the expectation by the parent that their word is law, that the child may not challenge or question the authority of the parent and that the child should accept the attitudes and goals of the parents. All of this is to be carried out by the child without question. The consequences of this type of parenting are potentially serious for the present and the future.

Communication is a two-way street and by denying the child the opportunity to discuss an issue, the bond between the parent and child may be broken with serious consequences for the future. If the attitudes and goals of the parent are not those of the child, then a most unhappy relationship will exist and possibly continue well into the future.

It’s true that most parents want their children to love and respect them. The problem is finding a way to raise your children which involves discipline but always includes love and respect from both the parent and the child.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

What are Different Parenting Styles?

What is Permissive Parenting and its Consequences?