Yesterday was Mothers’ Day – a special day for all the hard-working moms out there. Being a good mother often means putting your kids’ needs first. It means finding the time and energy to be there for your children even when you are very tired. It sometimes involves making the difficult choice of saying “no” to your child when it would be so much easier to say “yes.” But it also involves compromising and sometimes finding a way to get to “yes.” Good parenting involves raising not only disciplined children, but empowered children with their own strong voices and values. Research shows that a style of parenting known as “authoritative parenting” can best achieve these goals, compared to parenting that is too authoritarian or too permissive.
Authoritative parenting is a parenting style characterized by high expectations but also high responsiveness. Being an authoritative parent involves being willing to listen to your child and reason with them, rather than demanding blind obedience. Parents set out to earn children’s respect by being a good parent and role model, rather than demanding respect just because they are the authority figure.
Below are some other characteristics of authoritative parents
- They are warm, nurturing, and attuned to their children’s needs.
- They set limits on disrespectful, unhealthy, or destructive behavior
- They enforce rules and limits consistently and fairly.
- They encourage children to be independent and don’t overprotect
- Their children are allowed to have their own opinions, and preferences
- They are genuinely interested in their children’s lives, goals, and viewpoints.
- They give their children choices and teach them to take responsibility for the consequences
- They explain the reasons for their decisions and show flexibility and a give and take attitude
- They teach children to tolerate frustration, persevere, and learn from mistakes
What effect does authoritative parenting have on kids?
Not surprisingly, children of authoritative parents do well at school and with peers. The combination of being attuned to your child and setting clear expectations and limits lays a solid foundation that helps your child work hard, get along, make healthy choices, and succeed.
Studies have found that preschoolers with authoritative parents:
- Have good social skills
- Are warm and cooperative
- Show competence and independence
- Have good emotion-regulation skills
Older children with authoritative parents:
- Participate more in school activities
- Have better mental health and self-esteem
- Are more successful academically
- Show social competence with peers
As many of us know, parenting can be a delicate balance between listening to and caring for your child and curbing destructive or disrespectful behavior. Authoritative parenting combines nurturing and warmth with encouragement for autonomy and setting limits. Good parenting involves not only warmth and affection, but also teaching children the skills to manage anxiety and anger, control impulses, set goals, communicate, contribute, and compromise. When parents make clear what they value and expect and help children develop the skills to meet these standards, kids develop skills and self-confidence. Parents are primarily teachers. We teach our kids by the examples we set, the values we live by, and by how we treat them. Enforcing limits patiently and fairly with kids takes lots of time and energy, but it well worth the investment in your kids’ future.