Parenting Styles and Research on Authoritative Parenting – Part 3

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Before World War II, most parents used the Authoritarian Parenting Style. After World War II after all of the terrible things that happened, people asked how else they could treat people of different religions and countries of origin. People then began to ask how else they could treat senior citizens and people with disabilities or differing abilities.

Then, people began to ask how else they could treat children. People decided to do the opposite of the Authoritarian Parenting Style which is the more Permissive or Indulgent Parenting Style. After a generation or so of some children being raised with the Permissive Parenting Style, it turns out that that approach does not yield the best results for children.

After much thought and consideration, parents began using the approach that is in between the Authoritarian and the Permissive Parenting Style. This place in the middle is known as the Authoritative Parenting Style. It is also known as the Democratic approach and the Positive Parenting approach. Research now shows that this middle approach yields the best outcomes for children. The links to the research supporting that approach are at the bottom of this blog post.

What makes parenting style so important to discuss is that many of today’s parents were not raised with the Authoritative Parenting Style. So many of us do not have an Authoritative Parenting Style model/”blueprint” inside of us to use in raising the next generation of children . In my view, learning about the Authoritative parenting approach is the first step for those parents who are seeking better parenting tools and an improved relationship with their children.

I do have one advisement: Even parents who are wanting to use the Authoritative Parenting Style, may find themselves not being able to hold firm to this approach during times of stress. It is not uncommon for parents to revert back to the familiar: either the Authoritarian or the Permissive Parenting Style when time is short, there is too much to do, you have had too little sleep, etc. This can happen to even the most conscientious parent.

How Do We Parent?

“Parental Warmth: parental responsiveness and affection toward the child(ren)

Parental Control: how demanding or restrictive parents are toward their child(ren)”


From: 2009 University of Minnesota Extension

“Five Criteria for Positive Discipline:

  1. Helps children feel a sense of connection: Belonging and significance.
  2. Is mutually respectful and encouraging: Kind and firm at the same time.
  3. Is effective long-term: Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.
  4. Teaches important social and life skills: Respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.
  5. Invites children to discover how capable they are: Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.”

From Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson

Research Supporting the Authoritative Parenting Style/Positive Parenting




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