How to Be an Authoritative Parent

You may be wondering if you are doing it right. Is your parenting style effective or good for your child? Am I disciplining them right? These are some questions that you might ask yourself often.

Parenting is never an easy task and we all have a unique way of parenting. Over time, it can be more challenging. But with the advantage of research, there are now many studies that can help you with your parenting.

If you are looking for guidance about your parenting style, this blog is for you. Read on as we discuss different ways to utilize this specific parenting style and the characteristics of being an authoritative parent.

What is an Authoritative Parenting Style?

Authoritative parenting is a style of parenting that was first defined by a psychologist named Diane Bauramind. It is a way of parenting that has high demands and responsiveness. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children’s emotional needs while having standards for their children, setting limits, and being consistent in enforcing boundaries.

According to research on parenting styles, children thrive in their environments when their parents are authoritative and engaged. They form solid attachments with their parents, an emotional link that allows them to believe that their physical and emotional needs will be addressed.

When there is a healthy balance of choice and responsibility, children feel empowered. Once their children experience failure, authoritative parents expect them to meet high standards while also being willing to reason with them and be flexible.

Children regard their parents as open and responsive to their needs because they have authoritative parents who allow them to have a voice in what happens in their life. As a result, children learn to negotiate, become self-sufficient, succeed academically, develop self-discipline, be socially accepted, and have higher self-esteem.

If children are not given these advantages, they develop anger and act out their emotions, which can lead to behavioral issues as well as an increased risk of delinquency and drug use during adolescence.

What Are the Characteristics of an Authoritative Parent?

While authoritative parents have high expectations, they also have a tendency to be flexible. If there are extenuating circumstances, authoritative parents will respond appropriately.

Authoritative parents alter and adapt their approach based on the situation, their child’s needs, and other considerations. Discipline, on the other hand, considers all factors, such as the child’s behavior, the circumstances, and so on.

  • When rules are broken, enforce them in a fair and consistent manner.
  • allowing their children to have a voice
  • Empower their children to talk about their possibilities.
  • Warmth and nurturing expressions
  • promoting self-reliance and logic
  • Parents who pay attention to their children
  • Limiting, enforcing, and setting standards for their children’s behavior

Ways on How to Implement an Authoritative Style

The good news is that anyone can learn to be a more authoritative parent. You can also tailor authoritative parenting approaches according to your child’s personality to avoid using a cookie-cutter approach to parenting.

Here are some ways that can help you utilize your authoritative style:

Validate Your Child’s Emotions

Acknowledging your child’s emotions is a vital part of their development (especially for kids below 10 years old). Authoritative parents help their children to understand their own emotions by labeling them accordingly. Instead of saying “it’s okay” or “hey, stop crying”. Teach them that it is okay to cry and feel their emotions. By this technique, parents are teaching their children to also validate their own feelings.

It is correcting the behavior that is important, not the emotions. Tell your child that it is acceptable to be angry, but if they hit others, giving them fair consequences is important. Tell them that it’s fine to be excited, but running around the grocery store is not. Then spend your efforts teaching them appropriate ways to deal with their emotions.

Avoid Negative Punishment and Consider Their Feelings

Being an authoritative parent means letting your child understand that you are in charge, but taking your child’s feelings into consideration. Ask them how they feel about certain decisions or circumstances in your family.

Take advantage of teaching them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Studies show that implementing negative punishment often leads to aggression later in life and poor child-parent relationships. Instead, reward their good behavior.

According to B.F Skinner, a behavior that is followed by a pleasant consequence (reward) is more likely to be repeated. Hence, he coined the term “positive reinforcement”. Instead of focusing on punishing your child’s mistakes, teach them to learn from experience. Discuss other options and ask what the motive was behind their actions.

Provide Clear Boundaries

Authoritative parents set firm ground rules for their children. They make certain that children understand their expectations ahead of time, and they give reasons behind their rules.

As your child learns about the underlying concerns of your rules, safety issues, or moral reasons. He or she will gain a better understanding of life. They may also be more likely to comply with the rules if you are not present to enforce them.

Encourage Healthy Child-Parent Relationship

Most parents believe being strong and strict is all it takes to discipline a child. With an authoritative parenting style, it’s vice versa. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your kids is important. Not only does it encourage respect for each other, but it also builds trust.

It’s not about yelling commands and demanding compliance through authoritative parenting. Instead, it’s about setting a positive example for children and teaching them life skills.

Listen to Your Children

Children who have authoritative parents listen to their opinions more than those whose parents are authoritarians. Their concerns are listened to, and their ideas are shared. No matter what your child tells you for the tenth time or what long-winded story they share with you, be a good listener. Preventing behavior problems begins with giving your child positive attention.

Taking Your Child’s Feelings Into Consideration 

Taking into account your child’s feelings is part of being authoritative. Nevertheless, that does not mean that your child gets to vote as well-that would amount to permissive parenting. You should let your child know that you have complete control but that you also care about what your decisions mean. In other words, if you’re planning to move across the country, ask your children how they feel about the move-but don’t ask if it’s OK if you move. It is extremely difficult for kids to make decisions that are as important as those that adults make. When they know adults know best, they feel more secure.

Clearly Define Your Rules.

Household rules are clearly defined by authoritative parenting. They explain the reasons behind their rules and ensure kids know their expectations in advance. As opposed to saying, “Go to sleep because I told you so,” say, “Go to sleep so you can keep your body and mind healthy.” When your child understands the health risks, safety concerns, moral issues, or social reasons behind your rules, they will be better equipped for life. Moreover, they’ll be more likely to follow the rules even if you’re not around to enforce them.

Provide One Warning for Minor Infractions

Practice authoritative parenting by giving immediate consequences for major rule violations. You may place an offending child in a time-out or take away a privilege if they hit you. Nonetheless, authoritative parents warn their children about minor issues. Children are told what will happen if they do not change their behavior. Saying such meaningless things as “Knock it off” or “Don’t make me repeat myself” will only waste your time. Instead, directly tell them that what they’re doing is wrong and it will have consequences. Your child needs to know that you mean what you say. Follow through with consequences if they ignore your warning. Don’t offer more than one warning at a time. When you repeat yourself often, your child learns not to pay attention to you the first time.

The Consequences You Use Should Teach Life Lessons

Kids don’t suffer for their mistakes with authoritative parenting. Neither shame nor corporal punishment is used. Furthermore, they do not go on guilt trips or use phrases like, “I’m so disappointed in you.” In this way, they help a child realize he or she made a mistake, but they are not defective. It is often the case that consequences follow logically. Children who refuse to turn off their video games might lose video gaming privileges for 24 hours. Set your child up for future success by creating consequences that will help them learn to do better. If your child hits their sibling, take away a privilege instead of spanking them. After that, work on emotional control and conflict resolution skills. Ask, “What can you do when you get angry to prevent hitting?” Next, teach them other options to avoid hitting them. Apply consequences in a time-sensitive manner, as well.

Motivate Children with Rewards

Children are motivated by rewards in an authoritative parenting style. However, they don’t dole out lavish gifts to kids. Rather than simply telling a child to behave, they use incentives to help them get back on track. To get rid of bad behavior, authoritative parents would give rewards for good behavior. Positive rewards for academic achievement are also common in authoritative families. Celebrating small achievements is also a form of reward. In most cases, it is based on following rules and instructions, but this can sometimes become a double-edged sword. The authoritative approach of positive reinforcement for positive behavior can be abused or misused, so be careful not to overdo it. It is up to the parents to determine when the child’s actions need a big reward or simple praise.

Allow Your Child to Decide on Little Things

In the authoritative style of parenting, we often give kids a sense of freedom of choice to a certain degree. Of course, a child will not be able to decide on big things, but empowering the child to decide on little things will go a long way. Freedom to decide on small matters that affect them directly is the best place to start. Start by letting them choose what they wear or what they want to eat, but remember to guide them in their choices, but give them the final say.

Freedom and Responsibility Go Hand in Hand

As you give them freedom, the authoritative parent will remind the children of responsibility and accountability. Slowly introduce the concept to kids to set them up for successful adult life. But make sure the child gets all your support, and you will be there to help them rise from failure.

If your child is having difficulties with something, you should develop a behavior management plan to assist your child in his or her efforts to become more independent in that situation. At first, give your child extra support, but watch out for signs that they are becoming more reliant on you to tell them what to do. Their level of self-sufficiency should gradually increase.

Making Mistakes is a Learning Opportunity

The authoritative parenting style would not embarrass kids for making mistakes. They help them identify how mistakes can be transformed into educational experiences. Authoritative parents will explain the mistakes to the kids and figure out how to fix them together. They would also encourage the children to create action plans to be better and avoid making the same mistakes.

Unintentionally breaking the rules and schedules is a frequent learning opportunity for small kids and can be very tiring for parents. But be patient; the more kids understand their mistakes, the more likely they are to form good character later on.

Promote Self-Discipline

An authoritative parent is not concerned with controlling their children; rather, they want to teach them how to control themselves. Do not always calm your child when they are upset. Ensure that they understand how to calm their own emotions. Be patient with your children, and don’t nag them. Assist them in developing the responsibility to complete their own work. Establish a behavioral management plan that emphasizes life skills. A person’s ability to control their emotions, manage their anger, and develop self-discipline will serve them well throughout their life.

Final Thoughts

Parenting does not have a perfect formula. It is always said that it is not an easy task and it gets more challenging as your kids grow up. But getting to know your child’s needs and capabilities can help you learn how to be a better parent.

If you are interested in an authoritative style, try not to be too strict yet not too lenient. There’s always a balance between opposites. Practice gives them the chance to express their thoughts in front of you. Have regular discussions about their choices and needs to guide them.

Especially during their adolescence, they tend to trust others (including their friends) to listen to them, resulting in a bad influence and establishing a bad relationship with their parents.

Even on days when they misbehave, set aside a few minutes each day to offer your child your undivided attention. Spending quality time with your child can help them feel loved and accepted, which is essential for them to feel confident in who they are and what they are capable of.



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

Boss Parenting
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