Parents who fall under this classification of parenting style tend to demand absolute obedience from their children, no ifs, ands, or buts. Parents who practice authoritarian parenting do not believe they need to explain any of the rules they set, and they expect children to obey, no questions asked. They exert their will over their children and punish them with little warmth or support. Children of authoritarian parents often exhibit low self-esteem, depression, and fear of new situations.
Parents who practice permissive parenting don’t discipline or impose rules; they don’t want to have any conflict with their children believe kids should regulate themselves. They are warm and emotionally responsive to their children, which is good; but they are reluctant to set boundaries or control their kids’ behavior, which really isn’t. They give in to their kids’ demands and ignore misbehavior, which can have negative consequences for kids.
Research has shown that children who are raised by permissive parents are impulsive, disregard rules and limits, tend to have escalating levels of aggression and a higher risk of substance abuse as they get older, and even have a higher risk of depression and anxiety. (It makes sense–when children are not given limits and feel like they have control over their parents, it can be a very scary and stressful thing for them; this is exactly why kids need boundaries and rules.)
This style of parenting is the “not too hot, not too cold” porridge of the parenting styles. It has elements of authoritarian parenting (parents set rules and limits, enforce rules, and give kids consequences when they do not follow them) but authoritative parents are emotionally responsive and warm and listen and communicate with their children. Authoritative parents give kids respect and listen (and expect kids to do the same) and encourage kids to be independent thinkers, but they do not give in to kids and expect cooperation and good behavior. When kids do something wrong, authoritative parents will discipline by trying to guide and teach their kids, and modify what they expect from kids depending on the situation and a child’s individual needs. This approach to parenting has been shown to lead to the best outcomes in kids, including better emotional health, social skills, more resiliency, and more secure attachments with their parents. (More benefits of authoritative parenting are detailed below.)