Authoritarian parents are more likely to raise children who are disrespectful and delinquent, research finds.
Parents who are authoritarian tend to have very high standards for their children, punish them severely and are also cold and non-nurturing.
They have no patience with bad behaviour, they don’t trust their children and they do not negotiate.
The problem is that children do not see them as legitimate authority figures — which is what creates problems.
Dr Rick Trinkner, the study’s first author, said:
“When children consider their parents to be legitimate authority figures, they trust the parent and feel they have an obligation to do what their parents tell them to do.
This is an important attribute for any authority figure to possess, as the parent does not have to rely on a system of rewards and punishments to control behavior, and the child is more likely to follow the rules when the parent is not physically present.”
The authoritative parenting style, in comparison to the authoritarian style, is an effective way to raise children.
An authoritative parent can be both controlling and demanding, but is also warm and receptive to children.
Authoritative parents gain their children’s trust by explaining the reasons for the rules and listening to their child’s input.
Dr Trinkner said:
“Our results showed that parental legitimacy was an important mechanism by which parenting styles affected adolescent behavior.”
Adolescents who perceived parents as legitimate were then less likely to engage in delinquent behavior.
Thus, authoritative parenting may be more effective than the other styles because this style makes adolescents more willing to accept their parents’ attempts to socialize them and subsequently follow their rules.”
The conclusions come from data collected through the New Hampshire Youth Study, which looked at the factors affecting adolescent delinquency.
Authoritarian parents were not seen positively by their children, said Dr Trinkner:
“Conversely, authoritarian parents have the opposite effect in that they actually reduce the likelihood of their children perceiving their authority as legitimate.
Adolescents from authoritarian parents are more likely to resist their parents’ attempts at socialization.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Adolescence (Trinkner et al., 2012).