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Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting was very common about a hundred years ago, when parents controlled their children completely, and held them on tight reins. Usually, parenting has two aspects to it: responsiveness, which includes parental nurturing and support, and demanding behavior, whereby the parent expects and demands high level of discipline and unquestioning obedience. In authoritarian parenting, the parent is highly demanding, but is not responsive. Expression of love or affection is limited or even absent. People who believe in authoritarian parenting are usually very conscious about status, and particular about discipline. They expect their orders to be obeyed without any explanation being given. Their homes are always maintained in highly orderly manners, and everything has to function with clockwork precision, according to their rules. They also expect their children to accept their values, decisions, judgments and goals entirely and unquestioningly. They set absolute standards for shaping, evaluating and controlling the behaviors and attitudes of their adolescent children.

Often, as a result of authoritarian parenting, a child has no privacy or say in any matter. The parent tends to be highly intrusive and autocratic. Further, these parents tend to be obsessed with behavioral control and psychological control of the child. They use weapons like withdrawal of love, shaming, and making the child feel guilty, to get their child to behave appropriately and obey parental rules. Children may perform reasonably well at school and may not display any behavioral problems as a result of authoritarian parenting. However, they often suffer from low self-esteem, high levels of depression, and have poor social skills. They have never been engaged in verbal discussions or exchanges at home, and consequently tend to be awkward and nervous conversationalists.

Adolescents, subject to authoritarian parenting, are raised with high values for obedience, respect for authority and work traditions. They are expected to excel, and often are goaded to do so in the hope of winning parental approval and love. The kids may be very good at obeying authority, but often lack inner discipline. Without parental control or supervision they cannot achieve much, as independence was never encouraged in childhood. Unfortunately, this adolescent rarely turns to his or her parents when help or guidance is required, as there are fears of being considered useless, or even of being punished. Thus, parents miss out on guiding the child when he or she needs it most. Parents should to try and achieve a balance between having high expectations and displaying genuine affection. Only then will children be motivated from within to succeed.

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Submitted by:

James Gunaseelan

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