Authoritarian Parenting Style and Associated Effects

AuthoritatianAccording to Baumrind (1966; 1968; 1991) authoritarian parents attempt to shape, control, and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of a child using an absolute set of standards that was supposedly formulated by a higher authority.  Obedience is valued as a virtue.  Punitive and forceful discipline is favored to restrain willful behaviors and where the child’s action conflicts with what the parent/s believed to be right.  Such disciplinary actions are believed to inculcate the respect for authority, work, and the preservation of order and traditional structure.  Verbal give or take is not acceptable; the child should accept the parent’s word as right.

Baumrind (1968) suggested that high levels of parental authority provoked rebelliousness in children.  Finney (1961) found that while parental rigidity is associated with covert hostility, firm control was associated with conscience development.  Children of authoritarian parenting are more insecure, apprehensive, more hostile, less content and affiliative than their peers who had authoritative parents (Kaufmann, Gesten & Santa-Lucia, 2000).  Children have also been reported to have a higher rate of classroom behavioral disturbances (Lee, Daniels, & Kissinger, 2006), negatively associated with social competence and peer acceptance (Chen, Dong, & Zhou, 1997).  They also have weaker communications skills (Hart, Yang, Charlesworth & Burts, 2003), as well as having less proficient psychosocial competency and maturity (Lee et al., 2006) than their authoritative counterparts.  Most of the studies reviewed agreed that authoritarian parenting is positively associated with more shyness.  However, it should be noted that shyness can be interpreted differently in different cultural settings (Ang & Goh, 2006; Chen et al., 1997).

Having excessive parental involvement, relative to a child’s developmental ability, can encourage anxiety and undermine the child’s sense of autonomy, which may then foster dependence on the parent, leading to a lack of development in effective coping skills, resulting in the development of internalizing difficulties (Bayer, Sanson, & Hemphill, 2006).  Obedient seeking parents with a strong authoritarian tendency try to control a child through directive initiations that occur in their interaction and enforcing compliance to the directives (Takeuchi, M. & Takeuchi, S., 2008).  Adolescents of authoritarian parents learn that adherence to strict discipline and parental rules are valued over independent behavior; resulting in adolescents becoming rebellious and dependant.  Submissive adolescents remain dependant on their parents (Kopko, 2007).

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