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Megan Harvey
ENC 1101
Professor. McGriff
February 26th 2015
Compare and Contrast
Two approaches to parenting.
Being a parent in todays world is a challenging task in itself. It is probably one of the
most difficult, yet rewarding things anyone can ever do. The role you take in raising children
plays an important part in building up a childs individual characteristics. In order for children to
grow up with the knowledge required to make wise decisions, it is important for parents to be
involved, but in what ways? Should they be strict and firm as the authoritarian parent or have
high standards, but are kind and nurturing such as the authoritative parent? While authoritarian
and authoritative parenting approaches are similar in some ways, they each have their own
individual strengths and weaknesses.

Firstly, the authoritarian parenting approach requires children to follow the rules
sternly put in place by the parents. Parents set strict rules and high expectations to try to control
over the child, and they usually do this without expression of warmth or affection. These
children are expected to obey their parents without question, and failure to follow the rules often
lead to harsh punishment. For example: the parent might say Because I said so, and not give
any explanation as to why. Punishment may include threats, intimidation, physical or emotional
abuse, and sometimes can result with neglect in severe cases.

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Unfortunately, the benefits of authoritarian parenting are limited. The advantage
to using this approach is that, while using the authoritarian approach, it will eventually shape
their children to be obedient and responsible adults. Authoritarian parenting also offers a clear
difference between bad and good so children may be less likely to break rules or commit other
wrongful actions. The children in authoritarian homes have a clear awareness of what the rules
are, and whats expected of them. They have a strong respect for authority and follow
instructions well. However, most people dont agree with this method, there are some
circumstances, such as, cultural and ethnical instances where it could be necessary. There is
good reason to believe that the effects of specific parenting practices on childrens development
may in fact be moderated by the larger context in which the child lives. Poor and minority
youngsters are more likely to live in relatively more dangerous environments than their white,
middle-class peers, and they may benefit from levels of parental control that would appear
excessively strict in other environments. (Journal of Research on Adolescence 1.1 (1991):
1936)
Authoritarian parentings strict rules, however, can lead to major long term
disadvantages. This style restricts the children from thinking or speaking for themselves, and as a
result can lead to low self-esteem and even depression. Sometimes children rebel, and become
aggressive or violent, and they may center more on being angry at their parents for the
punishment rather than learning how to make judgments and solve-problems on their own. They
can also develop a fear of trying new things because theyre afraid of failure. The child from a
control hostility home is given both attention and rejection from anger-controlling parents.
He/she is reinforced for complete obedience, appears to be an ideal child, and is submissive with
no aggression. But this is a child who hates and may show neurotic behavior later in life.

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(Health education 16.6 (1985): 26-28.) So you can see, there are several more psychological
issues when using this parenting style.
In contrast to Authoritarian parenting, the Authoritative parenting approach is warmer,
and more nurturing. While these parents still set the same high expectations and rules; theyre
much more lenient when things dont go their way. These parents allow children to express their
opinions, and encourages independence. Parents who use authoritative parenting styles want
their children to do their best and work self-sufficiently, but they also have high standards and
expect the rules to be followed. When the child breaks the rules, they are disciplined in a fair and
consistent manner. Unlike authoritarian parents, authoritative parentings discipline consists of
supporting and teaching the child. A consistent, reasoning and communicative approach is taken
rather than punishing the child.
Similar to the authoritarian approach, authoritative parents also set strict rules in order to
shape children into well rounded adults. However, the authoritative style has many more positive
effects on kids. Children raised by authoritative parents are usually happier in general. They tend
to have more emotional control, social skills, and self-esteem. The parents allow the child to act
more independently which in turn teaches kids that they are more capable of doing things on
their own and make their own decisions. Parents who effectively use this style of parenting can
essentially form better bonds with the child resulting in a loving relationship and greater respect
for the parents and people overall.
Unlike the previous approach, authoritative parenting doesnt have many drawbacks. One
of the main cons with this method would be actually sticking to it. A high level of added
responsibility, and patience comes with this approach, especially if you have a strong willed

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child. This type of child rearing is actually associated with the best outcomes. In fact, numerous
studies suggest authoritative parenting is positively correlated with school performance. More
specifically, the authors found that adolescents who describe their parents behaving more
democratically, more warming, and more encouraging earn higher grades in school than their
peers. (Child development (1989): 1424-1436.)
In conclusion, its pretty apparent that the authoritative parenting approach has better
overall results. With that being said, every child is different and may need a different type of
child rearing. Whats good for one child isnt necessarily good for another, its ultimately up to
the parent to decide whats best. Although, it is shown that its not likely that any parent uses one
specific parenting approach; its more common for a combination of styles. In the end, there is
one thing in common between these approaches, both sides want their children to succeed. All
parents want their children to grow into happy and well-functioning adults. In addition,
negligence is never acceptable, all children need to feel loved in order to grow and gain the skills
they need to become a good role model for their own children in the future.
-Megan Harvey
W.C. 1114

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Works Cited
Steinberg, Laurence, et al. "Authoritative parenting and adolescent adjustment across varied
ecological niches." Journal of Research on Adolescence 1.1 (1991): 19-36.
Ford, Denyce S., Kay K. Massey, and David Hyde. "Factors related to authoritarian versus
nonauthoritarian attitudes toward parenting among college students." Health education
16.6 (1985): 26-28.
Steinberg, Laurence, Julie D. Elmen, and Nina S. Mounts. "Authoritative parenting,
psychosocial maturity, and academic success among adolescents." Child development
(1989): 1424-1436.