Authoritarian Parenting Style Has Long Term Drawbacks

An authoritarian parenting style has a strong focus on discipline and setting limits with less emphasis on expressions of parental love. Although this doesn't mean that these parents do not love their children, it does illustrate their reluctance to express love and connection—two things that are critical to healthy development in children.

Those who strictly follow this style may take issue with the last paragraph and claim they set firm limits because they love their children. They want their children to grow up to be good people. They want their kids to love and respect them for all the sacrifices they've made. Sadly, these parents believe that using punishment, coercion, blame and shame is the way to achieve that end.

Think about how backwards this is—parents think that by using harsh indoctrination, their children will somehow grow up to be good and caring people.

To examine the ill-directed principles behind authoritarian parenting, let's start on common ground.

authoritarian parenting

I think we can agree that most parents want their children to love and respect them. Most parents want their children to grow up to become good people. However, like two routes to the same destination—one barely tolerable with a harsh taskmaster at the helm and the other an enjoyable journey during which all the travelers develop close and lasting bonds—we can wind up at the same place without damaging our children's psyches in the process.

The tools of authoritarian parenting are blame, shame, coercion and punishment. I think it's safe to say that it does not feel good to be on the receiving end of such behavior, but many parents convince themselves that these tactics are necessary to "teach a lesson."


Because this was how they were raised.

Let's consider for a moment what children are learning when parents treat them in this way.

Effects of Authoritarian Parenting

When children are blamed, shamed and punished as a rule, they learn:

  • to feel bad about themselves.
  • what NOT to do, but not what to do.
  • that their parents' love is contingent on their behavior.
  • to avoid inappropriate behavior, not because they have developed strong values, but because it will get them punished.

The focus of an authoritarian parenting style is on what not to do. Such parents demand blind obedience, immediate compliance and do not allow questioning or negotiation. My question is: how are such children supposed to learn to think for themselves when they're being trained like dogs by their parents?

Do most dogs understand how the world works?

No, but they sure know how to follow orders. Such children will always need a master, even as adults, so they'll never learn how to master themselves.

Now this may sound a little harsh, but authoritarian parenting involves training kids to be obedient, to follow instructions and follow their master. A child is not a dog. A child has consciousness. In order for that consciousness to grow, the child must feel connected to the parent, he must be encouraged, he must be engaged and he must be taught how to think for himself.

Does this sound right to you?

You can learn to balance love with limits without becoming a permissive parent (which is the polar opposite of authoritarian parenting and also has serious drawbacks for child and parent.)

By doing so, you will improve your relationship with your kids and create a better quality of life for yourself and your family.

If you're beginning to see the inhumanity in using an authoritarian parenting style and you want to learn how to overcome your programming, consider signing up for my next parenting class

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About the author:Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book - Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting - which combines native ideas (like child stewardship) with heart-centered psychology to teach parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and unfold their spiritual nature. It is a journey of self-discovery for child and parent.


Authoritarian Parenting - Parenting Styles

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