Strict, emotionally supportive

Parent-child relationships are meant to be fun and enjoyable.

In ideal situations, this relationship should provide a safe haven for children to explore and develop. 

Such relationships also provide an opportunity for parents to teach, train and nurture through unconditional support, guidance, discipline and encouragement.

While it is true that there is no perfect style of parenting, experts agree that it is important to strike a balance between being a harsh disciplinarian and a softy as a parent.

Parents who somehow manage to strike that perfect balance where they are warm and kind to their children yet can set limits effectively are known as authoritative parents.

This parenting style, as a matter of fact, requires a lot of patience, communication and negotiation sometimes.

This can be a challenge for parents who are impatient and have their personal struggles with maintaining their own sanity.

Great listeners make great parents when they choose to find the balance.

Authoritative parents know how to skillfully provide structures yet maintain flexibility.

Control and warmth are blended successfully, revealing how being assertive and being friendly are not at odds at all.

To practise this style of parenting, one must be stable and sound, while prioritising their own mental health.

The end goal of producing well-rounded, independent, happy people who will make positive meaningful contributions to society is the sole goal of this parenting style.

Authoritative parents use rules to empower their children to make the right choices.

They acknowledge the importance of setting limits and boundaries and help their children to understand this too.

Though they are not as strict as authoritarian parents, they do not compromise consistent discipline and their values such as respect and obedience.

In this home, children are encouraged to express themselves and contribute to problem-solving.

They are seen as important members of the household who are also expected to do age-appropriate chores for the good of all.

Parents make a demand on their academic performance too and hold them accountable using both praise/ reward and rebuke.

While children are allowed to be independent to an extent, parents are still involved in the lives of their children.

They follow their schoolwork and are familiar with friends of their children.

The warmth and love dispensed under a watchful eye make children behave well under such leadership. 


Authoritarian parents often have their misgivings about the open show of emotions to children.

They believe that children will tend to take parents for granted and become indisciplined if they freely interact with them.

This is, however, true for permissive parents.

Permissive parents overindulge their children and lack the courage to stamp their feet.

Children who have authoritative parents know and respect their limits.

Such children do not struggle with contentment in life.

Even where there are power struggles, they are never in doubt of their parents’ affection.

Because authoritative parents allow their children to fail and learn from their mistakes, these children are usually resilient.

They don’t shy away from responsibilities in school.

They participate actively and excel in all school activities because they are mentally healthy.

This desirable outcome of authoritarian parenting is a result of the combination of high parental warmth with high behavioural standards.

To quote Andy Smithson, “The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behaviour.

The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behaviour.”

The writer is a Child Development Expert/ Fellow at Zero-to-three Academy in the USA.

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