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The Limits Of Authoritarian Parenting

Updated on September 7, 2012

Parenting is the most difficult job in the world. And to be frank, none of us do a perfect job. How could we?

That being said some approaches are more effective than other. Some approaches to parenting strengthen our children and leave them into productive happy and healthy lives. At the same time, some approaches leave our children floundering, without direction, weak and less able to achieve the goals they have for their lives.

One approach, perhaps the most common, is authoritarian parenting. It is sometimes called strict parenting. It is an approach that many of us experience. It is an approach that makes us feel powerful as parents. With authoritarian parenting we are likely to achieve certain positive outcomes. Unfortunately this often comes in the price.

Our children pay this price. And it leaves them less able to live a full happy and successful life. In this lens I will talk about the unexpected negative outcomes that arise in the authoritarian parenting.

Authoritarian parenting creates compliance

Just be quiet and do what I tell you.

The first negative outcome of authoritarian parenting is that it might be successful. When authoritarian parenting is completely successful then the child learns simply to comply. They learn to take orders. They learned to obey.

On the surface it seems great. There are days of every parents wishes that the child was simply obey, not talk back, stop asking questions and simply do what they're told. It would be bliss.

Some parents are able to make this happen. The long-term effects on the child are not good. In addition to learning how to obey you and your every command, they learned that that is their role in life. Their independence, their initiative, their creativity and their sense of their own power are all diminished. So when obedience works for you when their children it does not work for them and they are adults.

Independence is a skill that takes practice to acquire. When children don't learn it from us it's much more difficult for them to learn it later. When we teach them to comply, to obey then we are not teaching them the skills of becoming independent.

So, when they are no longer with us, they will look for the next person to obey. They will comply with the wishes of other important people in their lives. This could be their boss or their spouse or their friends.

This is not what I want for my daughter. When she is not with me I want her to have a full and independent mind. I don't want her to simply complied with the demands of her boss appropriate or inappropriate. I do not want her to comply with the demands of her partner appropriate or inappropriate. I want my daughter to be strong enough and smart enough and independent enough to collaborate and cooperate with the people in her life. I want her to be able to establish mutual relationships based on respect.

Authoritarian parenting models domiance

Buck up, Buttercup.

Authoritarian parenting models dominance instead of empathy. Authoritarian parents rely upon the tools of power to establish their authority. the hope is to control the behavior of children. Often the motivation to control children is presented in a positive light. " It is for their own good," we tell ourselves. "It will save them pain and suffering later," we tell ourselves.

Ultimately this is a parenting shortcut and when relied upon too often has negative outcomes for our children. Instead of learning to make good choices on their own they fear making bad choices because of how we as parents will respond. Not only will they have the negative consequences look bad choice but that has been negative response. So when parents dominate children tend to take little initiative and few of the risks required to mature into competent, confident adults. Instead they tend to withdraw, make your efforts and high much of their personal lives from their parents.

Dominance can include a wide range of practices. These can include, but certainly are not limited to, things like strict punishments, taking away privileges, shaming and physical punishments. Mostly these types of punishment teach only one thing: who's in charge. What is left on tots and by the child unlearned, Liz why such a choice was in adequate or not the best in a given situation. But they've been taught is to fear you. What they don't yet understand is how to make good choices.

A more powerful model of parenting relies on influence instead of control and empathy is instead of dominance. What many parents forget to use that in the parent-child relationship the parent has all the power already. Children know that and they like that. What children are looking for are not further examples of their parents power and their powerlessness, but the Lord looking for is the parents understanding. And empathetic parents is more powerful than a dominating parent. Because an empathetic parents can reach inside influence the deepest part of the child in a positive way. In the end of a dominating parents can only instill fear.

Authoritarian parenting creates resistance

Do as I say, not as I do.

Authoritarian parents are surprised that their efforts generate so much resistance. But often the children see a fuller picture than the parents. In addition to recognizing their own limitations and floss the children also begin to identify the flaws of the parent. Of course, this is unavoidable. All of us, as parents, have flaws.

The problems arise when the parents stop acting as though they have flaws. There is an essential humility and human mess that is required of us given our limitations in life. We are never perfect. We aren't often flawed. And our children know it. But authoritarian parents tend to sleep all of that under the table.

Authoritarian parenting creates dependence

If you keep doing that, you'll never amount to anything.

Unknowingly authoritarian parents undermine the confidence and the competence of the children. Without a place of confidence and competence the children will become increasingly dependent. Without a doubt this is not the intention of the authoritarian parent.

Common authoritarian approaches include numerous corrections, complaints and criticisms. In most cases these come from a powerful parent that the child is hoping will love them. So the corrections and complaints and criticisms all linger and cut deep into the heart of the child. This can leave a child's to spend a lifetime seeking the love thing never felt they received from their parents.

So they look other places to find that love they missed. Some try and try to finally gain their parent's approval. Many people feel like they never succeed. Others try to find the love they desire in other relationships. Often these relations also prove difficult and unfulfilling. Some try other avenues more to manage the loss of the love they sought. These approaches can include things like addictions, compulsions and the general withdrawal from close relationships.

Authoritarian parenting creates resentment

Authoritarian parents can generate enonmous amounts of resentment in their children. This is easy to understand. When other people attempt to control our actions, our thoughts, and our values we also become resentful. If someone punishes us in ways that seem inappropriate or heavy-handed we become resentful. If someone minimizes our ideas, goals or hopes then we will become resentful.

Often authoritarian parents are surprised that the resentment in their children. In part this is because the authoritarian parent is not practicing empathy towards her children. It is difficult or impossible for them to see the situation from their child's perspective. If they could then they would see how trite or mean-spirited or condescending or punitive their actions were from the child's point of view. But without empathy the authoritarian parents will not be able to see this. They will be mystified why their "good intentions" are viewed so negatively by their children.

So children are caught in between the demands of their parents and the fact that their parents don't live up to their own demands. When parents are good at creating high standards but not as good giving empathy it is only natural that children will become resentful.

Authoritarian parenting creates rebellion

We have all seen the strict parents who ends up with a very rebellious teenager. There is something truly heartbreaking and yet the parent is often completely mystified.

Some children learn to comply and conform. Under the weight of authoritarian parents they submit. But others are not broken by the rules or the punishments. They resist and then they rebell.

Strangely, these children are often is connected to the authoritarian parent has the ones to submit. The rebellion keeps them connected, keeps the children under the rules of the parent. They may feel enormous guilt each time they break one of the rules, but they have a need to assert themselves. They act out as blindly as the others conform.

Rebellious children are the authoritarian parents' nightmare. Few authoritarian parents take responsibility for the role they play in creating rebellious children. Instead they blame the children for being bad or inconsiderate or unloving. These parents feel tortured by their children's choices. Often they feel ashamed. And the distance between parents and child grows.

A better alternative

The importance of nurturing parents

Authoritarian parenting this focus on creating compliance conformity. This makes it easy for the parent short but in the long run it's harder on our children.

A better alternative is to combine high standards do authoritarian with an equal dose of empathy, Walking hand-in-hand with her children as they struggle to make sure, struggle to become competent, productive, happy and healthy adults.

And that's the job isnt it? Our job as parents snt to control our children. It isn't to Mae our life easier. Our job as parents is to prepare our children for adult living.

Did you have strict parents?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes i do and i hate them very much they act like they rule the world and they're always trying to take advantage of me. i hate to do everything like i own the house we live in. why can't they be more fun parents? why can't i go anywhere with my friends? why do they have to be such bitches and pussies? some day i'll slap the fuck out of them with some hot oil like madeaa!