• Christine Roslund, MFT, CPC

Authoritative Parenting Creates Well-Adjusted Young Adults

Becoming a parent is the biggest responsibility and work anyone can take on. Literally being in charge of shaping your child’s life from their core is not something to be taken lightly! Luckily in today’s world we have a lot more research that points to how different parenting styles produce different kinds of traits in children as they develop into adults. This information can really help point parenting efforts in the right direction and give children the greatest opportunity for success.

There are four categories of parenting styles that produce different traits in children and they include authoritarian, authoritative, indifferent and indulgent. The parenting styles that are not creating the well-adjusted adults are authoritarian, indifferent and indulgent. These styles have either too much rigidity and not enough warmth and understanding (Authoritarian), not enough structure or expectations and a lot of warmth and empathy (indulgent) or neither structure nor warmth (indifferent). Authoritative parenting is the style that creates well-adjusted adults.

Research indicates that authoritative parenting fosters young adults that are independent, self-reliant, socially accepted, successful academically and well-behaved. Authoritative parenting includes having both a high level of demanded-ness, along with a high level of responsiveness. Having a high level of demanded-ness means having expectations and not letting your children get away with bad behavior. And, having a high level of responsiveness has to do with being warmth, involved and empathetic. These children and young adults have a decrease in depression, anxiety and substance abuse issues.

Authoritative parenting involves:

* Being democratic, flexible, child-centered

* Establishing firm behavioral guidelines

* Engaging adolescents in decision making

* Being warm, interested, accepting and trusting

* Monitoring

* Supporting assertiveness, responsiveness and self-regulation

* Encouraging psychological autonomy

These kinds of parenting qualities instill in your children that you trust them, you find them capable and that they are respected for who they are. This translates within your children as they develop into young adults positive beliefs about themselves such as, “I am trustworthy”, “I can do it” and “I am respected”.

Imagine the kind of parent that you see that takes time to explain things to their child when they are doing something wrong in a calm loving voice tone. Notice how that child takes in what their parent in saying and isn’t getting constricted in their body. This parent is actively teaching their child how to appropriately do something or handle a situation. This child is developing into a healthy person because their parent is in a loving way demonstrating the appropriate way to do something, establishing appropriate expectations and giving them the reason why that is important. This is effective and healthy parenting!

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