The authoritative parenting style is characterized by a balance between responsiveness to the child’s needs and setting boundaries and expectations.
An authoritative parent listens, understands, explains the reasons for rules, and is open to negotiation while still retaining the final say.
Here are some example discussions that you might want to have with your teenager that could hopefully help you understand the authoritative parenting style and give you some guidance on how to start the conversation.
Practical Examples of Authoritative Parenting Style
1. Example Discussion About Their Curfew
Child (C): Hey, Mom/Dad, since it’s the weekend, can I stay out till midnight with my friends? We’re planning to watch a movie and then hang out at Jake’s place.
Parent (P): Midnight? Are you turning into a vampire or something? Jokes aside, thanks for the heads-up. I appreciate you asking ahead of time. I’m concerned about you being out that late though. Why do you want to stay out until midnight?
C: Well, the movie will probably end around 10:30, and then we want some time to hang out at Jake’s. And Jake’s older brother will be there too.
P: I’m glad to hear that his older brother will be there, and I understand wanting to spend time with your friends. However, I feel that staying out until midnight might be too late. Plus, don’t you have that thing early tomorrow? How about a middle ground? What if you come home by 11:15 PM? That still gives you some time to hang out after the movie.
C: Mmm, can we push it to 11:30? It might take us a little time to get from the cinema to Jake’s house.
P: (laughs) Alright, 11:30 it is. But shoot me a text when you head out from Jake’s. And remember punctuality – or the irritating parental nagging starts. We set these curfews to ensure you’re safe and well-rested.
C: Deal! I’ll text, and I’ll be home by 11:30. Promise.
P: Awesome. Enjoy the movie and be safe. And hey, buddy system at night, okay?
C: Got it. Thanks for being cool about this.
In this discussion, the parent was open to hearing the child’s reasoning and needs, but they also communicated their concerns and set a clear boundary.
The parent and child reached a compromise that respected both the child’s desire for social time and the parent’s concern for safety and well-being.
2. Example Discussion About Tidying Their Room
Here’s an example of a discussion between a parent using the authoritative parenting style and their teenager about tidying up their room:
Parent (P): Hey Alex, have you seen your room lately? It’s starting to look like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie!
Alex (A): Ugh, I know it’s a bit messy. It’s on my list, somewhere at the bottom. Just been swamped with stuff.
P: I get it, school’s crazy. But you know, I read somewhere that a messy room can mess with your head. Like, it’s harder to focus. It must be hard to find stuff in there. And between us, I’m kinda worried something’s growing under that pile of clothes.
A: (laughs) Nah, I’m pretty sure I’d have heard it growling by now. But seriously, I get your point. It’s just finding the time. I’ve been so swamped with assignments and extracurriculars lately.
P: I understand that, and I’m proud of how dedicated you are to your activities and studies. However, being organized can actually help reduce stress and increase your productivity. Perhaps we can come up with a solution together?
A: Like what?
P: How about this? A quick 15-minute clean-up blitz once a week. If you stick to it regularly, it might prevent the room from getting too chaotic. You pick the day, and I’ll stay out of your hair. And if you need help, maybe once a month we could do a more thorough clean together?
A: Wait, you’d help? Like, without the whole “I told you so” lecture?
P: (grinning) Maybe one “I told you so,” but that’s my final offer.
A: Okay thanks. Sundays might work. And, uh, maybe we can tackle it this weekend?
P: Sounds like a plan. And hey, who knows? Maybe you’ll find that shirt you’ve been looking for.
A: Yeah maybe! Thanks, Mom.
In this conversation, the parent approached the issue with empathy and understanding, acknowledging the teenager’s responsibilities and feelings.
Instead of just demanding a tidy room, the parent helped the teenager see the benefits of it and collaborated to find a practical solution.
❤️ Suggested reading: Witnessing Might Be The Best Parenting Tool For Struggling Teens
3. Example Conversation About School Grades
An authoritative parenting style means that while the parent sets clear boundaries and expectations, they also remain empathetic, communicative, and responsive to the child’s needs.
Parent (P): Hey, Jordan. Can we chat for a moment about school?
Jordan (J): Ugh, do we have to?
P: I get it might not be your favorite topic right now, but it’s important. I’ve noticed your grades slipping, and it’s not like you.
J: Maybe it’s just who I am now. Not everyone’s meant to be a straight-A student, right?
P: No one’s asking you to be perfect, but I know you’re capable of more than this. What’s going on? Is it the material, distractions, or maybe something else?
J: I don’t know. School’s just boring. It doesn’t feel like it matters.
P: You know, I felt that way at times when I was in school. Sometimes the content can feel distant or not connected to real life. But trust me, the discipline, habits, and skills you develop now will help in ways you might not see yet. And it’s not just about grades; it’s about your future. So, how can we make this more bearable or even interesting for you?
J: I don’t know. Maybe it’s too late.
P: It’s never too late, Jordan. But we need to start somewhere. How about this: We identify the subjects you’re struggling with the most, and we find you some extra help. Maybe a tutor, or if it’s about focus, we can explore techniques to help with that.
J: Sounds like more work.
P: Initially, yes. But think of it as an investment. Put in a bit more effort now, and it might become easier and more manageable later. Plus, I’ll be here to support you. What if we try it for a month? If there’s no change, we can reassess and find another approach. Deal?
J: (sighs) A month? I guess… but only if you promise not to hover all the time.
P: I promise I won’t hover. But remember, this is for you and your future. I believe in you, even if right now, you don’t see it in yourself. We’re in this together, okay?
J: Okay. Thanks, Mom. I’ll give it a shot.
This discussion strikes a balance between firm expectations and understanding, as is characteristic of the authoritative parenting style.
The parent acknowledges the teen’s feelings and offers support but remains firm on the need to address the issue.
4. Example Conversation About Sibling Rivalry
Approaching this delicate topic requires a balance of firmness, understanding, and collaboration.
Parent (P): Hey, Taylor, can we sit down for a moment and chat?
Taylor (T): (sighs) If this is about another fight with Jamie, I don’t wanna hear how it’s all my fault again.
P: Hold on a second. I’d like us to have a genuine conversation about this. I promise I’m here to listen.
T: It always feels like you’re on Jamie’s side. They can do no wrong in your eyes!
P: I understand why you might feel that way. It’s not about taking sides, Taylor. But there have been instances where the arguments could have been avoided if there was a bit more patience on your end. And I think it’s worth discussing why that’s happening.
T: Maybe if Jamie wasn’t so annoying all the time…
P: Let’s not deflect. Everyone can be irritating at times, even you or me. But it’s about how we handle it. Every time you two get into a fight, it affects the whole household. It creates tension and unhappiness. We’re a team, and we need to find a way to make it work better. Do you feel like Jamie purposely tries to annoy you?
T: I don’t know. Maybe. It’s just…they always want to be around my friends and me, they touch my stuff, and then you always tell me to be the “bigger person.”
P: I understand that having a younger sibling can sometimes feel like an intrusion, especially when you’re carving out your own identity. And yes, I do ask you to be the bigger person because you’re older and more capable of understanding these dynamics. But that doesn’t mean your feelings are invalid.
T: It just feels unfair sometimes.
P: It’s challenging, I get it. But let’s think about solutions. What if we set up some boundaries? We can set a dedicated time where Jamie knows not to disturb you, or maybe a place where your things are off-limits.
T: That could help, I guess.
P: And in return, maybe you could find a little time, even if it’s just once a week, to do something together, just you and Jamie. Something you both like. It might help bridge the gap and reduce the tension.
T: (pauses) Okay, I can try that. But only if Jamie knows they have to keep their part of the deal.
P: Absolutely. I’ll chat with Jamie, too. Remember, Taylor, family dynamics can be tricky, but we have to find ways to make it work. It’s not about assigning blame but about finding solutions and growing together. I believe in you, and I know you have the maturity to lead the way in this. Are we in this together?
T: (sighs) Yeah, we are. Thanks for listening, Mom.
In this conversation, the parent remains firm on the need to address the issue but ensures that Taylor feels heard and understood.
By seeking collaboration and solutions, the authoritative approach fosters understanding and growth.
In navigating the multifaceted landscape of child development, the style of parenting adopted plays an undeniable role in molding our children’s future.
Among various styles of parenting, the authoritative style stands out as particularly effective, striking a sweet spot between the rigid control seen in authoritarian parenting styles and the more lax approaches of others.
This balance promotes positive outcomes in children, from enhanced problem-solving skills and academic performance to emotional stability and effective regulation of challenging behaviors.
The authoritative method, rooted in consistent discipline rather than strict rules, focuses on emotional regulation, enabling children to develop temperament and emotional control vital for life’s many situations.
This approach not only fosters improved academic achievement but also boosts social skills, ensuring children are equipped with the tools they need for daily life and their adult lives.
The stark difference between parenting styles, especially between the authoritative and authoritarian parenting methods, can be seen in their effects on children. Authoritarian parenting, often characterized by an abundance of household rules and harsh discipline methods, can inhibit a child’s autonomy, leading to a tense parent-child relationship.
In contrast, the authoritative approach, underpinned by mindful parenting skills, leans towards positive reinforcement, ensuring fair discipline, and logical or natural consequences for actions. This fosters a positive relationship that benefits both the child’s emotional development and their academic achievement.
Moreover, it’s important to recognize the overall emotional climate cultivated by different parenting methods. While parental control is necessary, the balance between behavioral control and psychological control is pivotal.
A household driven by too many strict rules may dampen a child’s spirit, while a consistent set of house rules, coupled with quality time and positive reinforcement, can lead to happier, healthier children. Such kids are more likely to exhibit healthy coping skills, better school performance, and are poised for better life satisfaction in their adult lives.
Families and parents looking to strike that balance might find the positive parenting principles and tools to be their all-time favorite, ensuring they are not only positive parents but effective ones.
In challenging situations, they might even seek family therapy or guidance from a positive parent educator, emphasizing the achievement of children and building an environment conducive to growth.
After all, the ultimate goal is nurturing a healthy child, prepared for the world, and equipped with skills for life.