Authoritarian Parenting: Pros, Cons, and Considerations
I often write about authoritarianism in the political context, but authoritarian parenting warrants equal attention. Parents who subscribe to this parenting style may not have the same dictatorship dreams as Vladimir Putin, but overly-oppressive parenting can have lasting consequences on children.
In this article we’ll examine authoritarian parenting through the political lens where it derives its name. We’ll consider children as the baby entrepreneurs they are, naturally curious and excited about the possibilities of the world around them. This article will assess how authoritarian parenting might detrimentally impact their behavior, both in the short and long term. Finally, we’ll conclude with the pros and cons of authoritarian parenting and whether it is a viable parenting style.
What is authoritarianism?
The traditional usage of this term refers to authoritarian governments. These are regimes where power is concentrated in one leader or a small group of elites. They operate above the law and with impunity.
Authoritarians often exercise their power arbitrarily. They punish anyone who threatens them or runs afoul of their rules. Even when those rules are not always clear. They also quash any competitors in elections, giving the people no real choice at self-government, putting the system at fundamental odds with democracy.
Application to authoritarian parenting
Similar to the political context, an authoritarian parent demands blind submission to their authority. There is little to no room for nurturing and empathy. Children have limited individual freedom of thought and action. Punishment can be arbitrary and severe.
Authoritarian parenting focuses more on control, obedience, and discipline as opposed to encouragement and nurturing. Instead of valuing what the child might want, an authoritarian parent places their expectations for the child above everything.
The scary thing is that many authoritarian parents may not even realize what they’re doing, let alone intend to act as authoritarians.