Delmar Suggs

The Difference between Authoritative and Authoritarian Parenting Styles


Authoritative parenting and authoritarian parenting are the two very common parenting styles. The names of both parenting styles look almost the same but both are associated with different set of principles and effects on children. As a matter of fact, these principles and the effects on kids of both parenting styles are quite opposite to each other.

Having that said, it is worth mentioning those major differences from different aspects.

Parental emotions

Authoritative parents tend to be more caring and responsive to their kids as compared to the authoritarian parents. According to a study, children can have secure attachment to their parents when they are raised under responsive parenting. Since authoritative parents are more responsive to the kids, kids tend to learn better self-control. The kids become more resilient and become more capable to recover from the setbacks.


In authoritative parenting, children become more independent because the parents tend to give them necessary freedom. Children are even asked about their opinions in the family decision making. Bidirectional communication between parents and children is encouraged in this parenting style.

Authoritarian parents, on the other hand, do not like their children to be involved in decision making process. Furthermore, children are strictly instructed to do things they are supposed to do rather than being appropriately requested.


Authoritative parents tend to implement rules after proper discussion with their kids. They remain open to discuss and modify rules. Moreover, children are encouraged to look at the reasons of rule implementation. Since children are always encouraged to express their opinions, they can turn out to be highly assertive in following the rules using their own will. As a result, they more like have higher self-esteem.

On the other hand, authoritarian parenting tends to keep the communication between parents and children one-way, i.e. the orders are issued by parents and children are not allowed to express their opinions. The end result can be disastrous as children become more insecure and anxious.

Parental control

Authoritative parents do not focus more on encouraging rather than controlling. Hence, they usually succeed in setting higher standards and making the children trying to fulfill those requirements without much of the stress. Hence, parents ultimately get better control on the kids without the kids being under any kind of pressure.

Authoritarian parents, on the other hand, seem to talk much about controlling the kids but they never get a chance to set the higher standards. The reason is that the parenting style they possess tends to hamper the capabilities of kids, resulting in the parents’ inability to truly identify kids’ potential.

Overall effects on kids

Authoritative parents usually end up being better in parenting as compared to the authoritarian parents. Authoritative parents may be unwilling to negotiate over the standards, but their lenient behavior while setting rules and the approach of encouraging rather than enforcing make the kids more resilient and high-performers.

On the other hand, authoritarian parenting ends up being quite ineffective as what they actually do is suppressing rather than disciplining the kids. Hence, the children raised under authoritarian parenting are more dependent, ones with lower self-esteem, and more submissive.