Authoritative Parenting vs Permissive Parenting: Which is Best?

What is the difference between authoritative parenting and permissive parenting?

IN A QUICK SUMMARY – Authoritative parenting is characterized by setting clear boundaries and rules while also being responsive to a child’s needs. Permissive parenting, on the other hand, involves a lack of structure and discipline and a high level of indulgence towards the child’s wants and desires.

Many of you may not have realised the type of parenting you have been doing since you started raising your children.

There are two popular ways which many parents undertake.

The two parenting styles show how a parent can form and regulate their kids behaviours.

In Short, Permissive parents are parents who don’t use force constantly. They have few demands and expectations from there children and like to avoid conflict with their children.

While permissive parenting seems cool and how every child would probably like to be raised, it’s not exactly the best technique to control your child’s behaviour. Strict rules can affect a child’s development and social skills, leading to mental health and behavior problems.

Permissive parenting can have social repercussions. Children tend to be less independent and less likely to accept responsibility for their own behaviours.

Authoritative parenting, on the other hand, takes on a more stricter approach. Authoritative parents also expect appropriate behaviour as well as explain their expectations and reasons for their decisions. 

Children of authoritative parents are more self-reliant, and well-behaved. Studies suggest they are also less likely to have emotional difficulties such as depression and anxiety.

What’s Better? Authoritative Parenting or Permissive Parenting?

In general, we can’t really pin point and say one is better than the other. Both styles have positive and both styles have flaws too.

The bigger picture

Authoritative Parenting

According to research, this type of parenting is more popular than permissive parenting.

The method uses punishment or rewards to get the kids to behave.

Many of us would have grown up with authoritative parenting skills. It’s mainly based on dominance and fear.

We do something good, we get rewarded and if we do something bad, we get punished. Not just that, Authoritative parenting is a model where you have power over your children. You determine what is best and right for them, and you try to persuade and control them by enforcing compliance with punishments or rewards, including harsh punishments. In this approach, positive discipline strategies are used to reinforce positive behavior, such as praise and reward systems. However, it is important to note that authoritative parenting differs from authoritarian parenting, where blind obedience is expected without any explanation or justification for the rules and commands given.

Sound familiar?

“If you wash the dishes, I’ll buy you a toy”, or “if you wet your pants I will feed you to the dog”? (Okay the last one there was a little too excessive) still on the right lines though, correct?

In all total honesty, If this method works for you, then what’s the problem? Your kids are abiding, they have fear when they commit sin etc.… It’s all picture perfect!

However, having too much control over your children can damage the relationship you have with them, and actually lessen their cooperation and respect.

Authoritative parenting continued…

Authoritative parenting can have a negative on children too.

It can make children feel hurt and resentful, and it can undermine their sense of safety and their trust in you. 

Although as a parent you may feel, your child is listening, they could be listening out of fear which can harm your child’s thought process in the long run.

Encouraging your kids to cooperate for the reward or to avoid punishment is good when kept within the limits. However, if this is done too much it can have a negative affect on the child.

Rather than doing things because they see the value in doing it, it will begin to diminish their internal guidance and their natural desire to cooperate and contribute.

This parenting style if done excessively can train a child to think, only good things come with good and only bad things come with bad. That’s not really how life works.

It can also make your child feel less valued. Too much authority and control might not give them a chance to develop the ability to think for themselves. This will make them more vulnerable to peers and other influences in life.

Overall, authoritative parenting is considered the best parenting style. This method, known as the authoritative style, provides a balance between structure and independence, allowing a child to grow within reasonable boundaries and explore their abilities. When parents use this authoritative style, they set strict standards that they expect their children to abide by but also support them by providing an emotionally caring environment that fosters trust and emotional warmth. This approach takes into consideration the child’s emotions and gives them a voice, rather than just forcing them to comply with rules. When done with these measures, authoritative parenting can be very successful for both sides of the party.

Just like we parents like our children to respect us, just like so, our children want respect back. It’s human nature, regardless of their age.

I’m sure we would rather have our children decide to do something good simply because they truly want to help, and prefer that they listen to us out of true respect rather than to avoid having a privilege taken away.

Permissive Parenting

Another popular model, again based on fear.

While authoritarian parenting is based on the child’s fear of losing the parent’s love, permissive parenting is based on the parent’s fear of losing the child’s love.

Sometimes, you get parents who have spoilt kids. Yup! These are those. They’ve been blessed with one child and in fear of losing him, they shower every possible blessing they have on him, of-course not realising the negative side affect in can impact.

Kids need to know their limits and boundaries. They need to express and work through their feelings in being told “no” so they can tolerate disappointments and frustrations later in life. 

Permissive parenting is usually when the parent listens to everything their child has to say or do just so they don’t look bad in their child’s eyes.

Less rules are put in place which can lead to a negative household. If your children aren’t able to trust that you will enforce the rules, they may begin to disrespect you and become more challenging, looking for limits and proof that they are loved. 

Hearing your child say “ you don’t love me” is the worst phrase a mother/father can hear.

Permissive parenting can be classed as the lazy approach. If your child isn’t listening, “yeah whatever”. Your child isn’t performing too well in school, “oh doesn’t matter”. This leads your child to grow up with lack of responsibility and usually doesn’t end well when responsibility approaches them.

So If both of these parenting models have flaws then which one should you use?

Connection Parenting 

Connection parenting is a proactive approach rather than reactive. It is a very successful parenting model and is highly successful in raising amazing children.

Connection parenting shifts the focus from control over your child (or vice versa) to guiding and empowering your child to make choices that are in alignment with your family values.

Connection parenting is also sometimes called conscious parenting. Conscious means being mindful, attentive and aware of your child’s feelings and needs. This is one of the major attributes a parent should have. The ability to be mindful and aware of what your child is feeling and his needs.

Once you know that, it’s easy to determine what motivates and what discourages your child. You can better understand and prevent unnecessary reactions and outbursts and create a more peaceful way of being together. 

Likewise when your child is old enough to understand feelings towards others, they can adopt great understanding in how you feel too. Allowing them to respect their parents more which increases the bond.

Connection parenting creates respect between you and your child. 

Children mimic what they see. If they see aggressiveness, shouts all the time, parent tantrums and frustration, they will pick up that pace too. Being calm and collective is sending positive vibes to your child. This will mould how they turn into.

When you show your kids how to communicate respectfully and positively, they will also learn how to create respectful relationships and powerful connections later in life.

It’s not easy, I mean who said parenting was easy hey! Phfft!

However with small steps taken to become better parents, you will definitely nail it! What type of parent are you?

Read here for 10 positive parenting tips ALL parents should be aware of.

Social media marketing blogger and Parenting blogger

5 thoughts on “Authoritative Parenting vs Permissive Parenting: Which is Best?

  1. I’ve been working on gentle/connection parenting in our house. It does not come naturally to me, as I tend to be a little impatient. But I’m challenging myself to try it!

  2. This was a very informative post. I am still trying to figure out my style. I know that authoritative is not the best for me but sometimes as the parent you do have to pull that card.

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