No ifs, ands, or buts: The problem with authoritarian parenting

There's a fine line between parents who show authority, and authoritarian parenting.

While authoritarian parents set high standards for their children, they do not allow children to become critical thinkers.

Authoritarian parenting is a style characterised by high demands and low responsiveness, explains counselling psychologist Jeremy Bayer.

There's little in the way of feedback, warmth or nurturance... Authoritarian parenting is strict parenting without taking into account the needs of the child.

Jeremy Bayer, counselling psychologist

Some characteristics of authoritarian parenting:

  • high expectations of children
  • harshly punished mistakes
  • positive behaviours aren't awarded
  • there are no explanations
  • children aren't given choice or options
  • children aren't allowed to be critical

Bayer says authoritarian parenting does not give children a voice to express their own views or attitudes.

He advises that authoritarian parenting should be substituted with "guidance from a position of love".

According to Bayer, there is a difference between raising rebellious children versus raising critical children.

Parents should explain the reasoning behind the decisions, punishment or rules made, he maintains.

Take a listen to Jeremy Bayer unpack the parenting style and its psychological effects:


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