Parenting Together: Authoritarian vs. Permissive Parenting

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We all come to parenting from different yet similar places. We experienced what our parents did with us and our spouses and generally try to go from there. While co-parenting it can be difficult to find a balance between the different familial styles. However, generally the styles fall into two categories: authoritarian parenting or permissive parenting. Discover how to begin parenting together: authoritarian vs. permissive parenting, so that you and your spouse can tackle future challenges together and respectfully.

Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting is generally parenting that puts an emphasis on discipline, efficiency, capability, and productivity. These things are important in a child’s life. They help a child to delay instant gratification, attain goals, and focus on projects and relationships that are long term. However, when the authoritarian style is used primarily it becomes excessive strictness from which several problems develop. Excessively strict or harsh parents cull a child’s sense of empowerment and independence. In fact, many times strict parenting can develop a ruthless inner critic in a child which either leads them down the road to be a domineering person or a person who is easily dominated; they can start to lead a secret life. Children who grew up with very harsh parents tend to become violent, depressed, and/or passive aggressive.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting comes from a place of wanting to develop a child’s happiness, creativity, and self-empowerment. These things are important for a child to feel because they help a child connect with themselves and others. Empowering your child gives them confidence which is one of the necessary components to success. However, primarily permissive parenting can become wishy-washy and lead to chaos. When a child is placed in an environment without boundaries, they may enjoy it for a time, but it eventually leads to anxiety, insecurity, and an addiction to instant gratification. Children with excessively permissive parents tend to be demanding, spoiled, and selfish. They have a hard time making and accomplishing long-term goals.

Spoiled child with permissive parent

Finding the Balance

Good parenting finds a balance between permissive and authoritarian parenting. Both styles are necessary to raise well-rounded, emotionally healthy, and successful children. Children need to know that they are loved, that they can express themselves, and that their creativity is supported. However, they also need boundaries. They need to be taught how to practice, work, persevere, and self-motivate. To do this, we need to respect our children, listen to them, and be as fair as possible. We need to be able to discern when we need to stand firm and when we need to reconsider our position if it winds up being unreasonable. It is a balancing act that no one gets perfect, but is worth it in the end.

Working With Your Spouse

Respect and open, clear, communication are your two best tools when co-parenting. Discuss what you want for your children. After something happens that you do not particularly agree with, start from a place of understanding their perspective and what you agreed with, then outline with what you had an issue. Remember that you’re in this parenting balancing act together and that it is a partnership, not a dictatorship.