Are you interested in learning some practical steps and tips on how to have an authoritative parenting style? If so, I’m going to walk you through my nine steps on how to be a caring, high expectation setting and firm parent.
If you'd rather watch a video, then read about authoritative parenting style, I also made a YouTube video on this subject.
1. Listen To Your Child!
A critically important part of the authoritative parenting style is continually working to develop and maintain a personal relationship with your child. It is simple. Talk to your child regularly and continuously. Here are some examples.
- Ask your child how their day went.
- Know who their best friends are.
- Give your child an opportunity to vent when they had a tough day.
Now, this is easy to do when a child is young, but it gets harder over time. I’m fortunate; my wife is fantastic at this. My son regularly confides in her when he’s uncomfortable in school, had an excellent recess soccer game or needs some advice.
2. Don’t Judge Or Try To Help Too Much
Now, this second step is a little bit harder. It’s very natural when our children are struggling for parents to want to step in and help out.
I remember the first time I moved to California and my son was having a hard time making friends. It was personally painful for me watching him struggle and be a bit sad, but I’m glad I didn’t intervene, and I gave him the space to sort things out. The reality is life is hard, and while it’s essential that we are aware as parents when our kids are struggling or sad, it’s also vital that we give our kids the space to solve most of their problems using reason. This doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t advise their kids. It just means you should be smart about how and when you do it.
My son and I were hiking the other day, and while we were walking, he told me about a competitive soccer match at recess that was important for him to win. Now, I could see this game was stressing him out. So, I advised him to relax and play for the sake of playing. I thought this was fantastic advice, and he was going to appreciate it, but he did not. He was agitated at me, and he accused me of not listening to him. He wanted me to empathize and listen to his concerns, and yet instead, he felt like I was lecturing him. So we both shut down. We were both upset at each other. We both felt like we weren’t listening to each other and we finished the hike in silence.
Please comment below on what I should have done when my kid told me about the soccer game? If I was using the authoritative parenting style, how should I have responded?
3. Establish Clear Rules & Explain Why Those Rules Exist
Authoritative parenting style isn’t just about being emotionally connected to your child, because permissive parenting style does that as well. What makes authoritative parenting style different is that they establish clear rules and explain why those rules exist. For example:
- My kids know that they do not get to turn on the TV or play video games without asking.
- They don’t get to drink soft drinks when they’re not on vacation.
- My son knows that he better show me his math homework every single day.
They also know why every rule exists. That doesn’t mean my kids appreciate it or that they have a say in the matter, but they at least know there’s a good reason why every rule exists.
The best way to do this is to write your family rules down. Life is complicated enough without having to remember every single rule.
4. More Carrots, Less Sticks
With the authoritative parenting style, discipline is necessary to raising kids and sometimes, that’s going to mean you’re going to need to use punishments. However, too many penalties can cause anxiety in your child and when stress occurs, what happens in the brain is cortisol is released. When cortisol is released in the brain, the heart rate increases. Now your body goes into fight or flight mode. You’re not thinking; you’re just reacting. And long term, this shuts down creativity and thought in our kids. Instead of punishments, how about:
- If your kids get ready on time for school, they get to play with electronics
- Or to earn a story time, you must go to bed on time.
5. Set High Expectations
Another difference between permissive parenting style and authoritative parenting style is expectation setting. The reality is that our kids often aren’t going to make the best decisions because they’re still developing their ability to think long term. So, it’s our job as parents to set high expectations for our kids. Here are a few examples of how my wife & I set high expectations for our kids.
- We expect our kids to get their homework done on time without prompting.
- We expect our kids to read their five daily prayers and say the Quran before school.
6. Warn Consequences
A core component of life is making decisions, and the best way of making decisions is by weighing the pros versus the cons. Most of the fun and easy things to do in life have consequences if abused. So, make sure your child understands the cons, so they make better decisions. For example, we told our kids that if they ever went behind the swimming pool fence, we ban them from ever using the pool again and more importantly, they’ll be taking a dangerous and unacceptable risk.
The 6th Tip for Being an Authoritative Parent is "Warn Consequences". https://t.co/E6gjdMauDv Most of the fun and easy things to do in life have consequences if abused. So, make sure your child understands the cons, so they make better decisions pic.twitter.com/craAhrWYrO— Iftikhar (@khanifti1978) June 2, 2018
7. Let Your Kid Make Small Mistakes
One of the keys to having a successful life is making good choices. The sooner your child learns the skill, the better. So, try to find the opportunities to give your child choices and the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
For me, it’s important that my children do their homework and especially their creative projects with minimal input from myself. My son did his science fair project, and I gave him a little bit of help and coaching, but I’ve seen many many examples where parents essentially do their science fair projects for them. My son's project didn’t look as beautiful, it didn’t look as professional. Maybe he didn’t use all the right words, those other students had in their science fair project but it was authentic, and it showed a sense of ownership. How did he do? He won a first place ribbon, and he learned some valuable lessons along the way.
8. Require Respect
While we should emotionally connect with our kids, there is a difference between a parent and a child which a child must understand. Children need to respect parents and adults. Children don’t have to like everything a parent says, but they need to respect it.
In my household, we don’t tolerate eye rolling or back talk. If those rules are broken, there are going to be punishments.
9. Tell & Show Your Child “I Love you!"
The final step is the most simple, but it’s also the most powerful. Tell your child, “I love you.” Every night when I kiss my kids good night, I tell them, “I love you.” Even during periods of stress or family tension. These three words have the incredible power to dissolve any tension, and it puts a smile on everyone’s face.
The 9th Tip for Being an Authoritative Parent is "Tell & Show Your Child - "I Love You!"". https://t.co/E6gjdMauDv Even during periods of stress or family tension. These three words have the incredible power to dissolve any tension, and it puts a smile on everyone’s face. pic.twitter.com/FlAcpa4wpD— Iftikhar (@khanifti1978) June 2, 2018
Ok. So, now you know how to pursue an authoritative parenting style. But I realize that there was a lot of material that we covered and so, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple checklist that was reminding you of the path that you need to take? I created a one-page checklist on how to exhibit an authoritative parenting style. While research shows the authoritative parenting style is the most effective for raising kids, it’s also the hardest to implement. So, download the checklist for free, by filling out the below form.
What do you think of the nine tips? Am I missing a suggestion or do you have a great example of a parenting tip that you can share with everyone here? If so, please leave a comment below.
If you want to see examples of different parenting types, then check out my YouTube video. Parenting style examples (4 types of parenting styles). The video has examples from different movies including Mary Poppins, American Beauty, Despicable Me, Mean Girls and much much more.