Opinion | Authoritative parenting should be standard

By Matthew Lozano, Columnist

It’s once in a blue moon that I scroll through my TikTok feed with the expectation to find useful information, but when I came across the account “lauralove5514” and her uniquely emotionally healthy children, I couldn’t help but stalk her page for 20 minutes. 

The style of parenting that helped shape these exceptional children has been referred to by many names, including gentle, respectful and authoritative, to name a few. Authoritative parenting involves parents who support their children’s emotions and aim to reason with them through whatever issues arise.

In contrast, other approaches such as permissive parenting, where the parent seldom enforces limits, may opt for not fully addressing the issue, if at all. On the other hand, authoritarian (not to be mistaken with authoritative) parents will often take the route of heavy punishment, sometimes even physical violence.

But why was it that Laura’s children seemed to be the most proficient at not only handling their emotions but problem-solving through their intense tantrums?

Authoritative parenting doesn’t just aim to make children feel emotionally OK in terms of processing whatever mistake they just made or the mess they caused. It also involves consequences to their actions, which proponents of authoritarian parenting often do not recognize. Usually, authoritative parents are seen as just coddling their children and not effectively helping make sure that bad actions are not repeated, but parents like Laura showcase just how successful their “correlated consequences” really are.

In one of Laura’s videos, her son Jonah is visibly frustrated as he hurls the sprinkles for his toast onto the ground. As Laura levels with him on why he did what he did, she follows through by providing a consequence to the mess he made, which in this case, is simply cleaning it up. If Jonah chooses not to comply, Laura will either provide numerous ways he can clean or will offer to help him herself, either of which Jonah usually opts for. 

Regardless of whether or not the approach provided the perfect outcome, Jonah was able to understand that it was OK for him to do what he did, understand why he made the mess, and still receive punishment for his action. 

Research is still relatively new regarding authoritative parenting, but many studies compare the three types of aforementioned parenting in an attempt to discover which is most productive. One study points to authoritative parenting being the most successful in providing higher levels of “life satisfaction” throughout childhood.

It’s important to note that this method of parenting is not perfect. Many critics call attention to the impracticality of watching your child’s every move like an “emotional security guard,” which is an authoritative parent who micromanages their child’s every act.

Children sometimes don’t engage in wrongdoing as a stress response, but authoritative parents show the value in treating the majority of issues as such to lead to a more well-rounded child.

With that, the idea should remain clear. You do what you can to allow your child to generally be successful and properly manage their emotions. You can’t control every aspect of their misbehavior, but with authoritative parenting, you can help them understand their choices and emotions so that when they decorate the floor with today’s snack, it may not be a meltdown.

 

Matthew is a sophomore in LAS.

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