When I was a little girl, I loved and feared my parents. Perhaps, fear was predominate. If you are 35 or older, very likely your parents raised you the same way. It was the era of Authoritarian Parenting, with strict boundaries and rules about what you can and cannot do and harsh or punitive punishment if you veer outside the box. The children produced from this generation of parenting – likely those of us older than 35 years of age – have some emotional baggage, likely, and yet we learned dignity, self-respect and thus respect for others. Authoritarian Parenting has about a 95% success rate of raising children to be productive members of society and their community.

This generation punishes parents for Authoritarian Parenting. Parents who slap their children, in public or private, can be criminally charged in court. This article is not promoting abuse or Authoritarian Parenting; however, the transition away from a style that is fear-based requires a transition to informed parenting! We’ve moved – or we’re trying to move – to an era of Authoritative Parenting, which has the most successful rate of transforming a child to a lovely adult human. Nearly 100% of the children raised in this style are exceptional members of their community. This style has rules and boundaries that are consistent, freedom within the rules, rewards randomly provided for good behaviors and children are taught to do right because it’s the right thing to do. To accomplish this task, parents must either learn to parent from their own exceptional parents or study how to provide this type of environment for their children. Two books I recommend are No Drama Discipline, by Dan Seigel and others, and The Parent’s Handbook, by the Dinkmeyers and McKay.

Unfortunately, what is actually happening today is not informed parenting. It’s the opposite of strict, called Permissive Parenting. Children are making their own rules about nearly everything; what they eat, what they watch on TV, when they go to bed, if they are going to do their homework, how they treat their parents and family members, etc. Parents are scared to say “No” out of fear that their child will explode. This parenting style has a 98% chance that the child will fail as an adult. Permissive parenting fails to teach self-discipline, accountability, structure, respect for rules and others and thus the child feels unloved love and does not respect his or her own self.

To move towards Authoritative Parenting, you may need some help. It is a difficult transition,
but it is worth it. The peace your home will feel is wonderful and well-worth the time and energy
commitment. I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I answer “Why?” when I make most rules? Do I find myself giving up and letting the child have his/her way to prevent a fight? Do we eat together and does my child decide what he/she will eat for every meal?
  • Do we have a difficult time going places in public because of temper tantrums?
  • What are the house rules and are they followed?
  • Do I know where my child plays, with whom they spend their time and how much time they spend on electronic devices?
  • Is family time peaceful, fun and enjoyable or stressful, critical and overwhelming?

Children are not equal to their parents. Children are not our friends; at least while they are
growing into adulthood. Children need to be taught in an environment of kindness, love and respect.
Parents make the rules and children follow the rules. This is a healthy and freeing balance in our
homes that allows us to look forward to coming home and feel at peace while we are there.