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Authoritarian Parenting


In the 20th century, clinical psychologist Diane Baumrind defined authoritarian parenting as a style of parenting that emphasizes high demands, but little or no feedback and nurture. Parents who embrace this style of parenting often do not engage in conversations with their children, utilize harsh punishments for emphasizing unnerving obedience, including shaming and withdrawal of love, and believe their children should follow them without any questions. Essentially, this style of parenting attempts to reflect the role of drill sergeant, who attempts to break the will and autonomy of an individual in order to shape them in his standards.


Authoritarian parenting style emphasizes the use of punishments to retain obedience and kill autonomy. For example, if a child steps out of line and/or breaks a rule, like not following a curfew, the parent may be abusive toward the child or could verbally shame and recede love from the child in an effort for him to follow the draconian laws that were set by the parents. This is extremely different from authoritative parenting, which may use punishments to emphasize following rules, but still retain the warmth and nurture to teach lessons in a variety of ways.

Another symptom of authoritarian parenting is the lack of verbal conversations. This lack of conversation may look like this:

Kid: “Hey dad, do you want to know about what I did today?”

Dad: “No. How were your grades today?”

Here, the father is seen employing an authoritarian parenting style because he doesn’t care about anything but the child’s grades, emphasizing his high standards but low nurture and care for the child.

Finally, an authoritarian parent emphasizes utmost obedience and requires one to follow his/her orders with no questions asked. This may look like:

Parent: “Take of the jacket”

Kid: “But it is cold”

Parent: “Are you questioning me?”

This conversation shows the attitude of authoritarian parents; as seen here, the child is threatened by the parent when he asks a perfectly valid question, showing the required obedience needed. Ultimately, the authoritarian parenting style emphasizes unnerving obedience and high standards, but low nurture and care for the child.


As a result of the draconian parenting style, children are known to develop detrimental mental effects. Behavior of children who live with one or more authoritarian parents tend to have worse behavior than those without. Mounting evidence shows that using heavy punishments don’t improve behavior but actually worsen it. Potential detrimental effects of this style of parenting include disruptive, aggressive, and defiant behavior, and also falling to harmful behaviors such as drinking and smoking to fill the lack of love from their parents. Authoritarian parenting could also promote children to become good liars in an effort to escape punishment from their parents. This behavior could leak into other aspects of their life, and they may become reliant on lying/cheating to succeed in their life.

Another negative effect of authoritarian parenting style is the non-acceptance of that child in his/her environment, which leads them toward anti-social behavior. Studies have also shown that these children are more likely to become bullies, ostensibly to release the pent-up anger that they gain at home. Finally, authoritarian parenting styles could also promote children to take up that style of parenting with their children. This may be due to their anger toward their parents or because they unknowingly adopted that style of parenting.

All in all, authoritarian parenting is an extreme style of parenting that emphasizes utmost obedience, used heavy punishments, and did not care or nurture for their children. This style of parenting often helps children develop bad habits and negative behavioral traits, which stay with the children forever.

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