What is Authoritative Parenting?

What is Authoritative Parenting?

What is Authoritative Parenting?


Wondering what parenting style is the best for you and your child? Experts¹ agree that authoritative parenting is the way to go.

What is authoritative parenting?


Authoritative parenting balances rules and structure with the needs of your child. Meaning you are going to listen to your child’s needs, but hold firm and consistent in your limit setting.

Authoritative parenting allows for give and take with your child. And while you can share your reasoning behind decisions, you remain the authority. The goal of authoritative parenting is to help your child grow and learn in a supportive environment that prepares them for real-life.

So what does authoritative parenting look like in real life?


I understand you really would like to go out with your friends, but I do not like you being out as late as they are going to be. You can go, but you must be back home by a certain time or you can choose to stay home and have your friends come over here.

Why is authoritative parenting so effective?

Because being supportive and providing firm boundaries creates the two elements that kids need to thrive – love and consistency. And while that sounds good in theory, researchers have done various studies to prove it’s more than just theory. The impacts of authoritative parenting not only makes daily parenting easier, but it also has lasting effects into adulthood. See the science behind this parenting style here.

So what about positive parenting? And where does it fit in?

Like authoritative parenting, positive parenting is responsive to a child’s needs and puts in firm boundaries. But positive parenting focuses parenting interactions on connection. And focuses your attention on the positive. The idea is positive attention for positive behavior will bred positive results.

This shift in approach can help you yell and nag less, all while correcting unwanted behaviors. And this can result in overall better relationships as well as a host of positive long term effects.

If you want to learn more about how authoritative parenting and positive parenting can help you in your parenting goals, schedule a free 30 minute chat and we’ll walk you through how to make changes.



Want to see the science behind these two parenting styles?

The below links will take you to resources outside of Happy Parenting & Families website


  1. Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior
  2. The Relation of Parenting Style to Adolescent School Performance
  3. Patterns of Competence and Adjustment among Adolescents from Authoritative, Authoritarian, Indulgent, and Neglectful Families
  4. The Influence of Authoritative Parenting During Adolescence on Depressive Symptoms in Young Adulthood: Examining the Mediating Roles of Self-Development and Peer Support
  5. Amato, P. R., & Fowler, F. (2002). Parenting practices, child adjustment, and family diversity. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(3), 703-716.
  6. Whittle, S., Simmons, J. G., Dennison, M., Vijayakumar, N., Schwartz, O., Yap, M. B. H., . . . Allen, N. B. (2014). Positive parenting predicts the development of adolescent brain structure: A longitudinal study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 8, 7-17.
  7. Chen, Y., Kubzansky, L. D., & VanderWeele, T. J. (2019). Parental warmth and flourishing in mid-life. Social Science & Medicine, 220, 65-72.