Children who tend to lie or those most afraid of criticism may have authoritarian parents. Even though it's never easy to be a perfect parent, research has shown that some parenting styles are better than others. One style in particular - called "authoritarian parenting" - may have really bad consequences. What is it about?
Authoritarian parents practice "tough love" and consider themselves to be the "boss," gladly using sentences such as "because I said so." They have high expectations of their kids' behavior and expect obedience, leaving little to no room for questions and discussion. They neglect warmth and connection and don't care about their kids' experiences and emotions. The concept of negotiation is not in their vocabulary, and they expect their kids to follow strict rules promptly. The worst is that they often rely on punishment to enforce their unilaterally established laws.
Parents who follow the authoritarian approach may be doing so for different reasons. It may be their own upbringing, cultural background, socioeconomic status, or simply the hope of protecting their kids. However, experts believe this kind of parenting method can have negative effects, lower kids' self-esteem, and enhance their risk of mental health issues.
Even if an authoritarian parenting style - which is based on "control" - may improve a child's behavior in the short term, it often backfires in the long term. In such conditions, children may learn to fear their parents but don't learn how to behave better. Instead, they learn to lie to avoid getting caught doing wrong.
Actually, research has revealed that the kids of authoritarian parents consider lying as a way of self-preservation. But they often encounter other difficulties. They struggle to determine right from wrong, regulate their emotions, and develop problem-solving skills, among other problems. This is a system that may have a detrimental impact not only on the children but on the whole family.
In summary, authoritarian parenting is probably the worst option, education-wise. Among the negative effects of this parenting style for kids are: lower life satisfaction, lower self-esteem, higher levels of aggression, challenges with mental health, and increased risk of substance use.
By the way, the three other recognized parenting styles are the following:
Authoritative - also involves high expectations of kids, but with more warmth and flexibility.
Permissive - also has warmth but very few or no rules.
Neglectful or uninvolved - simply limited to satisfying the child's basic needs but with little support and communication.
Finally, loving and logical parents should have no trouble concluding which among these is the best strategy.
Picture: An overbearing parent lecturing a child (ChildUp & DALL-E - 2023)