Telling children "Because I said so" or "Because I'm the parent" are typical answers used by authoritarian parents, a harmful education style that was common in the 1960s. The problem is that some people who were themselves raised by authoritarian parents might use the same kind of outdated method with their own children today, even though much research has since shown that this can have very bad consequences in the long run.
By definition, authoritarian parents are... authoritarian, and downright strict. They expect their kids to listen and follow directions without discussion, or suffer severe consequences like threats, shaming, and sometimes even harsh punishment, verbal and/or corporal. Furthermore, authoritarian parents don't engage with their kids and don't give them the positive feedback and support that a growing person needs so much to thrive and achieve.
According to Alisa Ruby Bash, a family therapist in Malibu, California, "Authoritarian parenting is a parenting style characterized by high demands and low responsiveness." Many parents who apply an authoritarian parenting style believe it will be beneficial to their kids. But this is not the case. On the contrary, such methods can have long-lasting negative impacts, both developmentally and socially. It's true that the children will learn to follow the rules, but also how to cheat them; the worst part is that many of them will struggle in school and at life.
The list of inconveniences is heavy. According to Michigan State University, children raised by authoritarian parents can have low self-esteem, trouble thinking by themselves, difficulties interacting with their peers, and are more prone to anger and resentment. Authoritarian parenting has been found to be linked with both lower academic achievement and increased risk for drug use. A detestable method that should no longer be debated, but radically banned and replaced by authoritative parenting. But what is the difference?
While authoritative parenting could be confused with authoritarian parenting, there are key differences between the two approaches. Both styles imply high expectations, setting boundaries and following discipline for children. Yet, rather than relying on blame, shame, and fear, like authoritarian parents do, authoritative parents respond to their children emotionally, listening to their points of view, and explaining their decisions with logic and reason. A much nicer and wiser attitude.
Picture: About authoritarian parenting (Chris Hondros, Getty Images, w/Effects)