10 Signs You May be an Authoritarian Parent

"My Way or the Highway"

Authoritarian parent
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Authoritarian parenting is one of the four main parenting styles recognized by researchers. It's characterized by rigid rules and high demands. Authoritarian parents have high standards and can be highly critical when those standards aren't met. They also tend to offer less emotional warmth compared to authoritative parents. Read on to find out if you exhibit any of the characteristics of an authoritarian parent.

1. You have little patience for misbehavior.

authoritarian parenting
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Authoritarian parents don’t want to waste energy explaining why something isn’t a good choice and they're not likely to spend much time discussing feelings. Instead, when a child breaks the rules, they’re more likely to remind him that he should “know better" without any room for discussion.

2. You try hard to control your child’s behavior.

Demanding parent
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Rather than teach children to control themselves, authoritarian parents exert their control. Kids have fewer choices and fewer opportunities to practice self-discipline. The focus is on obeying the rules, with little room for creativity.

3. You try to shame your child into behaving.

Shamed child
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Authoritarian parents are very critical. They may say things like, “You aren't a good listener,” or, "How many times do I have to tell you the same thing?" They aren’t concerned about building or preserving a child's self-esteem. In fact, they often think that shaming a child is one of the best ways to motivate him to behave better next time.

4. You don’t hesitate to use corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment
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Spanking is used liberally in authoritarian households. Parents may use other forms of corporal punishment - such as making a child do push-ups or assigning manual labor - as a consequence for misbehavior.

Read More: Is Spanking Effective?

5. You don’t believe in ‘exceptions to the rule.’

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You won’t catch an authoritarian parent negotiating. Their children certain don't get any type of vote and it's made clear that the household rules aren't up for discussion. Parents often leave little room for any “gray area.”

6. You’d rather use punishments than positive reinforcement.

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Most authoritarian parents don’t believe in rewarding kids for good behavior. They think that kids should behave well and don’t need to be praised or rewarded simply for following the rules. But as soon as a rule is broken, a consequence is swiftly handed out.

7. You value discipline over fun.

Authoritarian parent
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Authoritarian parents are more likely to be nagging or yelling rather than playing with their kids. They tend to want kids to behave in an orderly fashion and they expect them to “be seen and not heard” most of the time.

8. You have a lot of rules.

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While permissive parents have few rules, authoritarian parents thrive on having rules about everything. In addition to household rules about safety or morality, there are often unwritten rules about how to do things "right.” Authoritarian parents often micromanage their children. They may hover while their children do their homework or complete their chores to make sure that everything is done in the manner they want.

9. You don’t trust your child to make good decisions.

Kid making decision
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Authoritarian parents have interesting expectations of their children. Although they have high expectations, they don’t allow for enough freedom for kids to show that they can be trusted. They’re quick to enforce their demands and prevent children from making mistakes and facing natural consequences.

10. You often say, “Because I said so!”

authoritarian parenting
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Authoritarian parents don’t waste time explaining the underlying reasons why certain rules need to be followed or why they’ve set certain limits. Instead, they’re famous for saying, “Because I said so!” They expect that to be the end of the discussion and don’t invite a child to weigh in with his opinion about why he disagrees or why he thinks the rules are unfair.

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