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Comparison of Authoritarian and Permissive Parenting Styles

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With around three hundred million Americans and close to six billion people worldwide, parenting skills are important to maintain a healthy society. Parenting involves many aspects and requires many skills. It’s a time to look after, direct, and develop proper skills adolescents will need to be mature, responsible, and contributing adults to a society. There are four commonly identified parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved parenting. Of these styles, two are viewed on opposite ends of the parenting gamut. These two styles, authoritarian and permissive, both have harmful results that are many times visible throughout several developmental stages, such as defiant behavior. Every one of the four styles has its own advantages, such as acceptance by peers with common traits. Child rearing for most parents requires an always developing set of skills. It should also be said that there is no exact set of principles for every situation. What works for one child may not be effective for another.

Authoritarian and permissive parenting may have some minor similarities, but they are remarkably different from one another in their approach to raising children. One of the most striking differences is that of expected social behaviors. Authoritarian parents expect and require strict adherence to proper manners, often to an extreme. Demonstrating manners in all circumstances is a sign of obedience and respect within this parent-child relationship. This act of obedience may also be expressed in a formal style of communication rather than a casual style both to parents and others. “Yes Sir”, “No Sir”, “Please”, and “Thank You” are words of commonplace for children raised by the authoritarian parenting style. This style of parenting accepts complements from others on their child’s manners as an affirmation of a job well done in raising their child. Failure to demonstrate manners and thereby failing to demonstrate respect is often dealt with by strict disciplinary action.

Unlike the authoritarian style of parenting, the permissive style does not place such great emphasis on adherence to manners. Manners may be encouraged but are not viewed as a sign of a child’s obedience. Permissive parents allow and often even encourage casual verbiage rather than formal conversations with their child. Failure to hold the door for the next person or giving up a seat to a woman or elderly is seldom noticed or mentioned. Permissive parents fail to enforce some of the simplest expressions of manners. Correction and punishment is seldom given to a child for lack of manners. Children of permissive parents control their own behavior and in most cases make their own decisions. From infancy to adulthood, individuals make decisions all day long. Things like; how long to study for the upcoming test? What activities to participate in? What university to attend? As choices are made specific goals are set to ensure maximum potential is achieved. This process of decision-making and goal setting is overbearing in the authoritarian style of parenting. The child in many cases doesn’t have the option for open discussion when decisions about goals are made. As children attempt to reach these goals set by parents, it is made known that nothing less than perfect is acceptable. Failure to achieve goals results in harsh condemnation and chastising. In some occurrences mothers and/or fathers remove encouragement as a means of criticism. This support may be emotive affection, presence at the child’s events, or even monetary aid to college.

Unlike that of the authoritarian style of parents, permissive parents are rarely involved in decision-making and goal setting. Failure to achieve the goals that are set results in unreasonable and infrequently adhered to punishments. Ignoring the signs of a child struggling academically is one way a permissive parent places little importance on their child academic success. Involvement and guidance in complex decision-making is replaced by listening and support regardless of the implications. Children are left to feel unsure of their actions, have low self-esteem, and rarely achieve their full potential due to this permissive parenting style. The practice of achieving goals is a precursor to the stern demand of contributing to the home. The authoritarian parent frequently demands a substantial amount of contribution to maintain the home. This contribution may be monetarily or thru assigned daily chores. These requirements may be associated with cleaning, home maintenance, and childcare of a sibling. Authoritarian parents tend to teach children the value of hard work and dedication thru physical labor. Children are accustomed to working with stern supervision, and harsh punishment for a lack of quality work. This attitude of responsibility to the home is in direct opposition to the permissive parent. Children are pleaded with to accomplish remedial task. The permissive parent expects little, and receives little from their child in the area of chores. Due to the lack of consistency, children demonstrate outward acts of disapproval when expected to accomplish a task, and seldom follow thru with a given chore.

Successful parenting may be judged by many different standards. Raising a child to be a respectful, mature, and independent adult requires a great deal of effort. There are several parenting styles, and not all lead a child to reaching their full potential. Overpowering sternness leads may lead to a rebellious child, while passive parenting may lead children to inept for the challenges of adulthood. Parenting requires more than teaching children submissiveness, or building of self-importance. Children learn best from a role model who is admirable. Parenting is a great opportunity to set the course of one’s entire life in the right direction.

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Comparison of Authoritarian and Permissive Parenting Styles. (2020, October 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
“Comparison of Authoritarian and Permissive Parenting Styles.” GradesFixer, 10 Oct. 2020,
Comparison of Authoritarian and Permissive Parenting Styles. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Aug. 2022].
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