The Courage to Parent Authoritatively: A Potential Solution to Parenting in The Digital Age

Photo taken by Emily Kidd -

I've just finished reading a very interesting post by Richard Freed, Ph.D regarding the benefits of authoritative parenting in this digital age.

In simple words, In this article, Richard Freed (psychologist and author of Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age) presents the idea that throughout most of human history, parents have been more engaged in their children's lives than they are today. For instance, for the 19th-century American frontier families, the notion that kids could ignore family and work in favor of playtime distractions was unthinkable. The demanding environment these families faced made it imperative that children lived alongside their parents and pulled their weight at home. These kids' lives, while challenging, helped them feel that they mattered and encouraged them to become productive adults.

Why is this relevant today? Why is parent authoritatively a potential solution to parenting in the digital age?

If you have a teenager at home who has a cell phone or other digital devices, you are probably finding difficult to control his/her use of digital devices. Parents who add their kids and teens to their family cell-phone plans claim that they're doing so primarily for safety reasons. Teens appreciate the gesture with the majority of them admitting that a major benefit of having a cell phone is the security they feel in being able to reach their families at any possible time.

On the flip side, cell phones are an addiction for many teens. From sleep deprivation to texting and driving, cell phones may also present a health hazard for teens who cannot break away from the social pressures of constant contact via cell phone. Sometimes, teens replace traditional social skills with text messages, voicemails, and pressure to remain available through the cell phone at all times. According to Dr. Freed, this pressure can cause undue stress and anxiety for teens with a large social circle.

Authoritative parents strive to have a strong, loving relationship with their children, yet they also provide high expectations and definite limits that help kids meet expectations. 

Authoritative parenting provides remarkable benefits:  Children raised with this parenting style are happier, less likely to have delinquent behavior, and tend to be more engaged in school and receive higher GPAs in high school and college than kids raised using other parenting styles.

Characteristics of the Authoritative Parenting Style

  • Listen to their children
  • Encourage independence
  • Place limits, consequences, and expectations on their children's behavior
  • Express warmth and nurturance
  • Allow children to express opinions
  • Encourage children to discuss options
  • Administer fair and consistent discipline 

According to this article, people with authoritative parenting styles want their children to utilize reasoning and work independently, but they also have high expectations for their children. When children break the rules, they are disciplined in a fair and consistent manner.

The key element that it's suggested in Dr. Freed's work is that the most effective way to raise children is authoritative parenting because it involves high levels of responsiveness and demandingness

What do you think? What is your parenting style?

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