Spare The Rod? PsychTests’ Study Reveals That Strict, Authoritarian Parenting Does Not Produce Well-Behaved Children

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Research by PsychTests.com indicates that using an Authoritarian parenting style, characterized by strict boundaries but little encouragement and support, can do much more harm than good.

The Authoritarian parenting style, characterized by strict boundaries but little encouragement and support, can damage the parent-child relationship.

Authoritarian parenting may not necessarily result in well-behaved children.

Authoritative-raised children tend to have higher self-esteem, develop more secure attachment styles in their relationships, are more self-reliant, possess higher emotional intelligence, and are better at solving problems.

Here’s an understatement: Parenting is complex. Many parents feel that it’s necessary to be strict; they want to keep their children safe and out of trouble, and perhaps even prepare them for the “real world.”

This is often the thought process of Authoritarian parents, who tend to set stringent rules, punish disobedience, and offer little in the way of freedom and praise.

However, does strict, authoritarian parenting necessarily result in well-behaved children? Not so, according to researchers at PsychTests.

There are four different parenting styles based on the level of responsiveness (level of encouragement, support, and praise) and demandingness (tendency to set rules and boundaries):

  •     Authoritarian parents tend to set strict rules and boundaries, but rarely praise or encourage their children. Good behavior may or may not be rewarded, but bad behavior is punished without fail.
  •     Permissive parents tend to be supportive and encouraging, but are also quite lenient. If they do set rules, they generally don’t enforce them too firmly.
  •     Authoritative parents are responsive and encouraging, yet firm. They support their children’s individuality and opinion, but they also set reasonable rules and boundaries, and most importantly, consistently enforce them.
  •     Uninvolved parents are neither responsive nor demanding. They offer little in the way of support and often fail to set rules and boundaries for their children. Their parenting approach tends to be rather negligent.

Collecting data from 2,117 people who took their Parenting Style Test, researchers at PsychTests divided participants based on their style and assessed how each of the four parenting approaches impacted children’s behavior. Here’s what their research revealed:

  •     Of those who have an excellent relationship with their children:

o    73% are Authoritative
o    2% are Authoritarian
o    23.5% are Permissive
o    1.5% are Uninvolved

  •     Of those who have a “so-so” relationship with their children:

o    52% are Authoritative
o    17% are Authoritarian
o    21% are Permissive
o    10% are Uninvolved

  •     Of those who have a poor relationship with their children:

o    15% are Authoritative
o    62% are Authoritarian
o    8% are Permissive
o    15% are Uninvolved

  •     Of those whose children are well-behaved:

o    74% are Authoritative
o    5% are Authoritarian
o    19% are Permissive
o    2% are Uninvolved

  •     Of those whose children are not well-behaved:

o    35% are Authoritative
o    29% are Authoritarian
o    29% are Permissive
o    7% are Uninvolved

When asked whether they “love their children unconditionally”:

  •     98% of Authoritative parents agreed
  •     61% of Authoritarian parents agreed
  •     96% of Permissive parents agreed
  •     54% of Uninvolved parents agreed

When asked whether they consider it important to praise a child and let them know that they are loved:

  •     96% of Authoritative parents agreed
  •     53% of Authoritarian parents agreed
  •     97% of Permissive parents agreed
  •     57% of Uninvolved parents agreed

When asked about whether they liked the idea of the whole family sitting around the table, discussing their day:

  •     71% of Authoritative parents agreed
  •     50% of Authoritarian parents agreed
  •     62% of Permissive parents agreed
  •     37% of Uninvolved/Neglectful parents agreed

When asked if they consider it important for both parents to be on the same page in regards to how their children are raised:

  •     86% of Authoritative parents agreed
  •     52% of Authoritarian parents agreed
  •     81% of Permissive parents agreed
  •     64% of Uninvolved parents agreed

Essentially, even with strict rules and boundaries, PsychTests research indicates that Authoritarian parents still don’t seem to be satisfied with their children’s behavior.

“Despite the fact that Authoritarian parents make it a point to set strict rules and boundaries and keep their children in line, our study reveals that only 37% actually trust that their children will make the right choice, in spite of their efforts,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “That’s compared to 77% for Authoritative parents, 80% for Permissive, and a surprising 50% for Uninvolved/Neglectful parents. We absolutely believe that setting rules and boundaries is essential - it’s what Authoritative and Authoritarian parents do best. But without love and support to balance things out, Authoritarian-raised children will learn to fear their parents or purposely rebel, and with time, may even grow to resent them.”

“Authoritative-raised children, on the other hand, tend to have higher self-esteem, develop more secure attachment styles in their relationships, are more self-reliant, possess higher emotional intelligence, and are better at solving problems. Although some would say that there is no ‘right’ way when it comes to childrearing, research has shown time and again that firmness, responsiveness, and support tend to have a positive impact on children.” concludes Dr. Jerabek.

Want to assess your parenting style? Go to http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/2858

Professional users of this assessment (therapists, life coaches and counselors) can request a free demo of the Self-esteem Test or any other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

About PsychTests.com
PsychTests.com is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. PsychTests.com is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com). The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek
PsychTests AIM Inc.
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