Authoritarian Parenting

Nate, Ethan, and Cole

Why Parents Are Authoritarian

The most common reasons why parents choose to be authoritarian are based upon the environment in which the family is situated. In impoverished families, parents are strict on their kids in order to push them to succeed. Wishing the best for their kids, parents resort to pushing their kids to do better in order to climb socioeconomic ranks. This coupled with the stress from financial issues, pushes the parents to adopt cold and stringent relationships with their kids. In volatile environments, such as dangerous neighborhoods or dysfunctional families, harsh conditions cause parents to act authoritarian to prevent their kids from falling onto a negative path. Outside pressures in volatile environments cause parents to adopt a more harsh attitude toward their kids, so that the kids may elevate above the environment and go on to live better lives. Last, the most common reason for authoritarian parenting is the parents themselves experienced the same style of parenting. Parents then believe that since they were raised that way, that form the best to raise their kids. The psychological affects on the parents will transform what they believe is the correct way to raise their kid.

Social Developmental Issues

Authoritarian parenting more or less robs children of their individuality and impedes on essential social development. Parents usually want what they believe to be best for their children, however what they think of as best may wipe them clean of their personality. The authoritarian parent imposes their wishes and demands onto his or her children in order to fulfill personal wishes. Children become projects, and the children lose their sense of personality. Their own wishes and dreams are not met because of the parents overwhelming sense of authority and hunger for obedience.

This parenting controls children's lives and limits the opportunities for them to develop strong social skills. These children tend to withdraw from their peers and struggle to positively socialize. Also, in many cases, they experience decreased empathy accompanied with externalizing behaviors. They lack the strong skills needed succeed in this competitive world. Authoritarian parenting separates children from society and decreases the chances of leading a positive lifestyle after childhood.

Physiological Effects

Authoritarian parenting elicits a toxic stress response in children. Repeated exposure to this parenting style creates a multitude of long-term health issues for victims. Toxic stress leads to overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol. When experienced with regularity, cortisol release will change the structure and functionality of the brain, heighten chances of negative behavior, and create risk for heart disease and other maladies. Because of the nature of human hormones, increased production of cortisol over an extended period of time can reduce the brain's ability to regulate that cortisol's production. Cortisol release eventually reaches a nearly unregulated state.

In an unregulated state, cortisol is incredibly dangerous to a child's development. It's near-constant presence will damage the hippocampus, causing the victim to experience permanent memory issues. These damages hinder a child's reading ability and test performance. Likewise, cortisol can also damage the amygdala, which regulates emotion. As a result, a child will become hyperactive, suffer from attention deficits, and have trouble keeping calm. Further damages are done to bodily systems as well. Harsh parenting increases a child's chances of obesity by 33 percent.

The scary reality of these conditions is that a parent does not have to be harsh with their child in order to create them. If a child merely lacks engagement with their parent(s) they will suffer the same as a child who is physically beaten. The mutual variable is is a complete lack of communication between parent and child, which is exactly what defines authoritarian parenting.

The Verdict: Good or Bad?

Research clearly reveals a negative correlation between authoritarian parenting and behavioral, psychological, and physiological outcomes in children. Parents need to be conscious of how they raise their children for it has a much greater effect on their overall health than the parents may come to realize.

Works Cited

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. “3. Toxic Stress Derails Healthy Development.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Gagnon, Sandra, et al. "Help Me Play! Parental Behaviors, Child Temperament, And Preschool Peer Play." Journal Of Child & Family Studies 23.5 (2014): 872. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Harsh parenting, more common among poor, impairs kids' brain growth." Philadelphia Inquirer [Philadelphia, PA] 11 Dec. 2013. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Huang, Grace H.C., and Mary Gove. "Asian parenting styles and academic achievement: views from eastern and western perspectives." Education 135.3 (2015): 389+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

MacQueen, Ken. "Free-Range Children." Maclean's 121.14 (2008): 64. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Parents Magazine. “What’s Your Parenting Style.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 8 Nov. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Salamon, Maureen. "Rigid Parenting Style Linked to Obese Kids; Demanding, inflexible approach might foster negative response, study suggests." Consumer Health News 19 Mar. 2014. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

STEINBERG, LAURENCE, et al. "Parenting." Encyclopedia of Education. Ed. James W. Guthrie. 2nd ed. Vol. 5. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2002. 1847-1860. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

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