Difference Between Authoritarian and Authoritative

The goal of the studies of Authoritarian and Authoritative was to examine the parent’s point of view and how it affects the development of the child. Naturally, it was never really that easy. We tend to categorize parenting as authoritative or authoritarian from the start. These are the two parenting philosophies that differ from one another the most.

Authoritarian vs Authoritative

Both of these psychological parenting approaches presuppose authority. Although they have similar names, they have quite distinct philosophies and impacts on kids. Here are some qualities that distinguish authoritative parenting from authoritarian parenting.

The difference between Authoritarian and Authoritative is that Authoritarian parents are distant and unresponsive; they view emotion as a sign of weakness and frequently use more severe types of discipline. Additionally, they exert strict psychological control over their children. They always believe that they are true.

On the other hand, Authoritative parents are equally friendly and receptive while maintaining high demands. Authoritative parents are equally friendly and receptive while maintaining high demands. Most significantly, they strive to strike a balance between a child’s obligation to adhere to the expectations of others and their right to respect and fulfill their own needs.

Comparison Table Between Authoritarian and Authoritative

Parameters of ComparisonAuthoritarianAuthoritative
FreedomThere is room for freedom and autonomy.There is NO room for freedom and autonomy.
ControlGive freedom within comprehensible bounds.Kids are under control and expected to obey parents.
DisciplineEmphasize teaching appropriate conductPrioritize punishing improper conduct
InvolveLess involved in kids’ lifeMore involved in kids’ life
TeachEncourage children to utilize consequences to avoid future mistakesInstruct children in using positive punishment

What is Authoritarian?

Parenting with strict authority typically adheres to an older school of thought. It makes use of expressions like “because I said so” and is built on the idea that children should only be seen, not heard. This parenting approach is characterized by a lack of encouragement and positive reinforcement. Authoritarian parenting techniques include stringent guidelines and high standards. They also fall short in giving kids with the tools and encouragement they need to succeed.

Little room exists for children to develop their own feeling of independence since they follow their parents’ instructions. Parents want perfect compliance from their kids, and if they don’t, they’ll discipline them or put a stop to any defiant behavior. When a child doesn’t listen or act properly, harsh repercussions come fast after. The child was, in a sense, set up for failure and then punished for it. Along with a general feeling of disapproval, common motifs include shame, embarrassment, and guilt.

The major responsibility of authoritarian parents is to compel the child’s will to submit to the authority of the parent, the church, or the teacher. It is believed that sin, bad behavior, and sadness all stem from willfulness. Therefore, a loving parent is one who makes an effort to break the child’s will.

What is Authoritative?

When we refer to someone as authoritative, we mean that they exhibit traits associated with someone in charge or who is well-known or respected. Being authoritative as a parent entail exercising firm control over the child, requiring maturity, and establishing fair rules that the youngster must follow. Authoritative Parents are probably friendly, nurturing, and receptive.

Secure attachments make kids happier and healthier. Numerous studies show that children of authoritative parents are, in fact, happier than children of authoritarian parents. Children from authoritative households have good emotional control because authoritative parents are sensitive to their kids’ emotional needs. They become resilient and are fast to bounce back from setbacks. Parents who are authoritative let their children pursue freedom and autonomy. They closely observe their children’s conduct instead of exerting strict control, and they discipline them when necessary.

For instance, as an authoritative parent, you would approach your angry child with compassion and care while remaining cool and methodical. Instead of responding in a hostile or frustrating manner, you enforce your rules and provide your child with advice on how to manage his emotions.

In this approach, authoritarian parents make sure that the child learns from their mistakes in addition to being obedient.

Main Differences Between Authoritative and Authoritarian

  1. Authoritative parents promote independence and autonomy in their children, while Authoritarian parents do not.
  2. Authoritative parents don’t use any severe types of discipline, while Authoritarian parents do.
  3. Authoritative parents exercise judgment and control, while Authoritarian gain high control.
  4. Authoritative parents enforce strict authority over the child, demand maturity, and establish fair rules, while Authoritarian parents believe in order, conformity, parental supervision, and compliance.
  5. Authoritative parents are extremely rigorous but also receptive, while Authoritarian parents are less responsive


Parenting that is authoritative and authoritarian may sound the same. Actually, they are very dissimilar. They incorporate various behavioral strategies and have varying degrees of success. Authoritarian parenting is like a dictatorship where the parents believe that their word is law, but authoritative parenting is like a democracy where the feelings of both parents and children are encouraged.
Children who experience authoritarian parenting frequently exhibit insecurity and low self-esteem. They are more likely to engage in disruptive activities at school, depression, etc. While some people succeed academically, their performance is generally subpar.

Children who have strong parental figures frequently excel academically. This is most likely because parent involvement and improved performance are correlated. The mental and emotional well-being of children tends to be better when their parents are in charge.

In a nutshell, authoritative parenting is one of the most successful parenting approaches, and multiple studies have shown that authoritative parenting results in children who perform better in school, have fewer problems with disobedience, and exhibit fewer indicators of depression.

Children with authoritarian parents are obligated to abide by the rules and uphold harsh discipline while remaining obediently silent. Little room exists for children to develop their own feeling of independence since they follow their parents’ instructions. Authoritarian parenting is comparable to a dictatorship if authoritative parenting is a democracy.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2017-14289-001
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03004279.2011.618808
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