Does Authoritarian Parenting Style Result

Parenting is one of the daunting task yet very rewarding when done appropriately. Childhood experiences have a strong bearing on the teenage and adult life. The four major areas that need balancing include nurturance, communication skills, discipline strategy, and maturity expectations. Parents have the major influence in the lives of their children. Therefore, their perception of thought patterns of children and how they should be raised matters a lot in determining the behaviour of the children. Even though other factors such as gene, culture, gender, finances, and peers also affect children, they are less important as compared to the parenting style. There are three main parenting styles; authoritative, permissive, and authoritarian (Glasgow et al 1997, pp. 508). This paper shall focus on the latter and its effects on the self-esteem and anxiety levels in teenage and adulthood. Studies reveal that parenting style affects school competence, antisocial behaviour, depression, self-perception, violence and delinquency (Dornbusch et al 1987, pp. 1248; Glasgow et al 1997, pp. 512). Both permissive and authoritarian parenting styles have been blamed on increased violence among teenagers with authoritarian style taking the lead (Steinberg 1994). Children raised in these two types of parenting styles are often susceptible to antisocial peer pressure during teenage. They learn not to involve their parents since they feel uninvolved and ignored by their parents. Authoritarian parenting is seen as the only way to discipline children, without knowing the long-term negative effects it may have

Steinberg et al (1994, pp.754) outlines that authoritarian parenting style involves being very strict and stern. It is characterised by less affection, strict discipline, high expectations, and more of parent-centered communication than child-centered communication. Parents order and command the children and the children are expected to show obedience and respect without voicing their opinion. The authoritarian parents often focus more on rules and the relationship with the child (Steinberg et al 1994, pp. 760). The children are taught to follow rules and not to take initiative. As a result, they tend to lack independence and rather become emotionally dependent into their adulthood. This lack of independence, both physically and emotionally, long into their lives is what results into low self-esteem (Miller 2002, pp.4). Steinberg et al (756) furthers shows that boy raised by authoritarian parents tend to be very violent while the teenagers tend to less self-reliant, have low self-esteem, persistent, and socially poised.

Studies have also shown a strong correlation between grades and the parenting style. Poor academic performance has been recorded among adolescents from authoritarian and permissive parenting styles (Dornbusch et al 1987, pp. 1248). They confirm that authoritative parenting produces kids with good grades. Authoritarian parenting style has a strong element of fear which in essence hampers the cognitive development of a child (Yang and Moore 2011, pp. 134-5). the study further states that effects of authoritarian parenting can be overcome if the parents balance between being responsive and demanding, which in essence is authoritative parenting.


This study is intended to explore the correlation of authoritarian parenting and the negative side effects it proposes on children as teenagers, and later as adults. The study may also help us identify a solution to change the authoritarian parenting style in its nature. In essence, the study does not propose harmful mental health effects.

Hypotheses: Children raised in authoritarian families tend to have low self-esteem and increased level of anxiety as teenagers and adults.           


The study seeks to find out the correlation between authoritarian parenting and the negative side effects it proposes on children in their teenage as well as adulthood. The study shall focus on the mental health of individuals in East Asia and South Asia that comes from authoritarian parenting homes and comparing them with the children raised in North America who are not under authoritarian parenting style. 


The participants in this study shall be drawn from East Asia and South Asia, where authoritarian parenting style is very common. Other participants shall be drawn from North America where the parenting style is not authoritarian. The participants shall be picked randomly and with their consent. The study shall pick at least ten participants from the two regions for the purpose of uniform comparison. After identifying the eligible participants, I intend to send postcards, brochures and newsletters. There shall be incentives for those who join as well as compensation for their time. The compensation shall be in monetary form as well as gifts cards from local businesses. Participants shall not be coerced to participate, but an informed consent will be obtained with assurance of high ethical standards.


The study shall be comparing samples of participants from two regions. They shall be provided with questionnaires with sampled questions touching on the topic of study. The statistical tool that shall be used is the T-test. This test will help to know if there are any significant differences between the two sample groups. In this test, we get the degrees of freedom and choose the level of significance which gives us the p-value. Then we read the t-value from the table. If the calculated value is beyond the value in the table, then we say that the two samples exemplify significant differences. If the t-value is at the dot or below the tabulated value, then we conclude that there no significant differences in the samples.


The study will take an archival and experimental design in which the participants will be randomly assigned to groups. Upon getting eligible participants and obtaining their consent to participate in the study, all the participants shall be supplied with a questionnaire with samples of questions that touches on how they were raised and potential impacts on the later life. Other data shall also be obtained from the archives.


For the purpose of this study, the appropriate analysis tool will be a t-test. The study involves comparing two groups from two different regions. Since participants will be ten on both sides, the degrees of freedom will then be 18. The chosen level of significance is 0.01. It is expected that the t-value obtained to exceed the tabulated value which would confirm the hypothesis that there is significant difference the two groups. In other words, children raised with authoritarian parents experience low self esteem and anxiety in the teenage and adulthood life.


Parenting style is often believed to provide the emotional climate for holistic development of a child. Many behavioural problems exhibited during adolescence and later in adulthood are the effects of parenting style. Much of the literature studied points to the fact that authoritarian parenting has detrimental effects on the emotional development of a child. In studying the performance of adolescents in San Francisco Bay across various ethnic groups, Dornbusch et al 1987 confirms that authoritarian parenting style results into low grades in schools. The finding is also supported by Steinberg et al (1994) which found out that authoritarian parenting results into internalised stress, affecting the mental health of adolescents. From the literature studied also seems to be pointing towards authoritative parenting as the solution to the detrimental effects of both authoritarian and permissive parenting (Miller, 2001).  Therefoer, the results from the study will offer a confirmation of the status quo and the possible guidlines that can be adopted in improving parenting styles.

Conclusion and Research Implications

Parenting styles offers a platform for the holistic development of a child. The psychological as well as emotional well-being of a child is determined by the parenting style. It is not wrong to have high expectations from a child, however environment should be created to enable them harness their potential without being coerced and threatened. The literature studied points to the detrimental effects of authoritarian parenting. This proposal will extensively bring out the mental effects and how parents can avoid such pitfalls. This study seeks to add onto the existing studies on effects of parenting on children. The study will help highlight the pitfalls that many parents get into without knowing the long-term effects. Many times authoritarian parents often have good intention of training their children. Little do they know the overall impact that their parenting style has in the later years of their children. Therefore, this study will provide valuable information on parents as well as potential parents on what to do and what not to do in the course of parenting.

The potential limitation of this study is the fact that less study has been done on the mental effects of parenting. It is very difficult for adolescents and adults to offer sensitive information regarding their mental health. Hence, the result of the study may need further validation. Many studies have looked into cognitive development but less has been done on the mental effects of parenting style, particularly authoritarian. This again makes it hard to come up with a general conclusion on the subject. It is very difficult for people to acknowledge their mental weaknesses and this would be greatest challenge in conducting the study.

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