What's Your Parenting Personality?

Parenting Personality, p.3

2. Authoritarian

Clair and Cliff Huxtable

You could argue that there's never been a TV show with truly authoritarian parents, where Mom and Dad are the supreme power, the rules are nonnegotiable, total obedience is expected, and misbehavior is strictly and often forcefully handled. But The Cosby Show did have an authoritarian tone. "I brought you into this world," said Cliff, an obstetrician, to son Theo in one episode, "and I can see you out!"

Runners-Up: Olivia and John Walton

High Ratings: Since the parent is firmly in charge, the child knows the expectations and can meet them. Having clear-cut boundaries creates a sense of security and stability for the child. He respects the rules and understands the consequences of breaking them.

Low Ratings: The child obeys but may not learn. Since his opinion isn't valued, he never has to think about why something is right or wrong. In some cases, though, the child rebels -- acting in the approved manner when at home but turning into a terror when Mom and Dad aren't around.

Finale: The child considers the parent's love to be conditional. The young adult who results will tend to be very submissive or passive-aggressive. Either he bows to all authority or he rebels against it.

Is this your style?

  • Do you believe there's no difference between discipline and punishment?
  • Is respect from your child what you value most as a parent?
  • Have you told your child to do something because "I said so"?
  • Do you expect your child to be seen but not heard?
  • Have you ever used your belt on your child?

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