Should Parents Be More Demanding and Forceful With Their Kids? – Slate Magazine

Yet Sax doesn’t seem to understand what authoritative parenting is. Take Sax’s “#1 recommendation” for parents: “Command. Don’t ask. Don’t negotiate. … When you lay down a rule, and your children ask why, answer, ‘Because Mommy (or Daddy) says so, that’s why.’ ” In fact, this kind of parenting is authoritarian, not authoritative. The scientist-authored book Authoritative Parenting, which Sax references in his book, points out that authoritative parents should be willing to negotiate and change their demands when their children reasonably object and that it is authoritarian parents who, “if challenged, threaten punishment and give ‘because I say so’ as a reason for compliance.” As Baumrind herself explained, authoritarian parents “do not encourage verbal give and take, believing that the child should accept her word for what is right.” That sounds a lot like Sax’s recommended parenting style. And research has found plenty of problems associated with authoritarian parenting. A study published this month found that kids of authoritarian parents were more likely to be bullied and depressed; they also have been shown to have less self-control, more alcohol-related problems, and more eating disorders. Finally, they eat fewer fruits and vegetables and are more likely to be obese.