Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids    

Authoritarian parenting is out



Once-popular parenting style now seen as counter-productive

Authoritarian parenting is out


Almost a decade ago, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother: Raising Children the Chinese Way by Amy Chua was a runaway bestseller. It was much buzzed-about in my circle of friends, many of whom, like me, were in the thick of raising kids. The book was so popular, the term “tiger mother” – meaning an authoritarian mom who ‘gets results’ from her offspring using drill sergeant methods (And they love her for it)  – has stayed in the lexicon, and not necessarily as a negative term. But recent research suggests authoritarian parenting, as described by Kelly Burch in Insider, is more damaging than originally thought. Burch not only lays out the studies on how shaming, threats, and extreme demands can have long term negative consequences, she advises parents on how to recognize the authoritarian aspects of their own style.

My son was thirteen when Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was published, just entering adolescence. The authoritarian parenting espoused by Chua seemed reactive to much of the parenting I saw around me, which was largely even more permissive than my own “hippie child” upbringing. I was often unsupervised, with only three channels of television to watch, but as long as there were TV dinners in the fridge, I was self-sufficient. Whereas, in 2011, kids, then as now, were on social media, had iPhones, couldn’t tie their shoes, were fed according to their wishes, didn’t do dishes or take out the garbage, and, hand to God, even needed their butts wiped occasionally. And, in my estimation, most of this lack of discipline made them, and their parents, miserable. So when the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother came out, I understood its popularity.

READ MORE: The art of setting consequences

Now the tables appear to have turned. According to a Michigan State University study, people raised by authoritarian parents may:

  • Have trouble thinking for themselves
  • Have poor self-esteem
  • Have trouble interacting with their peers, because they expect their peers to listen to their demands, as they have to listen to the parents' demands. 
  • Have struggles with anger and resentment. 
Authoritarian parenting has also been linked to increased risk for drug use and lower academic achievement.  

Interestingly, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), “the negative effects associated with authoritative parenting aren't necessarily the result of high expectations, they come from the way that parents fail to respond to their children emotionally.”

In other words, if you’re going to be a “law and order” parent, you still need to be emotionally available and, occasionally, vulnerable. Even a tiger can do that.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • 5 tips to help you land a new job

    A solid interview can help you close the deal

    With so many job openings these days, you may think you’ll have an easy time sliding into a new role. Not so fast. Because of the huge number of options available and plenty of workers contemplating changes, you’re likely to encounter some competition to land the job you want. read more »
  • Healthy habits for your home

    5 tips to help you out

    If you’re like most Americans, health is an important aspect of your resolutions when each new year rolls around. While factors like diet and exercise are keys to healthy living, so are the ways you care for your home and belongings. read more »
  • 5 heart health tips for the holidays

    Keep your family safe during this festive season

    Food, drinks, gifts and time with family make the holidays a merry occasion for people across the country. However, all that celebrating can sometimes become a distraction from maintaining heart health. read more »
  • 10 health resolutions doctors encourage you to make today

    These actions you can take are some of the most important

    The New Year represents a fresh start and is the perfect time to invest in your health. However, you may be unsure what resolutions will have the biggest impact. Doctors say that the easy, tangible actions you take are some of the most important. read more »
  • 4 reasons to consider adopting a pet

    Pets can be a key source of comfort and joy

    More than 23 million American households added a four-legged family member over the last three years, according to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Through these trying times, pets have been a key source of comfort and joy – even improving pet parents’ overall wellbeing. read more »
  • Make a difference for children globally this holiday season

    Your gift can make a real impact for a child

    The most meaningful gifts are rarely the ones that can be wrapped and found under a tree. This holiday season, gifts can go beyond just thoughtful presents for family, friends and loved ones and can make real impact for children globally. read more »
  • Must-have tools for entertaining with ease this holiday season

    Having the right tools will set you up for success

    ‘Tis the season for gatherings galore. Whether you’re an all-star entertainer or a first-time host, having the right tools will set you up for success—meaning you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with loved ones. read more »
  • 5 tips to ace college entry exams

    Prepping for ACT and SAT exams is crucial

    Because most colleges and universities require applicants to submit ACT or SAT results as part of admissions consideration, prepping for the test itself can be a critical component of that process. read more »
  • Fun ways to foster a love of music at an early age

    4 great ways to get your kids interested

    It’s never too early to encourage children to love to make and appreciate music. read more »
  • Festive recipes for hosting an inclusive holiday gathering

    2 delicious recipes for you to try

    Memories made and recipes shared are the trademarks of a successful holiday gathering, and this year, you can host your way to a practically perfect party with delicious dishes that resonate with the flavors of the season. read more »