By focusing on obedience, authoritarian parents lose their ability to influence their teen through reasoned discussion or to help them develop good thinking skills. If parents impose very strict rules, teens often defy them. Then parents punish the teens and the teens in turn become more rebellious. It can become a vicious cycle. Angry teens may finally say: “I don’t care how you punish me. You can’t control me. Take away whatever you want. Lock me up. Kick me out. It doesn’t matter because I will still do what I want.” At this point, authoritarian parents lose their influence.

Seeking Positive Balance We have explained parenting styles here to let you know about the potential consequences of being an authoritarian, overprotective, or permissive parent. We do not mean for you to question every parenting action: “Am I being too permissive? Am I being authoritarian?” Too much questioning can paralyze you as a parent. Instead, be careful to avoid extremes and seek a positive balance. For example, instead of helping children understand difficult homework assignments, overprotective parents actually do the work for them. This leaves a child poorly prepared to deal with the realities of adult life. Overprotected children lack experience and may panic in stressful situations.

Research shows: Compared with all teens who drink illegally, teens of authoritarian style parents tend to consume the most dangerously high levels of alcohol.

OVERPROTECTIVE Overprotective parents shield their children from the harsh realities of life. Like authoritarian parents, they exert a lot of control over their children, but their method is different. Instead of using rules and threats, overprotective parents present themselves as allies. They see the world as a threat and express this fearfulness to their children. Then they rescue their children from dealing with any harsh reality.


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