Authoritative Parenting using Discipline Model

Authoritative Parenting using the Discipline Model

Authoritative parents take the following approach to the components of discipline.[i]  They . . .


  • Are devoted to building the parent-child relationship with the primary goal of developing their child’s character and competence.
  • Are appropriately responsive to their child’s needs.
  • Unselfishly demonstrate loving care for the child.
  • Monitor their children’s activities and know their whereabouts.
  • Are both demanding and responsive. They integrate and balance high levels of responsiveness with high levels of demandingness in ways that are beneficial to children’s development.


  • Require mature behavior within the child’s range of ability, and base demands and prohibitions on their child’s attributes, abilities and developmental level.
  • With power-assertion demands, they accompany their demands with explanations to help the child understand the parent’s concept of appropriate behavior.
  • Use reason and discussion to obtain compliance and are willing to negotiate when they deem their child’s objections to be reasonable.
  • Model what they preach in areas such as self-control, generosity, and appropriate behavior.
  • Encourage individuality and independence.


  • Praise worthy behavior and achievement
  • Are warm, responsive, and support the child’s autonomy.
  • Show respect for their child in all their actions
  • Are warm and understanding of their child’s perspective.


  • Logically connect their corrective sanctions to the consequences of their child’s actions.
  • Don’t hesitate to criticize their child’s actions that require change.
  • Use behavioral control that is overt and confrontive aimed at achieving compliance with their directives; rather than being covert and intrusive.
  • Willing to use appropriate disciplinary spanking when necessary to achieve behavioral control and confrontive discipline.
  • Refuse to use manipulative forms of behavioral control, such as psychological control, coercive power, wounding words, and harsh physical punishment.

Because authoritative parents are warm, responsive and autonomy-supportive as well as power-assertive, their children are motivated to restore family harmony by complying or else by constructively dissenting in an effort to change their parent’s mind rather than to defiantly or evasively disobey.


[i] Adapted from Baumrind D. “Authoritative Parenting for Character and Competence.” found in Parenting for Character: Five Experts, Five Practices edited by David Streight. 2008. Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education. ISBN: 978-1-881678-76-2.