Authoritative Parenting

Winner, Gifted Children, 196-7

Parents of gifted, high-achieving children expect a high level of performance and monitor their children to make sure they are making continual progress.  But these parents are rarely rigid, domineering, and authoritarian.  Valuing and nurturing independence in their children, these parents expect their children to make decisions for themselves and even to take some risks.

The desire to achieve seems to come not from being driven but from being given the chance to master challenges on one’s own.  Children who are given no autonomy to pursue their own interests often stop achieving as soon as they can escape the parental pressure.

The value placed on independence development can be seen at its most extreme in the parents of children gifted in the visual arts in our culture…

Parents who grant their children autonomy while at the same time setting clear standards have been described as authoritative, in contrast to authoritarian.  Authoritarian parents are rigid and dictatorial; authoritative ones convey a clear set of moral standards but respect their children’s independence and tolerate early errors….

Domination can lead to rebellion, resentment, and disaffection.


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