In broad outline, according to the characteristics and effects of teaching discipline experts have divided them into three styles. They are the authoritarian style, the permissive style and the authoritative style. The authoritative style is the third style of teaching discipline and in the experts view it is the one that proves most successful, is authoritative as opposed to authoritarian.
It can be described as being trusting, relaxed and democratic. In many ways it represents a middle of the road position, in which parents set high standards for their child’s behavior, are quick to give approval when the youngster behaves well and are equally quick to correct the child by way of punishment when he breaks the rules.
Unlike the kind of penalties that authoritarian parents favor, authoritative punishments tend to be reasonable and logical consequences of the misbehavior. Ideally, they work to teach the child something useful about the value of good behavior, and they are mild enough that the child can still have room in his feeling for remorse.
Authoritative parents also spend considerable time explaining the reasons behind the rules, so that their children gradually come to understand and respect the values the rules represent. Underlying the philosophy of authoritative discipline is the assumption that children are eager to be good if only someone will show them how. Authoritative parents accept that the developing child will make mistakes.
Such mothers and fathers are prepared to be patient, to repeat many tiresome lessons over and over, and to resist the temptation to take the easy, indulgent-indeed, lazy-short cut. They believe that each member of the family has rights and responsibilities, and that in consistent, effective discipline all parties can flourish.
The weight of evidence seems to bear this out. Children of authoritative parents are more apt to be assertive, self-reliant and achievement oriented, and better able to cooperate and get along with others. Because they have been well-loved and treated fairly by their own parents, they tend to trust and are themselves trustworthy. Moreover, when youngster raised this way grow up and become parents themselves, they tend to treat their offspring in the same firm, fair and loving manner, thus passing on the gifts and rewards of good discipline to another generation.