In the first four chapters of America’s Safest City, Singer discusses different parenting styles and the importance of finding a balance. In between authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting, there is the authoritative parenting style. The latter type is empathetic while authoritarian parents are obsessed with rules and lack this warmth. The authoritative parenting style “promotes self-reflection and critical thinking” (105). This style can help children “understand social systems and social relationships” (105). All of these benefits of authoritative parenting may help to lead children away from crime.
Studies have shown that children raised in authoritative parenting households “are less often troubled and similarly less delinquent; they are less likely to have a range of social and psychological problems” (104). On the other hand, authoritarian parenting may be too rigid for children and not allow for these skills to develop. Allowing children to have a more independent model while growing up has lead to children being able to develop important skills.
Authoritative parenting gives children social and emotional benefits that authoritarian parenting does not.
It is important for children to be able to gain these skills such as critical thinking and self-reflection. The attainment of these skills will help to reduce the likelihood that an individual child will become a juvenile offender. These skills all help produce children, and then adolescents, who are more self aware and able to self regulate. This parenting style is ideal because it is “most effective in enabling adolescents to graduate and manage on their own” (105). There are no real benefits of strict authoritarian parenting in relation to reducing the likelihood of offense.
Authoritarian parenting does not allow for children to be able to develop independently and function on their own after adolescence. The shift away from this type of parenting shows that a focus on children’s independence has become more important in society today.
According to most studies, authoritative parenting is the best model on all accounts. It leads to reduction in juvenile offending and allows for children to develop critical independent skills. Is there any merit to the authoritarian style of parenting that use to be popular? Could one argue that stricter parenting would reduce juvenile offending? The critical skills developed throughout authoritative parenting models seem to be the best option in raising children who think and act independently. Adolescents are less likely to offend given this style of parenting.