Australian parents are adopting an authoritative approach to parenting. Parents, Simone and Richard Clements with their children Riley (12), twins Hayden (9) and Carlee (9). Picture: Tony Gough
Australian parents are adopting an authoritative approach to parenting. Parents, Simone and Richard Clements with their children Riley (12), twins Hayden (9) and Carlee (9). Picture: Tony Gough

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Exclusive: A majority of Australian parents now adopt an "authoritative" approach to parenting where they explain the reasons for their rules, to help children who ask "why" all the time.

New data obtained by News Corp from 5000 parents surveyed by School TV, an online educational platform used by schools across the country, has revealed 80 per cent of mums and dads think being warm and responsive, with clear rules and high expectations is the best way to raise a child.

The survey found these parents with children age 18 and under, want to be supportive of their children but also want them to become independent.

Just 9.1 per cent have an "uninvolved" approach where they have no rules for their children, while 7.3 per cent are "authoritarian" with a very strict regimen in place where they expect blind obedience.

A further 3.8 per cent said they adopt a "permissive" style where they let their children dictate the boundaries.

The survey also looked at a range of scenarios.

'Old school' parenting style is what works for this mum

It found 62.6 per cent disagreed with the idea that children should be told exactly what to do and how to do it, while 27 per cent said they somewhat agreed and 7.2 per cent said they disagreed. A further 88 per cent said they should discuss reasons behind their rules.

It also revealed 81.4 per cent would comfort a six-year-old scared by a boogieman under the bed by shining a torch to show there is nothing there.

But 13 per cent would climb into bed to reassure them, and 4.7 per cent would say there are no such things as monsters while demand they go back to bed.

 

Some parents would climb into bed with their kids. Picture: istock
Some parents would climb into bed with their kids. Picture: istock

Clinical Psychologist Dr Hannah Norris told News Corp authoritative parenting has the best outcomes for children.

"Psychological research suggests children raised by authoritative parents tend to have higher academic performance, self-esteem, better social skills, less mental illness and lower levels of delinquency," she said.

"With children of more permissive parents, psychological research has shown they have difficulty following rules, they can have less self control and can encounter more problems in their relationships and social interactions.

"Children of more authoritarian parents tend to be less independent, they can have lower levels of self esteem, they can show more behavioural problems and have more difficulties in their relationships with other people."

Dr Norris said she didn't want parents to be afraid of being "judged or blamed" but they should adjust their parenting style to suit the needs of their child.


'CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY TO PARENTING'

Fiona and Michael Webb are raising their children Cooper, 7, and Stella, 3, to treat adults with respect and learn in a "caring and fun family environment".

Mrs Webb from, Stafford, told News Corp they have always set clear boundaries for their children but want them to grow up being able to make the right decision on their own.

"Kids will always push the boundaries, they might ask to have a treat at the shops or ask to stay up late, but we teach them when to stop," she said.

Fiona and Michael Webb with children Cooper 7 and Stella 3. Picture: Peter Wallis
Fiona and Michael Webb with children Cooper 7 and Stella 3. Picture: Peter Wallis

"Consistency with parenting is definitely important, and we've found being in a routine really helps."

She also said they want to coach their children to get to the right decision.

"We're not a naughty corner family," she said.

"When they have done something wrong, we take something away from them that they might enjoy playing with for 24 hours or a weekend, and we speak to them about what they have done wrong."

'THEY'LL UNDERSTAND IF YOU EXPLAIN'

Simone and Richard Clements feel they have raised three "very resilient and empathetic" children who are kind and have mutual respect for others.

Mrs Clements, from Nunawading, told News Corp they have always set clear boundaries for their son Riley, 12 and their nine-year-old twins Hayden and Carlee.

"We are both authoritative parents and they are always going to question rules and say things aren't fair, but they need to understand your decision," she said.

Simone and Richard Clements with their children Riley, 12, Hayden, 9, and Carlee 9. Picture: Tony Gough
Simone and Richard Clements with their children Riley, 12, Hayden, 9, and Carlee 9. Picture: Tony Gough

 

"They'll understand if it's a safety issue or see it from someone else's perspective and that helps them develop empathy.

"We try and help them develop common sense and know the consequences, but you never want them to fear you."

She said no parent is perfect.

"Every parent is trying to do their best and we are going to fail, but every child is different and you have to adapt your parenting style to suit their needs as well," she said.

"It is difficult, you have to be consistent with children and they will call your bluff if there's no consequences - then you are setting yourself up for failure.

But if you do the groundwork early on, then it does get easier as they get older."

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