Calm, Confident, Authoritative Parenting

Are Charlotte Mason's views on authority outdated? Your hostesses at Thinking Love don't think so. The idea of being in authority over our children is Biblically based, and also supported by modern research. 

The principles of authority on the one hand, and of obedience on the other, are natural, necessary and fundamental; but--These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon whether by the direct use of fear or love, suggestion or influence, or by undue play upon any one natural desire.

--Charlotte Mason’s third and fourth principles of education

There is a spectrum of authority. On the one hand, we have permissive parents. These are the parents who don't like to tell their children what to do, ever. They have few boundaries and allow their children to do what they wish. On the other end of the spectrum we have authoritarian parents. These parents tend to say "because I said so." They give orders based on their own preferences and expect their children to obey them. 

Tucked in the middle, we have authoritative parents. These parents are very different than authoritarian parents. Instead of arbitrarily making up rules, they are confidently in charge because they know what is best for their children. It's not about making up silly rules, it's about guiding a child towards what is right. 

Charlotte Mason urged us to be authoritative parents because God put us in authority over our children. He didn't do this because we are amazing or capable, he did this because we are mothers and homeschoolers. 

When we understand that we're under authority, out parenting changes. We no longer cave where we used to and we give up fighting some unnecessary battles. We find that current research says that children with a "firm but fair" disciplinarian thrive. 

Show notes

School Education, chapter Two (available to read online from Ambleside Online

Towards a Philosophy of Education, Chapter Four (Ambleside Online)

Research on authoritative parenting: "When parents are very emotionally warm, available, and affectionate and balance these qualities with consistently high expectations and a firm but fair disciplinary style, they create an emotional context or climate in which children thrive—this is known as authoritative or democratic parenting." From

Around the Thicket- Parenting Like a Queen

My Little Robins- Should I Expect My Children to Obey?

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  1. Pingback: Guidelines for Making Big Homeschool Decisions - My Little Robins

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