Authoritarian parents are more likely to end up with disrespectful children who engage in delinquent behaviors, the study found, compared to parents who listen to their kids with the goal of gaining trust.
It was the first study to look at how parenting styles affect the way teens view their parents and, in turn, how they behave.
The study considered three general styles of parenting. Authoritative parents are demanding and controlling while also being warm and sensitive to their children’s needs.
Authoritarian parents, by contrast, are demanding and controlling without those compassionate layers of caring, attachment and receptiveness. They take a "my way or the highway" approach to their kids.
Permissive parents, the third group, have warm and receptive qualities, but they define few boundaries and enforce few rules.
Using data on nearly 600 kids from an ongoing study of middle school and high school students in New Hampshire, researchers from the University of New Hampshire were able to link "my way or the highway" parenting with more delinquency in kids -- measured in behaviors like shop-lifting, substance abuse and attacking someone else with the intention of hurting or killing.
Firm but loving parenting, on the other hand, led to fewer transgressions. Permissive parenting, surprisingly, didn't seem to make much of a difference either way.