I'm only a few pages into Hold On to Your Kids but already I feel my entire parental life rushing before my eyes: from Neufeld's perspective, everything looks different.
Ed and I are "authoritative parents," so much so that we ended up pulling C. out of public school and sending him to an "authoritative" high school (a Jesuit school).
"Authoritative parenting" is warm/strict (in Doug Lemov's terms). Actually, it's warm/strict combined with 'autonomy,' which means autonomy of thought, not behavior. Teenagers being raised by authoritative parents are free to think whatever they please without incurring the wrath of their parents. But the rules stand.
With authoritative parenting, warmth is as important as strictness; without the warmth you have authoritarian parenting, which does not work. But the name American psychologists have given to effective parenting is authoritative parenting, and I have always thought about "authoritative parenting" in terms of parental authority first and foremast. I took the warmth for granted.
Reading Neufeld, I think that's wrong.
I think the essence of authoritative parenting is that the parent-child attachment remains quite strong even through the teen years and even in the midst of a "youth culture."
A few minutes ago, I pulled out my copy of Steinberg's Beyond the Classroom and tracked down this passage, which I remembered from the book. Although it made a big impression on me when I first read it years ago, today I discover that it's almost a throwaway:
Adolescents from permissive homes are in some ways a mirror image of those from authoritarian homes. On measures of misbehavior and lack of compliance with adult authority, permissively raised adolescents often appear to be in some trouble. Their drug and alcohol use is higher than other adolescents, their school performance is lower, and their orientation toward school is weaker. All of this suggest some reluctance, or perhaps difficulty in buying into the values and norms of adults (most of whom would counsel staying out of trouble and doing well in school). At the same time, though, the adolescents from permissive homes report a level of self-assurance, confidence, and social poise comparable to that seen in the teenagers from authoritative households. Especially attuned to their peers, adolescents from permissive homes are both more capable in social situations with their age mates and more susceptible to their friends' influence. All in all, it appears as if parental permissiveness leads teenagers to be relatively more oriented toward their peers, and less oriented toward their parents and other adults, such as teachers.This may be the only passage in the book that addresses the subject of peer versus adult orientation. The rest of the book takes it as a given that all teens are effectively 'raised' by other teens (although that is not the way Steinberg puts it): that this is a natural state of affairs.
The differences we observed among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive homes point once again to the power of authoritative parenting---this time, during adolescence--as an approach to child-rearing that protects adolescents from getting into trouble while at the same time promoting their maturity and successful school performance.
But it's not. A separate "youth culture" or "generation gap" is a relatively new phenomenon. The word "teenager" didn't even exist until after World War II.