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Want your children to take you seriously? Learn about loving authority

Team StoryWeavers|June 21, 2022, 17:29 IST|

what is loving authority

Most parents have experienced at least one moment where their child has refused to listen to them, despite giving clear instructions.  Children need to listen to their parents and follow the rules set by their parents because it keeps them safe – physically and emotionally. That is where loving authority comes into play. It helps children understand the difference between instructions that are non-negotiable and choices. 

As a parent, when you look back, you might remember warm but firm adults that you respected and the timid ones you did not feel the need to listen to. It is the same with your child. Your child knows you, just like you know your child. They understand how you respond to things and may at times use this information to push the boundaries you have set for them. You need to wield your authority as a parent while being loving and respectful towards your child. In this article, we will cover what loving authority as a parent looks like. 

Six things every parent needs to know about loving authority

Sally-Ann Creed’s book, Raising Happy, Healthy Children: A Practical Guide to Parenting and Nutrition, does a wonderful job of explaining what loving authority for parents looks like:  

  • Setting effective boundaries with children is a must. It tells children what is expected out of them and the reasons behind the expectations. Boundaries are followed by predictable consequences that further clarifies things for children. 
  • Age-appropriate expectations from children is one of the most important aspects of loving authority.  It increases the odds of children doing what is expected of them. 
  • Being decisive is also vital. A firm tone and maintaining eye contact while talking to children helps them understand that you actually mean what you say. It might help to get down to a child’s level while explaining things or giving instructions. 
  • Understanding the difference between children choosing to ignore instructions and childlike irresponsibility is critical. Accidents need a different approach than wilful defiance. 
  • Physical reassurance such as a hug or a high five makes children feel loved. Also, discuss the rules and the reasons behind them after each incident. Clarify the child’s doubts and concerns. 
  • Empathise with the child. Let them know that you really understand how they feel about certain things. For example: ‘I know you really wanted to go…,’’You must have felt so bad,’ etc. 

Loving authority teaches children that their choices affect their lives and that their parents will still love them regardless of their choices. Like everything else, be consistent with your child. Tell the child over and over again that you love them and will be there for them no matter what. Reiterate that you have a problem with that particular behaviour and not them as a person. It is super important. 

Did you like reading this article? What are some other things that parents need to know about being warm and firm at the same time? Let us know in the comments section. 


Creed, S. (2010). Raising Happy, Healthy Children: A Practical Guide to Parenting and Nutrition.

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About the Author

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She wholeheartedly believes in the quote by Arthur Rubinstein that says – “if you love life, life will love you back”. She is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grades 2 & 3, as a part of the Teach For India Fellowship. These little girls have a special place in her heart, and when she writes for children, she writes for them!

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