Adults raised by authoritarian parents

by | Sep 17, 2023

Growing up with authoritarian parents can leave a lasting impact on individuals, even as they transition into adulthood. This article explores the effects of authoritarian parenting on adults, shedding light on the emotional, social, and psychological consequences. We’ll also discuss coping strategies for those raised in such environments and how to break the cycle when parenting as an adult with authoritarian parents.

Table of Contents

What is Authoritarian Parenting?

Authoritarian parenting is a strict, controlling style characterized by high demands and low warmth. In this parenting approach, rules are enforced with little room for negotiation or explanation. Parents often prioritize discipline and obedience over fostering independence or open communication with their children.

The Effects of Authoritarian Parenting on Adults

Emotional Impact

Adults raised by authoritarian parents frequently grapple with emotional challenges. They may experience higher levels of anxiety, depression, and a persistent fear of failure. The rigid upbringing often leads to feelings of inadequacy, as they may have been taught that their worth hinges solely on meeting their parents’ high expectations.

Social Relationships

Authoritarian parenting can hinder the development of healthy social skills. Adults who grew up in such households may struggle with forming and maintaining relationships. They might find it challenging to trust others or express their emotions openly, leading to isolation and loneliness.

Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

A recurring theme for individuals raised by authoritarian parents is diminished self-esteem. Constant criticism and the lack of emotional support can result in a negative self-image. As adults, they may continue to doubt their abilities and value.

Decision-Making Abilities

Adults who were raised in authoritarian households may find it difficult to make decisions independently. Their upbringing taught them to follow orders without questioning, making it hard to assert their own preferences or make choices confidently.

Coping Strategies for Adults Raised by Authoritarian Parents

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy provides a safe space for adults to explore the emotional baggage from their authoritarian upbringing. It can help them unpack past traumas, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and work towards healing.

Self-Awareness and Reflection

Self-awareness is key to breaking free from the shackles of authoritarian parenting. Adults can embark on a journey of self-discovery, identifying how their upbringing has influenced their beliefs and behaviors. Reflection is the first step towards change.

Building Supportive Relationships

Creating connections with individuals who understand their struggles can be incredibly empowering. Supportive friends and partners can help adults raised by authoritarian parents build trust and foster healthier relationships.

Self-Compassion and Forgiveness

It’s essential to practice self-compassion and forgive oneself for perceived shortcomings. Recognizing that the past was not their fault can be liberating and allow individuals to move forward with a more positive outlook.

Breaking the Cycle: Parenting as an Adult with Authoritarian Parents

Adults who were raised by authoritarian parents may grapple with the question of how to parent differently. It’s possible to break the cycle and create a more nurturing environment for their own children. By implementing the following strategies, they can pave the way for a healthier parent-child relationship:

  1. Open Communication: Encourage your children to express their thoughts and feelings openly. Listen actively and validate their emotions, fostering trust and connection.
  2. Set Boundaries with Empathy: While boundaries are essential, enforce them with empathy and explanation. Help your children understand the reasons behind rules and consequences.
  3. Encourage Independence: Support your children’s autonomy and decision-making. Allow them to make choices and learn from their experiences.
  4. Seek Professional Guidance: Don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of a child psychologist or therapist if you’re uncertain about your parenting approach. Professional advice can be invaluable.


In conclusion, the impact of authoritarian parenting on adults is profound and far-reaching. From emotional scars to challenges in forming healthy relationships, the effects can persist into adulthood. However, by seeking therapy, practicing self-awareness, and building supportive networks, individuals raised by authoritarian parents can embark on a journey of healing and personal growth. Breaking the cycle of authoritarian parenting as adults and fostering open communication and empathy with their own children offers hope for a brighter, more nurturing future.

Overcome Stress and Anxiety

Discover our online program! Our video-based program provides expert recommendations, practical exercises, and powerful tools based on scientific evidence to help you overcome stress and anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is strict parenting different from other ways of raising kids?

When it comes to raising kids, every parent has their style. Now, strict parenting stands out because it’s incredibly firm, almost like a rock that doesn’t move with the wind. Unlike other parenting styles where there’s a balance between rules and understanding, strict parenting tends to prioritize rules above all. Instead of having conversations or finding middle ground, there’s more emphasis on obedience and listening. So, in essence, it’s more about kids following the rules rather than understanding them.

Can grown-ups get over the bad stuff from strict parenting?

Absolutely. As we grow older, it’s natural to reflect on our childhoods. For some, strict parenting can leave lasting marks. However, healing is possible. Talking to a counselor, for instance, can offer a space to unpack and understand those feelings. By gaining self-awareness and understanding themselves better, adults can navigate these emotions. Additionally, surrounding oneself with understanding and supportive friends can make a world of difference. It might not be an overnight process, but with persistence and the right tools, grown-ups can certainly heal and thrive.

How do you know if you had strict parents?

Recognizing the effects of strict parenting might be challenging, especially because everyone’s experiences are unique. However, there are some common signs. First, a constant fear or nervousness around authority figures like bosses can be indicative. Also, if you often doubt your worth or second-guess your choices, it might be linked back to strict upbringing. Challenges in trusting others or forming deep connections can also be signs. Yet, it’s essential to remember that everyone processes these experiences differently, so what’s true for one might not be for another.

Can strict parents start being kinder?

Change is possible for everyone, including strict parents. Once they recognize the effects of their ways and genuinely wish to change, there’s hope. With commitment, understanding, and sometimes even professional guidance, strict parents can transition to a more understanding and nurturing approach. It’s all about wanting the best for their kids and being open to evolving their methods.

How can talking to a counselor help people with strict parents?

Opening up to someone, especially a trained professional, can be incredibly therapeutic. Counselors offer a safe space where feelings, memories, and emotions can be discussed without judgment. By discussing past experiences, individuals can process memories and understand their emotions better. Moreover, counselors can suggest coping strategies that can be instrumental in daily life. Ultimately, this can lead to better self-esteem and a clearer path to personal growth.

Are there stories of people getting over strict parenting?

Yes, and many of them are truly inspiring. Overcoming the effects of strict parenting isn’t always easy, but with resilience, many have managed to turn their lives around. Many have sought therapy, taken the time for self-reflection, and built networks of supportive friends. Their journeys highlight the importance of understanding, patience, and the right support systems in healing and finding happiness.

Can strict parenting cause mental health problems later?

Parenting has a profound impact on a child’s development. Strict parenting, with its firm approach, can sometimes contribute to feelings of anxiety or sadness as one grows older. However, it’s crucial to remember that with the right kind of help, such as therapy or counseling, these issues can be addressed and managed effectively. It’s all about recognizing the problem and seeking the necessary support.

What to Do Next

Look at Mindphony’s Tips

Embarking on a healing journey after strict parenting? Mindphony has a treasure trove of advice waiting for you. Delve into our blog, especially the post on “Ways to Ease Anxiety Naturally”. It’s packed with practical tips that can be immensely helpful as you navigate your feelings.

Meet People Like You

There’s comfort in shared experiences. Connecting with others who’ve walked in your shoes can be both validating and empowering. Dive into our online communities to share your story, glean insights, and discover the power of shared experiences. It’s a place where stories intertwine, and friendships are forged.

Get Expert Advice

If you feel it’s time to take the next big step, professional help might be the answer. Deciding to see a therapist is a significant decision, and our article on “How to Overcome Anxiety and Live Without Worries” provides clarity on this path. It can guide you towards making an informed choice.

Believe in a Better Tomorrow

The past shapes us but doesn’t bind us. The challenges of yesteryears can be stepping stones to a brighter future. As you chart your course ahead, remember to take informed steps, and don’t hesitate to seek help when needed. To get a comprehensive view of the hurdles you might face, our post on “How Anxiety Affects Your Body” offers insights that can be invaluable on this journey.

Transform Your Life Today

If you're grappling with stress or anxiety, we're here to help! Our video-centric program delivers expert advice, pragmatic exercises, and powerful strategies specifically designed to aid you in overcoming these challenging conditions.

Related Posts