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Autonomy-Supportive Parenting

Autonomy-supportive parenting is characteristic of parents who promote a child’s volitional functioning. Next to parental acceptance (sometimes also referred to as warmth or responsiveness) and parental structure (sometimes also referred to as regulation or behavioral control), autonomy support is a key dimension of parenting style that has received attention, mainly from the perspective of self-determination theory (SDT). According to SDT, people have basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Autonomy-supportive parenting is said to foster children’s growth and psychological adjustment because it satisfies these needs, in particular the need for autonomy.

Autonomy-supportive parenting gives children a sense of psychological freedom, authenticity, and ownership of their behavior (self-endorsement). These experiences of autonomy, in turn, contribute to children’s well-being and adaptive development. Autonomy-supportive parenting can be contrasted ...

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