Authoritarian Parenting: Little to No Explanation

The authoritarian parenting style is strict, with little respect for a child's curiosity, emotional needs, or building mutual responsiveness. This lack of explanation is a key pattern in authoritarian parenting, and often leads to a child's rebellion. A child's curious mind, eager to understand how the world works, requires nurturing and responsive conversation.


Pinocchio snatches Gepetto's wig

When Gepetto initially creates Pinocchio, he expects himself to have brought a child who will love him unconditionally, without question, into the world. When Gepetto carves Pinocchio's mouth, Pinocchio immediately begins laughing. In response, Gepetto orders him to stop laughing, without explanation. 

In this illustration, Pinocchio is seen snatching Gepetto's wig off of his head. He is confused by Gepetto's angry response to his laughter, and because he doesn't understand why his laughter is harmful (or why it should stop), he responds to Gepetto's anger by snatching his wig. Gepetto is upset further, and yells at Pinocchio: "You young rascal! You are not yet completed and already you are showing want of respect for your father!"

Pinocchio8-Gepetto Orders.jpg

Pinocchio eats a rind

This illustration shows Gepetto asking Pinocchio to eat the cores and rinds of several pears. Gepetto uses platitudes ("We can never know what may happen to us") to convince Pinocchio, a young boy who has only been in the world for a few days. In the end, Pinocchio does eat the cores and rinds, convinced only by his own hunger. 


Pinocchio meets Cricket

In this illustration, Pinocchio is shown throwing a hammer at Cricket, a large grasshopper who advises him to stay in school and obey Gepetto. Pinocchio refuses, and Cricket says: "Poor little idiot!...Don't you know that in that way you will grow into a perfect donkey? Poor Pinocchio, I really pity are only a puppet, and, what is have a wooden head."

The language Cricket uses with Pinocchio is authoritarian, rather than authoritative. Cricket uses shame to ridicule Pinocchio, his choices, and his feelings, rather than speaking to him with reason and empathy. He childishly engages in name-calling while simultaneously asking for Pinocchio to listen to him with respect.


Pinocchio meets Fox and Cat

In his many adventures, Pinocchio repeatedly encounters figures who take advantage of him under the guise of guidance or mentorship. This breaks his trust with figures of authority, including any parent-figure (Gepetto) or mentor (Cricket) who try to help him.

In this illustration, Pinocchio meets Fox and Cat, who have just killed a white blackbird. When Pinocchio asks them why they treated the bird so cruelly, Fox and Cat tell him that the bird was meddling in their affairs. They then offer to take Pinocchio's five gold pieces and turn them into two thousand gold pieces.

This illustration reveals the pure innocence and empathy of a young child--and shows the importance of how delicately these situations must be handled in order to teach a child respect for the life of all beings. 

Authoritarian Parenting: Little to No Explanation