Finally-a formula parents can use to give their kids a leg up in the dreaded junior high popularity contest. It's just a matter of using the right parenting style. Parents who are friendly and supportive, rather than aloof or bossy, when their kids need help are more likely to be the proud parents of popular kids. It's the difference between authoritative and authoritarian.
Authoritative parents are more affectionate and pay closer attention to kids' needs for attention and help. They treat their kids more like equals and usually manage to maintain the upper hand without the stern discipline of authoritarians.
If a child asks for help with a math problem, an authoritarian parent may respond, "Figure it out yourself" or "It's obvious: the answer is 10." This parent believes in maximum discipline, minimum help, and fears that being too soft on kids is bad.
If The Netherlands team's research is anything to go on, authoritarian thinking might be exactly backwards. In a study of 112 elementary kids ages 6 to 11 and their parents, psychologists Maja Dekovic and Jan Janssens found authoritative/democratic parents produced kids who were better liked, based on peer evaluations and teacher reports.