Parenting styles can vary for a number of different reasons. It seems that there is a connection between adult authority and the resulting impact that this has on children development. (Marion, 2017, p.12) According to Baumrind, parents’ strategic discipline methods are categorized by the different levels. These levels consist of how demanding and/or responsive the caregiver is towards the children, as well as the children’s behavior. The different types of parenting styles were identified as the following: the authoritative style, the authoritarian style, and the permissive parenting style. (Marion, 2017, p. 13)
For this case study, I had to observe in different settings to get the information that I needed. I chose to do my observations at different locations that were spread out between four neighboring cities throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The two observations that were for the authoritarian parenting style were performed at a Whataburger in Mcallen, Texas. The second observation was performed at a H.E.B. in Edinburg, Texas. For the authoritative observations, one was performed in a Chick-fil-a in Edinburg, Texas, and the other was at a family gathering in Pharr, Texas. Lastly, the two permissive parenting style observations were done at a Wal-Mart in Edinburg, Texas, and the other was observed at a Ross store in Weslaco, Texas.
The subjects in this case study were a total of six adults and six children. When observing the the authoritarian parenting style, the subjects that were being observed were two adult mothers with their toddler little girls. Both of the little girls looked to range from three to five years old, approximately. The authoritative parenting style subjects that were observed consisted of involving a father and son. The little boy looked to be around the age range of 5-7 years old. The second observation in this particular set of parenting style was of a mother and her three year old daughter. The last set of observations was of the permissive parenting style, and they consisted of two pairs of a mother-daughter combination. Both of the little girls in this last observation looked to be in the age range of two to five years old.
For my first set of observations, I witnessed the parenting style that is considered to be authoritarian. This parenting style displays a high level of demandingness and a low level of responsiveness. (Marion, 2017, p. 15) This style of caregiving most often has a negative impact on child development, because of the confrontational methods used by caregivers. This can range from being inconsiderate and mean-spirited when reprimanding a child. (Marion, 2017, p.15) These traits were apparent as I performed this particular set of observations. When comparing the two parenting techniques of my “authoritarian” caregivers, the reaction from the child recipient is evident. The children were merely reacting to a parenting style that was low in responsiveness and high in demandingness. Both of the mothers were neglectful to their daughters, until they weren’t, and then expected better behavior without actually communicating this to the children. In one of the observations, the mother was very inattentive to her daughter, whom was acting inappropriate by throwing a tantrum at the grocery store. The mother eventually addressed her daughter, but the approach was verbally aggressive and quite ineffective. The little girl portrayed low self-esteem and a lack of trust/bond with the mother. The second observation displayed a mirroring of bad behavior. Due to the mother being unresponsive toward her daughter’s insubordinate and rude behavior, the issue was not corrected. The negative and forceful tactics seemed to confuse the little girl, because of the inconsistent manner in which she’s addressed.
For my second set of observations, the parenting style that I came across was the authoritative caregiver. This parenting style is equipped to help promote positive qualities in children, and is high in demandingness and high in responsiveness. (Marion, 2017, p. 13) I found this parenting style to deliver just that as I observed the authoritative caregivers with their children. The two observations displayed warm and nurturing characteristics, as well as developmentally appropriate discipline strategies. (Marion, 2017, p. 13) In one of the observations, I noticed that a certain request from the parent was firm, but also fairly reasonable to ask of the child. This pertains to a mother asking her daughter to put away her toys and to put on her socks and shoes at a family gathering. When the daughter refused to put on her socks and shoes, the mother redirected her by explaining why she needed to do the task that was being asked of her. The communication was clear and positive, thus warranting the little girl to follow the initial instruction. The second observation consisted of a father and son who were having dinner at a restaurant. The interaction between this pair seemed to be good and respectful. The issue that came across in this observation was when the little boy wanted to go and play before finishing his food. The father used good and reasonable communication skills to persuade the son into finishing his dinner and then he could go and play. Since the son properly responded to the correction of his behavior, it showed the competence of his developmental level
The final set of observations that took place were that of the permissive parenting style. This style of caregiver does not make demands toward children, and they are unengaged and uninvolved. Thus, this causes for the child to act recklessly and have no impulse control when displaying their behavior. In this last set of observations, both of the mothers displayed characteristics of being inconsiderate and un-nurturing towards their children. In the first observation, the little girl was behaving very badly at the grocery store. Her behavior consisted of bumping into people and knocking items down throughout the shopping isles. The mother was not at all attentive towards her daughter, nor did she have an interest in correcting the behavior. This in turn caused the child to not pay attention to when the mother did finally want to address the misbehavior. The second observation that I witnessed involved a mother-daughter pair at department store. The daughter was running around the store and not respecting other people’s personal space. Although this was a teachable moment for the mother, she was unengaged and did not demand any type of age appropriate behavior from daughter. The mother vaguely told her daughter to stop misbehaving, but it had no impact on the child. The result was the little girl having no impulse control because there were no appropriate discipline strategies attached to the “attempted” reprimand.
After analyzing these three types of parenting styles, authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive, it is apparent that they are all very different in how they vary and how they impact children. They range from having a negative impact on children, to helping develop positive qualities within a child, and give their child what they need but don’t give them good limits. (Marion, 2017, pp. 12-19) As I reflect back on my caregiver observations, I feel more insightful about the true meanings of the three parenting styles that were covered in this paper. I came to the conclusion that there is an action and reaction pattern associated with every parenting style. One thing that I did notice throughout the observations was the diverse background of the parents involved. The “authoritarian” parents looked to be of Mexican descent, while the “authoritative” parents were of Anglo descent. Lastly, the “permissive” parents from this study seemed to be young in age. This is not to say that these things determine or justify any particular parenting style or skill, but I do believe that our background has something to do with the way we may grow up to parent our own children.