Parenting Styles Abstract This paper analyzes various parenting styles based on research by developmental professionals. The four basic patterns of behavior discussed here are authoritarian, authoritative, neglectful and indulgent parenting with the latter two being classified as permissive. Characteristics typical to each of these styles and their effect on parent and child will be explored in detail. Cultural differences will be discussed and what influences parenting has on education. Behaviorist research will be introduced and examined for comparison to the developmental approach.
The research will indicate that about one-third of all parents use authoritative style of parenting. Regardless of the preferred style, varying factors such as culture, the temperament of the child and parent, and parental status will influence the interactive process of that style. Most parents could benefit from knowledge and information of these style to improve their parenting skills. Review of Parenting Styles A parenting style is a pattern of behavior that influences child-rearing practices.
Approaches vary based on several factors, ranging from how parents themselves were raised to the goals parents have for their children.
“Although many advances in social development are prompted by peer interaction, parents’ child-rearing patterns also shape their children’s social competence”. (Feldman, 2000, p. 373) Is there a way to parent children that is better than others? Diana Baumrind is a leading authority on parenting and she believes that parents should be neither punitive nor aloof. Baumrind believes that parents should develop rules for children while at the same time being portive and nurturant. Santrock, 2001) Classic research by Diana Baumrind concluded that parents fit into one of four basic patterns of behavior based on the dimension of warmth and control. (Strauss, 2002) The four parenting styles that Baumrind say exist are authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting, neglectful parenting, and indulgent parenting. (Santrock, 2001) Authoritarian parents are also known as autocratic parents. 25% of parents today are authoritarian parents. (Chao & Willms, 1998) “Do what I say” is a phrase that could sum up the thinking style of authoritarian parents. Waitley) According to Strauss, authoritarian parents often: firmly enforce rules, show anger and displeasure, view the child as antisocial, do not consider a child’s opinion, give harsh and punitive punishment, offer little positive support, and limit shared activities (parent and child) Children of authoritarian parents often have similar resulting characteristic. According to Waitley, children of authoritarian parents are often: unable to initiate an activity, have difficulty making friends, have poor communication skills, are coercive, sneaky, demanding, unsympathetic, lonely, withdrawn, comply or defy, and have a poor self-image.
Authoritative parents are democratic parents. Authoritative parents make up 33% of all parents. (Chao & Willms, 1998) Their parenting attitude could be summed up with the phrase, “Let’s talk it over. ” (Waitley) According to Strauss, authoritative parents often: have rules and expectations that are appropriate for age and ability of the child, communicate rules clearly, firmly enforce rules, do not yield to coercion, consider a child’s wishes and solicit opinions, are warm, involved, and responsive, participate and value joint activities, promote positive self regard, set and enforce educational standards.
According to Waitley, children of authoritative parents are: socially competent, responsible, trustworthy, have high self esteem, are cooperative, have a strong sense of self-discipline, are confident, determined, and develop positive relationships with family, friends and others. Neglectful parenting is a permissive form of parenting. 25% of all parents are permissive parents. (Chao & Willms) Neglectful parents are parents who are uninvolved in their children’s lives. (Santrock, 2001) According to Strauss, neglectful parents are often: uncaring, neglectful, selfish, inconsistent, and sometimes abusive.
Effects of neglectful parenting can also be seen in children. According to Waitley, children of neglectful parents often: lack self-control, are confused, have low self-esteem, are discouraged, and defy limits yet want/need limits. Indulgent parenting is also a permissive form of parenting. Indulgent parenting can be summed up with the phrase, “Do what you want to. ” (Waitley) According to Strauss, indulgent parents: do not enforce rules, do not communicate rules clearly, yield to coercion, have few expectations for mature behavior, hide impatience or anger, ignore/accept bad behavior, and are generally warm and loving.
According to Waitley, children of indulgent parents often: have no self-control, lack social skills, lack responsibility, and have no self-discipline. From these descriptions, research endorses the theory that parenting style influences the development of children and adolescents. Children of authoritative parents fare best: Their social skills are high—they are likable, self-reliant, independent, and cooperative. (Feldman, 2000) It is important to note that in many cases authoritarian and permissive parents produce children who are perfectly well adjusted.
Moreover, children are born with a particular temperament- a basic, innate disposition. The kind of temperament a baby is born with may in part elicit particular kinds of parental child-rearing styles. (Feldman, 2000) Another influence that affects parenting styles is culture. The findings regarding child-rearing styles are probably most valid to families of European descent. A dominant value in U. S. societies is that all children should learn to be independent and not rely too heavily on their parents. Child rearing in other ethnic groups often reflects different customs and belief systems.
This is especially true with respect to the meaning attached to a child’s behavior. (Coon, 2001, p. 101) The meaning will depend on the parents’ cultural beliefs and values. These differences in cultural values will result in very different philosophies of child rearing. (Feldman, 2000, p. 373) According to Harris, a weakness in Baumrinds study is that it does not consider cultural influences. For example, Asian, African American, and Hispanic parents are more likely to use controlling parenting styles because of the environment they inhabit.
Harris believes that the community influences in these cultures have a greater impact on the child than the particular parenting style. Harris and other behaviorists strongly disagree with the research by Baumrind and other developmentalists. Harris concludes that “personality is shaped by the experiences children have outside the home– in particular, experiences with peers—and that any similarities between parents and children are due to shared genes and a shared culture. This debate was addressed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation by sponsoring a conference and a book titled “Parenting and the Childs World: Influences on Academic, Intellectual and Socioeconomical Development. ” The book has chapters by Harris and behavioral geneticist David Rowe, PhD to support Harris’s view while a cadre of developmental psychologists detail research to support developmental influences. (Azar, 2000) The conclusion drawn from this book is that parenting does matter. That is not to say that genes and peers don’t, but the book makes no attempt to weigh the three in terms of which factor is more or less important. ” (Azar, 2000) “The idea is to figure out when, where, and how parenting matters”, says John Bokowski, PhD. Professor of psychology at The University of Notre Dame. Does parenting matter in the field of education? Borkowski says yes. Along with Borkowski, Sharon Ramey, Ph. D. has edited a book entitled “How do parents matter? ” Ramey says, “Parenting influences are much more than parents’ desires to mold children.
Can you make your child be who you want? Of course not. ” Ramey also says it is preposterous to even ask the question, “Do parents matter? ” (Azar, 2000) In a conference workshop paper for “Investing in Children: A National Research Conference, 1998”, Ruth K. Chao and J. Douglas Willms write, “Children of authoritarian parents and permissive parents tend to have relatively poor schooling outcomes. ” Chao and Willms also state: One of the assumptions underlying the “culture of poverty” thesis is that children of poor parents have worse schooling outcomes because of the way they are parented.
With respect to the literature on parenting styles, the argument is that parents with fewer resources tend to be authoritarian or permissive, and their style of parenting contributes to the difficulties their children often experience. The findings in the conference workshop paper have challenged the widespread belief that children of poor families do not fare well because of parenting. Regardless of the Socio-Economic Status of the family, research indicates that positive parenting practices do influence the childhood outcomes.
Chao and Willms state that “both positive and negative parenting practices are found in rich and poor families alike”. These parenting styles may not be so distinct in real life. Every parent will spend a bit of time in each one. A normally authoritative mother may become permissive when she has too much to do. A permissive father might become authoritarian when he becomes frustrated with his child’s extreme selfishness. Most parents have a dominant style of parenting that they use throughout their child’s life, but circumstances and relationship dynamics frequently produce a mix of styles. Different styles f parenting will be used depending on the different temperament of the child. In multiple children families, parents will probably use different styles on the children at one time or another. Research has shown that a majority of parents are not prepared to deal with parenthood. Knowledge and information of the different styles will prepare a parent for the experience of raising a child since there is only one opportunity per child to guide through the real world. Regardless of the preferred parenting style, research has demonstrated that positive parenting does matter in a child’s development and personality.
Bibliography: References Azar, Beth. How do parents matter? (2000, July/August). Let us count the ways. Monitor on Psychology, vol. 31. Retrieved November 19, 2002, from http://www. apa. org/monitor/julaug00/parents. html. Chao, R. K. and Willms, J. D. (1998). Do Parenting Practices Make a Difference? Workshop Paper for: “Investing in Children: A National Research Conference, 1998”. Retrieved November 19, 2002 from http://www. hrdc-drhc. gc. ca/sp-ps/arb-dgra/nlscy-elnej/w-98-32es-e. pdf. Coon, D. (2001). Introduction to Psychology, Gateway to Mind and Behavior (9th ed. . United States: Wadsworth Feldman, R. S (2000), Essentials of Understanding Psychology. (4th ed. ) United States McGraw-Hill. Harris, J. R. (1998). The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York: The Free Press Santrock, J. W. (2001) Educational Psychology. McGraw-Hill. Strauss, M. PhD. Effects of Family. Retrieved November 20, 2002, from http://www. pitt. edu/~strauss/ramny. htm. Waitly, D. Am I A Good Parent? Retrieved November 20, 2002, from http://www. ext. nodak. edu/extnews/pipeline/pp-fw. htm.
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