Early years of learning in a child’s life is believed to make a significant difference in the way they develop and go on to learn throughout their lives (Kim, 1999). Developmental psychologists have been making research about the role played by parents and its impact on child development. However, developing a cause-and-effect link between parents behavior and brought up and its impact on child behavior and attitude is a relatively tough task. This can be proved from the fact that children who share a home and are brought up in the same environment, under same circumstances may develop a remarkably different personality than one another.
A parenting style is a psychological concept based on regular strategies that parents use while raising their children. There are several different theories and concepts about the best and perfect ways to raise a child. Parenting style plays an important role in raising a child. Baumrind’s theory about parenting identifies four distinctive parenting styles and is complimented by a well-supported and organized progression of ideas.
All these tend to cover different parenting techniques worldwide and have contrast with Baumrind’s theory.
Parental responsibilities start soon after the birth and play a significant role and leave an impact on child’s overall life. Most of the parents usually develop their own parenting style usually based upon amalgamation of factors such as children’s temperament and parenting style influenced by their own upbringing, what they observed in other families, what they have been trained and the surrounding culture. There is no hard and fast rule about parenting. It usually evolves with the passage of time as children grow up and develop their personalities. The quality of parenting is an important influence on children’s intellectual, emotional and social development ( Nevid, 2009). How parents put in effort to respond and correct their children greatly impacts how they progress individually and socially. A child’s development process is influenced by several factors, for instance, the people and situations he comes into close contact and interaction. Parent’s influence is the greatest on a child’s development. The positivity as well as negativity in a child’s attitude and behavior is because of parents brought up and parenting style.
In 1960’s a very famous theory about parenting was developed by Diana Baumrind. This theory was based upon three parenting style named authoritative, permissive and authoritarian. Later, another vital factor named uninvolved was added by Maccoby and Martin. Diana adopted a broad and well managed way to study on more than 100 preschool-age children. She used several approaches using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods. This broad study helped her to figure out and recognize four important aspects of parenting which include disciplinary strategies, warmth and nurturance, communication styles and expectation of maturity and control. The three parenting styles found out by Diana were based upon these dimensions.
According to authoritarian parenting style, parents expect their children to strictly follow the rules and regulations set by them. Parents tend to punish their children if they fail to obey them. Authoritarian parents fail to give any explanation or reason for the rules imposed by them. If a child asks for explanation, the simple reply is, “Because I said so.” Usually these parents are less responsive and have high demands and expectations. According to Baumrind, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” ( Rosenfeld, 2007). Such parents expect complete cooperation from their children and are not at all tolerant about the rules and regulations set by them. They expect maturity on the part of children and are very less interactive with their children. Children of such parents are usually focused in studies and tend to make good grades. They develop the habit of staying out of troubles. A negative impact of this parenting style is that the children are not socially developed as they are never motivated and encouraged to give and develop opinions. They are shy and unconfident, and lack decision making power. This make them less interactive and negatively affect their decision making power.
Second parenting style is known as authoritative parenting. This is a relatively democratic style of parenting as the parents are responsive and receptive towards their children. They are usually willing to respond to the questions of their children. Moreover, they are more encouraging and forgiving parents rather than punishing ones in case the child does not come up to their expectation. Baumrind suggests that these parents “monitor and communicate clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are forceful, but not aggressive and restrictive. The disciplinary methods adopted by them are supportive. They want their children to be confident as well as socially responsible ( Rosenfeld, 2007). This style ensures healthy development among children because they are taught to abide by rules and regulations in a positive way. They are allowed to asked questions and develop personal opinions. Children of such parents are socially interactive and confident as they have the habit of developing opinions. They are self-assured.
Third parenting style suggested by Baumrind is known as Permissive parenting. These types of parents are often referred as tolerant parents and they tend to make fewer demands to their children. These parents are less concerned about disciplining their children as they have low expectations of adulthood and self-control. According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more receptive than demanding. They are less concerned about culture and are soft. They do not require mature attitude, allow significant self-regulation, and avoid conflict” ( Rosenfeld, 2007). They are friendly with their children. Parents in this case intend to be their child’s friend then being a disciplinary figure. Parent-children communication is encouraged. Children raised by indulgent parents have developed self-confidence, healthier social skills and lower levels of depression. All these factors in turn develop a positive and optimistic attitude in individuals. The negative impact of such parenting style is that a child’s emotional development is harmed and damaged. He does not matures in this area.
Last category of parenting added by Maccoby and Martin is known as uninvolved parenting. These parents are usually less demanding, less communicative and less responsive. They manage to fulfill the basic needs and necessities of their children but overall, they are less attached to their children. In some cases, these parents are ignorant to the extent that they may even ignore the needs and necessities of their children. Such parents are ambivalent to their child’s necessities and desires. They are neglectful about their children. As parents are less demanding and do not intend to make rules for their children, hence children lack communication, encouragement and praise. Children of such parents develop negative features in their personalities and lack confidence. They are not socially active and confident because less compliance demand by parents stunts their social growth. They are never educated about handling different situations, hence cognitive growth is negatively affected.
These parenting styles have a significant impact on children’s psychology. The study of 100 preschool children helped Baumrind to develop the impact of parenting on children. For instance, Authoritarian parenting styles normally result in obedient and respectful children, who are quiet skillful, but they rank lower in happiness and social capability. On the contrary, Authoritative parenting style results in happy and socially capable children. Thirdly, Permissive parenting often results in children who face problems with power and usually show poor and weak performance in school. Lastly, uninvolved parenting styles have the lowest rank among all the categories of parenting. As these children are ignored by the parents so they grow as individuals with less self-control, low self-esteem and are less capable and skilled as compared to their peers.
Another important aspect of parenting style is that the adolescent behavior is an important measure that can have a significant influence on parenting style. For instance, if a child breaks a curfew, both parents adopt a measure to deal with the child in order to enforce an action. Hence, child’s behavior has a major influence on the parenting style adopted by parents. A cooperative and motivated child is more probable to have parents who adopt an authoritative parenting attitude. On the other hand, an unhelpful, immature and careless teen may be more expected to provoke a parenting style that is authoritarian or uninvolved parenting style. Overall attitude of the child tends to evolve parenting style of the children. It is commonly practiced on the part of the parents that they change their parenting habits with time. Few parents are more rigid with elder children and less rigid with younger ones. Hence, the time period, changes in culture and environment and changes in circumstances evolves the parents as well as their parenting style.
Ethnicity is another vital aspect that can have an influence on the parenting style. It has been observed that authoritative parenting style is more prevalent among white families as compared to others. On the other hand, authoritarian parenting style seems to be more common among ethnic minority families. The basic reason behind this influence is the impact of culture and parental beliefs. For instance, ethnic minority families usually live in dangerous neighborhood’s where life isn’t secure so parents tend to adopt authoritarian behavior as it stresses upon parental control and compliance. In this scenario, this style of parenting is necessary for the safety of the children. There are other measures as well that can significantly influence the parenting style. For instance, internal factors like lack of sleep and mood, external factors such as work stress and duties and child’s personality and attitude. All these factors play a vital role on parenting style adopted by parents.
According to the overall study of different parenting styles authoritative parenting is considered the most effective with fruitful and positive impacts on children’s overall brought up as compared to other three parenting styles (Pressley & McCormick, 2007). Now the question arises, what makes authoritative parenting the best one among all? Many reasons can be listed such as warm and receptive attitude of the parents towards the children result in a comfortable environment at home. As the result of this comfort provided at home, children usually develop a positive approach towards life. Children of the authoritative parenting style are usually self-sufficient, self-controlled, and content, hence they have an optimistic attitude overall. They develop personal opinion; interact with peers in an effective and efficient manner. They can handle situations in a wise manner. They gain all necessary skills because of the parenting style adopted at home.
Overall surrounding and culture can have a vital impact on the parenting style. Research has shown that most of the Chinese parents adopt authoritarian parenting style ( Zimmerman & Schunk, 2011). Chines parents are strict about rules and regulations; unnecessary freedom is not granted to Chinese children and parents are usually strict about the code of conduct and ethics. One of the major reasons behind this parenting style being prevalent in Chinese parents is basically the one child policy imposed by the government. It restricts all Chinese families to have only one child. As a result of this policy, all the attention of the Chinese parents is focused on their only child, hence they want to see perfection in their upbringing and they tend to adopt this parenting style. It leaves no room for failure on the part of parents. Secondly, the culture of China promotes hard work, so parents in China intend to raise bright and intelligent children who can excel in life thus they adopt authoritarian parenting style. Thus the parenting style of China is similar to the authoritarian style of Diana Baumrind’s theory of parenting. It has the similar outcomes among Chinese children as discussed above in Baumrind’s theory. Chinese children adopt almost all the measures of Baumrind’s authoritarian theory.
Similarly a sample of 408 students was studied to determine the parenting style commonly practiced in Canada. Parental Authority Questionnaire, the Perception of Parental Reciprocity Scale, the Social Provisions Scale-Present Version and parental interviews were conducted to measure students and parents upon various scales to judge their relationship with their parents to figure out the parenting style being practiced. The research showed that authoritative parenting is the style commonly practiced in Canada ( Shaw, 2008). This study determined that Canadian parents are more tolerant. They seem to have authoritative parenting style. Canadians have a relatively democratic style of parenting as the parents are responsive and receptive towards their children. They are usually ready to respond to the questions of their children. They are less punitive and coercive. Although Canadian parents are concerned about rules and regulations but they are forgiving in case a child fails to abide by the rule or come up to the expectation of the parents. The disciplinary methods adopted by them are kind. Hence the features of authoritative parenting style of Baumrind’s theory is seems to be practiced in Canadian culture.
Based on past research, all three dimensions of authoritative parenting (connection, Regulation, and autonomy granting) seem to exist in the context of Japanese culture (Golombok, 2000). There is an old Japanese proverb, “there is no treasure that surpasses a child.” Japanese hold a high respect for childhood period and consider it a cherished and valued period in the human life cycle. This way of thinking among Japanese develops thinking that children are innocent and naturally good. Environment tends to affect them in later years of life. This belief develops a view among Japanese that parenting is like caring for a plant that must be carefully cultivated, skilled and pruned as it rises. Most of the children in Japan are greatly dependent upon mothers. It is a common practice in Japan that mothers performs most of the tasks of their children which includes decision-making about hobbies, education and career paths. Thus most of the Japanese children are obedient and dutiful towards their parents. Parenting in Japan is closely associated with understanding with parents specially mothers. Most of the mothers in Japan are so close to their child that they establish a relationship wherein mother and child have a collective mind rather than two separate, individual minds. They use this understanding and closeness to teach their children about morals, values, ethics, and to persuade them to behave wisely. They prefer to not to use coercive methods. Some of the features of Japanese parenting style are in accordance with authoritarian parenting style of
Baumrind but it has some contrasting features as well. For instance, parents in Japan do not tend to punish their children if they fail to obey them. Rather, they use their understanding and closeness with the children to correct them. Hence, they are relatively lenient as compared to Baumrind’s authoritarian parenting style. Japanese rather apply rational parenting approach to up bring their children. In rational parenting approach, well aware Japanese moms consult child development professionals, doctors, educators, family and friends in order to make the finest choices for their children as they mature.
Secondly, Nest building and feeling parenting are two usual methods practiced by modern Japanese mothers to exercise control over their child’s thinking. This helps them to develop a perfect understanding with their children. In this practice, parents tend to take keen interest in their child’s nutrition, communication, activities and even fashion. Mothers prefer to keep their children at home most of the time and avoid social and outdoor activities. They are taught to communicate fairly, regularly and solely with their mothers. This approach focuses to increase dependency while depending upon the trust and closeness the child feels toward his mother. From the study about Japanese way of parenting, it is quite evident that few of the features of parenting are in accordance to Baumrind’s authoritarian parenting style but overall, a unique method is practice by Japanese to parent the children.
On the whole, each of these parenting styles mentioned above tends to have certain influences on children’s behavior. Inconsistency in parents approach regarding the parenting behavior can be damaging for the children. Neither all parenting styles are perfectly right or completely wrong. It is a continuous lifelong job of trials and mistakes. It needs to be evolved timely with emerging situations and changed circumstances. The results are never 100 percent. All parents adopt various approaches to raise their children with no fixed rules and regulations, no written commands and no proper instructions. What works with one child at home might completely fail in case of other child at home. Even real siblings are completely different individuals with different habits and behaviors. Situations aroused with time impel us to act in a particular way. They impact us consciously and subconsciously. Thus parenting refers to how we were raised, when we were raised, and where we were raised. All these factors together play an important role in parenting. Parents must constantly monitor their child’s behavior and attitude and change their parenting style accordingly. Rigidity in parenting style is never advisable.