Parenting Styles and Child Development
Jason N. White
What are we supposed to do? All of us spend our young lives educating ourselves in reading, writing, and arithmetic. As well, many of us spend our young adulthood in college learning to become doctors and lawyers. Yet, the most long lasting, and in many ways, most rewarding job some will ever have is raising strong, intelligent, and well-mannered children. As always, this is easier said than done. Generally, a parent wants their kids to be better than they were. As parents, we try hard not to make the mistakes our parents made. Before they are even born we have dreams of what they will do and who they will become. Couple with those dreams, parents have to make life-changing decisions before birth such as working or staying home, public school or home school, and permissive versus strict parenting. Of all the decisions made, the last will have the most critical impact on a child. Our attitudes toward raising children, the overall pattern of interactions, are what shape a child's behavior in their early years. In 1967, a researcher of Human Development, Diana Baumrind, developed a theory that provided a broad insight into parenting style by categorizing it in three ways. However, according to Nancy Darling, PhD, MS, there are two points to consider when understanding Baumrind's theory. One, parenting style is meant only to describe normal variations in parenting. Variations such as neglect or abuse are not considered within Baumrind's theory. Two, the theory of parenting style revolves around issues of control. There are many variations between parents on how, and to what extent, they exert control over their children; however, "it is assumed that the primary role of all parents is to influence, teach, and control their children."(Darling, 1999) Variations will be discussed in more depth later. There are also two important elements to parenting styles. Baumrind terms these parental responsiveness and parental demandingness. Parental responsiveness is focused on parental support and warmth, to what extent that support is given, with intent to "foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion" (Baumrind, 1991, p.62). all the while remaining compliant to the child's special needs. Parental demandingness is simply behavioral control, or the parent's "disciplinary efforts". Originally, Baumrind had segregated parenting style into three basic categories: permissive, or indulgent, authoritarian, and authoritative. However, recently this has been revised to include uninvolved parents. These parents are low in both elements, responsiveness and demandingness; though, outside of any extreme cases, Darling states that these parents fall within the normal parameters. Being that Baumrind's theory precludes that the parents must be involved to fall within the categories, I cannot see the need for the last category, therefore it will not be discussed here. Briefly, I will discuss each of Baumrind's categories. Though these are important to understand, their effect on children are very important to note. First, indulgent parents "are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation" (Baumrind, 1991, p.62). Because these children are under regulated, due to the parent's avoidance to confrontation, they are rebellious and defiant when desires are challenged. They give up more readily when challenged. It is suggested that these children are prone to antisocial behavior. Authoritarian parents are "obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation" (Baumrind, 1991, p.62). A typical response from a parent of this type is, "because I said so." These children generally do well in school and are not likely to indulge in antisocial behavior. The price for that is poor reaction to frustration. Boys...
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