Parenting Styles and Culture

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Given the diverse cultures that can shape parenting behavior, some basic assumptions regarding the links between parenting styles and developmental outcomes may not be universal. Much research has been conducted on the different parenting styles across cultures. There are also many myths about which parenting style is the best or the most beneficial to the social development of children. Reviewing past literature on this subject matter reveals that the authoritarian parenting style produced more overt aggression and many more social interaction difficulties among young children. Recent research point to the theory that the best parenting style is dictated by the culture in which it is practiced. A study by Whaley (2000) states that although a positive correlation between the use of physical discipline (i.e., spanking) and disruptive disorders in children is found in studies of European American families, research on African American families has found a negative association or none at all. Moreover, a review of the literature indicates that the positive association between spanking and child behavior problems is bidirectional for White families, whereas it is the product of reverse causation (i.e., negative child behaviors result in spanking) in Black families. The implications of these sociocultural differences for parent training programs and the family study of disruptive behaviors are discussed. This study establishes that the positive correlation between the use of physical discipline and disruptive disorders in children found in research on European American families does not appear to be generalizable to African American families. Black parents' use of spanking is more a consequence than a cause of problem behaviors in children. Moreover, parents in the African American community, especially in low-income urban areas, may use authoritarian methods in attempts to protect their children from noxious social environments. Awareness of sociocultural...
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