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Effects of Parenting Styles on Children's Behavior

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Each of these parenting styles appears to have certain influences on children's behavior. However, culture also influences the outcome, especially for school success. The majority of parents fall into one of these categories most of the time. When parents are inconsistent in their parenting approach, it is very damaging to their children because they do not know what to expect.

Authoritarian Parenting

The use of punitive and forceful measures to enforce proper behavior causes anger, resentment, and deceit and impairs wholesome parent-child relationships (Bettelheim, 1985). In Baumrind's 1967 research, preschoolers with authoritarian parents are withdrawn and unhappy. They appear anxious and insecure with peers and react hostilely if frustrated. Baumrind's 1971 research shows girls to be dependent and lacking in motivation and boys much more likely to be angry and defiant. In addition, children of authoritarian parents are less likely to internalize (accept as their own standard) society's unacceptable behaviors (Grusec and Goodnow, 1994t and are more likely to have low self-esteem (Coppersmith, 1967). These children often model their parents' inflexible thinking (Dekovic, Genis, and Janssens, 1991).

Baumrind's 1971 description of authoritarian parenting emphasizes parents demanding certain behaviors without explaining why and often not listening or providing adequate emotional support (Chao, 1994). In addition, some authoritarian child rearing practices have been linked with an evangelical effort (Smut and Hagen, 1985) stressing domination of the child or breaking the child's will (Dobson, 1992).

Permissive Parenting

Parents who are nonpunitive, loving, and accepting of the child often have children who lack independence and are selfish because they are not taught how their actions affect others. These children tend to be impulsive, aggressive, and low in taking responsibility.

Uninvolved or Permissive-Indifferent Parenting

The combination of permissiveness and indifference or rejection in varying degrees has detrimental effects on children. In the extreme, it becomes neglect, which is a form of child abuse (Egeland and Stroufe, 1981). Children with few rules who are ignored or living with hostility are noncompliant and aggressive. They have low self-esteem and display anger toward others. Many exhibit antisocial behavior and may end up as criminals (Straus, 1994; Brophy, 1977).

Authoritative Parenting

Parents who are nurturing and set, discuss, and enforce developmentally appropriate limits are the most successful in helping their children become autonomous, independent, self-controlled, self-confident, and cooperative (Grusec and Lytton, 1988; Baumrind, 1969; 1971). These children also are more likely to have high levels of competence and high self-esteem during middle childhood and adolescence (Coppersmith, 1967; Loeb, Horst, and Horton, 1980). They also have internalized moral standards (Holmbeck, Paikoff, and Brooks-Gunn, 1995) and their academic performance in high school is superior to that of children from either authoritarian or permissive homes (Dornbusch, Ritter, Leiderman, Roberts, and Fraleigh, 1987; Steinberg, Dornbush, and Brown, 1992).

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