Effect of Parenting Styles on Child Development

06 Apr 2018

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Yielding an ideal child goes beyond having the image of it. The parents’ manner of handling situations like when children accidentally break a glass, ask for concert tickets, or get low grades in the exam, determines if yielding a well-developed child is possible for them. Parents, in hope of making their child closer to what they expect, are continuously making attempts to shape their children and to achieve the version that will please them. These attempts are perceived through parenting styles, and the different styles are the different ways parents think could bring about results that would satisfy them. They vary on the level of freedom, control, warmth, and types of punishment, and affect children differently. Regardless of these variations, most parents believe that being either stern or lenient is the only formula to yield a pleasant, when, in fact, neither works. Every decision parents make for simple situations is a step away or towards yielding a pleasant child.

  1. Link between the family and the child’s outcome

The family is the principal ground and vital figure for the child’s developments, and parents, as part of the family, are in charge of raising the child (Preethi & Rosa, 2012). A child’s confidence, competency, and behaviour are honed and improved through the parenting style imposed by the parents or guardians. Developments results from parenting styles (Kopko, 2007; Kordi & Baharudin, 2010). Terry (as cited in Ernst, 2013) said that a child’s outcome including ability to interact, performance in school, psychosocial development, and the way he or she behaves is predicted through the three parenting styles. Kordi and Baharudin (2010) added that parenting styles also predict “optimism, confidence, motivation, and attention problems” (par. 5).

  1. The four parenting styles

The different parenting styles are characterized according to their level of demand and control, degree of freedom, degree response, and type of punishment. In terms of the degree of demand and control, freedom, and response, Samuel (2012) described authoritarian parents as someone who offer limits without freedom. According to him, these parents are very dominating and impose too much control. They demand order without freedom and offer no choice, making the decision-making contingent to the parents or guardians. They do not carry out discussion with the child and simply want their children to follow parental directives without question. For them, obedience is the most important aspect in discipline (Dewar, 2010a). They give low response or warmth to the child (Baumrind, 1966, 1991; Samuel, 2012). In terms of punishments, authoritarian parents impose restrictive, punitive, and harsh disciplinary practice. They punish through withdrawal of love or verbal abuse by way of scolding, threatening, ridiculing, shaming, or outburst of anger. Physical punishments like spanking and hitting are also used by this type of parents.

Another style is the permissive parenting. Samuel (2012) described parents under this style offer freedom but lacks limits to the extent that their children are unrestrained. Permissive parents are not demanding and controlling, and often offer their children unlimited choices. They are passive in improving their child’s deeds because they value their display of affection and love to their child above all. Parents do not exercise obedience and imperatives upon the child. This type of parenting style imposes too high degree of response or warmth that they easily give in to their child’s requests. As a result, parents spoil their children. Permissive parents also hardly punish (Baumrind, 1966, 1991; Samuel, 2012). Children who have been spanked feel that they have paid for their misbehaviour and are free to misbehave again.

Uninvolved discipline is also known as rejecting-neglecting discipline. This kind of parenting style is neither demanding nor responsive. They are emotionally detached and uninterested. Because they are disengaged, they do not impose punishments at all (Tiller, Garrison, Block, Cramer, & Tiller, n.d.).

Rational-authoritative discipline is described as democratic, where parents have high degree of demand and control. They inculcate to their children the importance of maintaining limit and control of their actions. Parents value the opinion of the children, so they allow discussion with them and engage their children in making decisions. Parents have high degree of response or warmth. Children under this style have both demanding and responsive parents who encourage verbal give-and-take (Baumrind, 1966, 1991; Dewar, 2010b). When punishing, parents use logical or natural consequences, grounding, reducing or withholding rewards, and carrying out penalties (Valya, 2009).

The presented parenting styles differ from one another as the degree of demand and control, freedom, response, and the type of punishment also vary. The four parenting styles influence children in different ways due to certain factors.

  1. Methods of punishment

First, the method of punishment has side effects to the child (Baumrind, 1991; Ernst, 2013).

Authoritarian’s disciplinary methods punish too much and do not contribute to the child’s development. Valya (2009) and Gurian (2010) both agree that physical punishments do not work. The same mistakes will likely be committed again because the child thinks he or she has already paid for the misconduct committed by accepting these physical punishments. Instead of making the children reflect on their mistakes, the parents’ action of punishing physically instils to the child that problems could be handled through physical force. With the physical force being involved, children become more aggressive. Traumatic experiences and destructive remarks from parents cause depression upon children (Cole et al., 2008 as cited in Ernst, 2013). According to Georgiou et al. (as cited in Dewar, 2010a), self confidence is likely to decline because children under this style often get involved in bullying – both as victims and as offender. The punitive nature of authoritarian parents who impose verbal abuse and physical punishment is no different than that of a bully’s nature. Harsh and spoken contempt, insults, and ridicule distort the child’s view about himself (Valya, 2009). Higher occurrence of depression and anxiety is due to corporal punishments (Dewar, 2010a), and the main reason for compliance of children is their fear for punishment. An effective discipline is not about being able to make children behave because they are scared of getting reprimanded. It is about teaching them of directing their behaviour in order to suit their deeds in a way that will reflect their distinction of what is right and wrong (Valya, 2009). Instead of a child with improved behaviour, authoritarian parenting yields a traumatized child.

On the other hand, the lenient nature of permissive discipline does not punish and does not correct the child because parents overlook misbehaviours. Sears, Maccoby & Levin (as cited in Baumrind, 1966) found out that after misbehaving, the child is most likely to commit the same mistake again, thinking that his or her parents approve of it.

Uninvolved parents do not care whether their children behave or misbehave.

Rational – Authoritative discipline’s nature addresses problem in misconduct. Seth and Ghromode (2013) affirm that through withdrawal of privileges and grounding system, children will not question the parents’ love. Valya (2009) said that the use of natural consequences is also good, although they do not apply to all situations, especially when the child’s health and safety are at risk. In such situations, logical consequences work where children take responsibility of the result of their actions. The outcomes of the actions are experiences that teach the child to be accountable with the conduct he or she shows (Valya, 2009). This makes the child a good decision-maker. In addition, the verbal give-and-take relationship between the parents and children makes authoritative discipline unique. Communication – a unique characteristic that the other styles lack – plays a crucial role. Authoritative parents allow discussion where children explain their side or reason for misconduct and, in return, parents point out and correct the children’s mistake to make them understand where they went wrong In this manner, the child is likely to reflect on his or her actions and learn from this or her mistakes after the punishment (Baumrind, 1966; Kopko, 2007; Dewar, 2010b).

  1. The differences in the degree of control and setting of limits or standards cause variations on the child’s behaviour.

Too much control, limits, and high standards set by authoritarian parents trigger aggression on the part of the children as they feel their urge to break free. For instance, children of very dominating parents have greater chances of getting arrested for the first time (Chamber, Power, Loucks & Swanson, 2001 as cited in Wittenborn, 2002). They are usually the delinquents, rebellious children, and drug users (Baumrind, 1991; Dewar, 2010a). Too much control, limits, and high standards may also cause children to become submissive and be dominated by fear. In the study by Lamborn et al. (as cited in Dewar, 2010a) in the United States, children under authoritarian discipline are less self-reliant and dependent with their parents’ decisions. This could be in fear of committing mistakes and getting harshly punished for it. They also found out that a child grows to be inert when the parents regard obedience above all (Valya, 2009).

The lack of control, limit, and standards by permissive parents allows the child to be involved in self-detrimental activities. Parents are so lenient that decision-making is left to the child alone, which opens to higher possibility of committing wrong decisions. Children may show impulsive behaviours because there are only few standard set by the parents that the child has to conform with. No one controls them and sets limit that serve as guides for the children.

The control, limit, and standards that are mutually consented by both rational-authoritative parents and their children open a higher possibility for the child to follow because the child’s viewpoints and opinions are being considered. When planning, parents apply “democratic practices” like asking for their child’s views, choice, or opinion (Dewar, 2010b). Discrepancies in some countries of authoritative parents in terms of democratic practices may be observed, but the nature of authoritative discipline lies on the “reasoning activity” that happens between the child and parent, which is a characteristic shared by all countries involved in the study (Dewar, 2010b). As the children get involve, they learn to participate in arguments, viewing that their opinions are of great importance, a healthy self concept.

  1. Third, the degree of freedom provided by the parents is an important factor for developing the child’s competency and assertiveness.

The nature of authoritarian parenting makes the children highly dependent (Lamborn et al. and Steinberg et al. as cited in Dewar, 2010a). It does not help in honing the children’s competency because their actions are being restricted. In Turkey, Turkell and Tzer (as cited in Dewar, 2010a) found out that children of authoritarian parents are also less resourceful and less proficient in social skill. Children rely heavily on their parents’ decisions, so they likely to be inexperienced when it comes to decision making. Children also have hard time making friends. They are also often poor in academics (Dornbusch et al., 1987 as cited in Tiller, n.d.; Terry, 2004 as cited in Kordi & Baharudin, 2010). This shows how authoritarian parenting poorly improves the competency of children.

The lack of restrictions of permissive parents cause egocentric tendencies to occur. The child makes selfish decisions because they are often self-centered because parents easily give in to the child’s request, (Kopko, 2007; Dewar, 2010c).

Uninvolved parents put their child to high risks because they are not guided.

The “freedom within limits” nature of Rational-Authoritative discipline makes the child think first before doing something. The high value that parents place upon the child’s opinion (Samuel, 2012) makes them good decision-maker. In terms of moral thinking, the child’s ability to reason out is improved through the inductive discipline imposed in authoritative parenting (Krevans & Gibb, 1996; Kerr et al., 2004 as cited in Dewar, 2010b).

  1. Lastly, the degree of responsiveness or warmth reflects the degree of support the parents provide their children in achieving individuality and overall development.

The little warmth with high demands in authoritarian discipline provides little support on the child’s individuality and development. Authoritarian parents value obedience, not development, above all (Valya, 2009; Dewar, 2010a). The child’s opinion and emotions are often disregarded because the parents oppose discussion (Baumrind, 1991; Kopko, 2007; Valya, 2009; Dewar, 2010a).

Too much warmth with low demands in Permissive discipline provides support only. Parents indulge their children too much because they find it hard to decline their child’s request. They believe that giving whatever their children wants is a way to show their love to them, and fear that not doing so would disappoint their children (Kopko, 2007).

Uninvolved parents do not give warmth and do not provide developmental support to their children.

Rational-Authoritative discipline’s ‘high’ degree of warmth balanced with ‘high’ parental demands gives the necessary ‘high’ degree of support needed to ensure the child’s development. Despite the support provided by the parents, standards mutually agreed by the child and the parents still exist that guide the child throughout the development process. The existence of these standards ensures not only that the child develops, but also that the child develops with high level of confidence, competency, and desirable behaviour (Dewar, 2010b). According to Klein et al. (as cited in Ernst, 2013), “there is a correlation to positive self-perception and authoritative parenting styles” (par. 10).

Proper degree of demand, degree of freedom, degree of response, and the type of punishment result to competent, confident, and well-behaved children. The degree of demand must be high according to their capability. This ensures that children aim for high standards that are possible or within their capability, and encourages them to reach these demands because these standards consented by them. The degree of freedom must be within limits. Children will be engaged in critical thinking before making any decisions, and constant decision making will make them good decision makers. The freedom allows them to explore more, while the limits guide them. Freedom builds up competency and confidence, while the limit ensures proper behaviour. The degree of response must be high yet demanding. High response shows high support. High parental response is a confirmation to the child that parental love exists, and balancing response with demand will remind the child of the parents’ expectation of meeting certain standards. Punishment must be mild in forms of consequences and withdrawal of privileges or grounding system. These punishments neither hinder nor destroy child’s development. In addition, they do not inflict emotional and physical pains.

Parents are often bothered by the unpleasant things they notice on their children, and most parents would blame everything except themselves. They seldom ponder where they could have possibly gone wrong in raising their child, when, in the first place, it was them who looked after the child. The characteristic of the rational-authoritative parenting style works because of “balance.” The ideal combination of the degree of demand, freedom, and response, helps develop confidence, improves competency, and ensures a well-behaved child. When a child gets low grades, stern parents punish at once, lenient parents let it slide, while balanced parents ask why. There is no perfect child, but it is never an excuse to not yield a good one.

Some researchers claimed that kids of authoritarian parents are well-behaved, but these are based on self-reports and are subject to skepticism.



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