The challenges facing parents today are vast and complex. We all live faster-paced lives and, often, parents have difficulties balancing all of the demands on their time with the needs of their children. Add the effect of having different styles of parenting due to various causes and the unique needs and temperament of each child, and you have a recipe for potential chaos and conflict in a family. This research paper will explore the four parenting styles based on studies conducted by Baumrind (1967) and Maccoby & Martin (1983), the nine temperaments of children (Chess and Thomas, 1987), and how to bridge gaps using the Appreciative Inquiry Model created by David Cooperrider.
2. Parenting Style Overview
Research studies dating as far back as the early 1960’s have addressed the link between specific actions of parents and the behavior of children. The results of these studies show convincing links between parenting styles and the effects these styles have on children. (Cherry) Psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study of over 100 preschool-age children in the 1960s that used naturalistic observation, parent interviews, and other research methods which identified four important dimensions of parenting:
- Disciplinary strategies
- Warmth and nurturance
- Communication styles
- Expectations of maturity and control
Based on these dimensions, Baumrind concluded that parents display one of three parenting styles – Authoritarian, Authoritative, and Permissive Parenting. Maccoby & Martin conducted further research suggesting a fourth parenting style – Uninvolved Parenting.
2.1. Authoritarian Parenting
According to Baumrind, parents with the authoritarian style are “obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (1991). In this style, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents and failure to do so usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents are unwilling to explain the reasoning behind these rules. They have high demands but are not responsive to their children. They don’t express much warmth or nurturing and don’t give children choices or options. Children raised in this environment are usually very good at following rules. However, they may lack self-discipline. (Cherry)
The effects of authoritarian parenting have been associated with a variety of outcomes including social skills and academic performance.
The child of authoritarian parents:
- Tend to associate obedience and success with love.
- May display more aggressive behavior outside the home.
- May act fearful or overly shy around others.
- Often have lower self-esteem.
- Have difficulty in social situations.
Most developmental experts believe that
authoritarian parenting is too punitive and lacks the warmth, unconditional love and nurturing that children need (Cherry).
2.2. Authoritative Parenting
Like authoritarian parents, authoritative parents establish rules and guidelines for their children. However, their approach is much more democratic. They are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. When expectations are not met, these parents respond by being more nurturing and forgiving, rather than punishing. According to Baumrind, these parents
monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative (1991).
Authoritarian parents want their children to utilize reasoning and work independently, and when children break the rules, discipline is fair and consistent. These parents are flexible and will allow the child to explain what happened, adjusting their response accordingly. These parents act as role models and exhibit the same behaviors expected from their children. As a result, the children are more likely to internalize these behaviors. (Cherry)
Children raised by authoritative parents tend to be more capable, happy and successful.(Cherry)
- - Tend to have happier dispositions.
- - Have good emotional control and regulation.
- - Develop good social skills.
- - Are self-confident about their abilities to learn new skills.
Authoritative parents allow children to act independently, which teaches them that they are capable of accomplishing things on their own. This helps to foster strong self-esteem and self-confidence. Child development experts generally identify this parenting style as the “best” approach to parenting. (Cherry)
2.3. Permissive Parenting
Permissive parents are sometimes referred to as indulgent parents because they rarely discipline their children due to relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. They make very few demands of their children. Baumrind suggested that permissive 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 (1991).
They are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, and often take the status of a friend more than a parent. These parents have very few standards of behavior, lack consistency when setting rules, and may use bribery in the form of toys, gifts, and/or food as a means to get the child to behave. (Cherry)
Permissive parenting can result in children who:
- Lack self-discipline.
- Sometimes have poor social skills.
- May be self-involved and demanding.
- May feel insecure due to the lack of boundaries and guidance.
A recent study suggested that permissive parenting was linked to underage alcohol use, heavy drinking in teens, and other risky behaviors such as drug use and other forms of misconduct. (Cherry)