According to Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist, parents will use one of three parenting styles. Baumrind based these three parenting styles on four factors; Disciplinary strategies, Warmth and Nurturance, Communication styles and expectations of maturity and control, these were identified as the four dimensions of parenting. I will now discuss the three parenting styles and the impacts these styles have on children’s behaviour. Baumrind’s three parenting style’s, based on the four dimensions of parenting are; Authoritarian, Permissive and Authoritative.
Authoritarian parents set very strict disciplinary rules; they expect their children to follow strict rules and regulations with strict boundaries. They exert their control over their children by telling them what they can and can’t do, without giving them choices or options. Authoritarian parents often scold and punish their children, often in a harsh manner, for not following their rules. Words and phrases an Authoritarian parent may use might include; “‘No you can’t .... ’, ‘Because I say so, that’s why’, ‘Do it, do it NOW! ” (2013) According to Baumrind, these parents are “obedience and status orientated and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (1991) Permissive parents make very few demands on their children and rarely discipline or punish them.
They have low expectations of self-control and maturity and are often communicative and nurturing with their children, preferring to be more of a friend than a parent. Words and phrases a Permissive parent may use might include; “’It’s up to you. If that’s what you really want to do then .... ’’The reason for wanting you to ...... is ....... ’Well, if you don’t feel like it ..... ’” (2013) According to Baumrind, Permissive parents “are more responsive than they are demanding. They are non-traditional and lenient and do not require mature behaviour, they allow considerable self-regulation and avoid confrontation” (1991) Authoritative parenting style is very much like the Authoritarian parenting style in as much as they also like to establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow, however, this style is much more lenient as these parents realise that sometimes flexibility is required.
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When children fail to meet expectations, the parents are nurturing and forgiving. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and are willing to listen to and answer questions asked by the child / children. Words and phrases an Authoritative parent may use might include;”’This is my view..... but what are your thoughts? ’, ‘Sorry, but I thought we agreed ...... ’” (2013) Baumrind suggests that 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 co-operative” (1991) Behaviour can be both good and bad, of the three parenting styles, the Authoritarian is the most ineffective as children will be obedient, but disrespectful, angry, mistrustful, defiant, withdrawn and rebellious (as they grow up) due to the strict rules and regulations set by the parents.
Permissive parenting is deemed a very negligent style of parenting due to the lack of rules and boundaries, although impacts can be both negative and positive, children of permissive parents tend to be irresponsible, impulsive, immature, insecure, demanding, self-centred and will show a poor performance academically, but positive impacts are better social skills and belief in themselves.
The Authoritative style has to be the best style of parenting as they exercise a balanced control over their children by setting clear standards, rules and guidelines with non-punitive punishment, whilst encouraging them to be independent individuals, they will listen to what the child has to say and is open to negotiation leading to happy, socially competent children who are independent and full of self-esteem.
It is not only parenting styles that impact on children’s behaviour; other factors in a child’s life can also affect behaviour, i. e. negative or traumatic family incidents like bereavement, illness, abuse, cultural and religious beliefs, bullying and peer pressure to name but a few, for example; “Thomas found it hard to adjust to sharing his parents with Rowanna when she was first born” causing his behaviour to change dramatically. (Open University 2013, pg32)
To conclude, I have shown that parenting styles vary considerably, have different impacts on children and behaviour and all have negative and positive effects and that it is not just parenting styles that impact on children’s behaviour, as children raised in dramatically different environments can later grow up to have remarkably similar personalities and also children who share a home and are raised in the same manner, can grow up to have dramatically different personalities.
But of the three parenting style’s, the one deemed to be the best style of parenting is the Authoritative parenting style, as it is a well balanced style with warmth, support and acceptance. There is control over children but without being controlling. There are firm rules and guidelines set in place, but there is room for flexibility when needed leading to happy, socially competent, independent, confident high achieving children.
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