PREVIOUS: Parenting styles (#1)
QUOTE: “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21)
Even though adults have most of the power & control, family relationships are indeed reciprocal – parents have an effect on their children, & children have an effect on parents.
Most parents’ psychological patterns are ‘fully set’ by the time their children are born, no matter how young or dysfunctional they may be to start with. While some actually grow & improve over the years, which will benefit everyone, most parents don’t make significant changes in the way they think, feel & react – based on their own upbringing & personal characteristics
This is why all children have to adapt to their environment – which they do as much as they can, using their personal innate qualities. However, since each child brings an undeveloped personality-potential with them at birth, they also influence how parents treat them – related to gender, birth order, personality, physical characteristics, disabilities or limitations, similarity to the parent’s original family members….
They’re treated well if parents are healthy, & very badly if not.
While the literature often concentrates on the effects of parents’ traits on child outcomes, the reverse is also being considered.
A study from the U of Pittsburg PA says that Authoritative parenting (best style) creates the greatest social competency & self-reliance in children.
However, it can’t determine if their personalities cause parents to use this particular style, or if the parental responses creates the child’s self-reliance. In any case, this style preserves self-esteem, which encourages socially competent behavior in children. (CHART – scroll way down)
Other research suggests that parental behavior may promote or discourage the development of inhibited behavior (shy, reluctant, withdrawn…). A combined East-West study used 125 US & 100 Korean 3-year-olds, evaluated for this behavior.
Video of the 50% most inhibited children in each group were rated in terms of parental responses which:
1. encouraged the child to approach the stimuli in question (toys, dolls….)
2. accepted and/or encouraged the child’s withdrawal
3. discouraged the child’s withdrawn behavior.
• the child’s effects on parenting were more pronounced than the reverse
• mothers were more affected by child inhibition than fathers
• surprisingly, parents who accepted/encouraged child-withdrawal ALSO
encouraged approach, thus discouraging child shyness
• the greater the child’s inhibition, the more parents encouraged approach, encouraged/accepted withdrawal & discouraged withdrawal (MORE)
Naturally, the negative is also of interest
Since child behaviors influence parenting responses, then unpleasant / difficult ones wear parents down, who may eventually give up providing appropriate empathy & discipline
This study examined reciprocal relationships between parenting functions – supervision, communication, involvement, timid discipline or harsh punishment – and child disruptive disorder symptoms (ADHD, OCD, ODD, chart + MORE).
The results support the idea of a coercive process (parent using threat &/or force) – that child behaviors have a greater influence on parenting action & reactions than the reverse.
• Another question is whether parents’ physical discipline leads children to become more aggressive, or aggressive children elicit more physical discipline from their parents. Reports were gathered from both parents & teachers. Environment + genetic factors played a role in complex outcomes, but not gender or ethnic factors. (MORE…)
Generally, in the sample of boys and girls aged 6–9:
√ higher levels of child visible ‘bad’ behaviors in a given year were definitely related to more frequent parental physical discipline in the next year
√ more frequent parental physical discipline in a given year was significantly related to more frequent child anti-social behaviors in the next year.
CHART CONTINUED from Part 1
NEXT: Parenting styles Part 3