YEAH – I HAD ONE OF EACH – no wonder I’m confused!
PREVIOUS: Parenting styles (#1)
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….
SO – 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 whether their personalities cause parents to use a particular style, or if this set of parental responses creates the child’s wellbeing. In any case, this style preserves self-esteem, which encourages socially competent behavior in children. (CHART – scroll way down)
Other research suggests that parents can promote or discourage the development of inhibited behavior (shy, reluctant, withdrawn…).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 their parents’ 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 discouraged the child’s withdrawn behavior.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 behavior which 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, guidance & discipline
One study examined reciprocal relationships between parenting functions – supervision, communication, involvement, timid discipline or harsh punishment – and child disruptive disorder symptoms (ADHD, OCD, ODD
The results support the idea that child behaviors do have a greater influence on parenting action & reactions than the reverse, creating a coercive process (parent using threat &/or force).
• 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.
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.
The main result was that both mild and harsh physical discipline was associated with more subsequent child antisocial behavior. (MORE…)
CHART CONTINUED from Part 1
NEXT: Parenting styles Part 3