The Role of Parenting Styles in Child Psychology

children psychology

Parenting styles are crucial in shaping the psychological development of children. Different parenting styles influence a child’s future behaviour, emotional well-being, and social abilities differently.

This blog delves into various parenting styles and their impact on child psychology.

Also Read: Delayed Gratification: Meaning and Benefits in child psychology

1)   Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting, a term coined by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, refers to a parenting style characterized by high responsiveness and high demands.

Parents who adopt this approach tend to:

  • Set clear rules and expectations while also being responsive and open to communication.
  • Encourage independence while providing guidance and support.
  • Establish a balance between warmth and discipline, fostering a nurturing yet structured environment.
  • Respect their child’s opinions and feelings while also maintaining parental authority.
  • Promote autonomy and decision-making skills while offering guidance and explanations.
  • Engage in constructive discipline strategies aimed at teaching rather than punishing.
  • Ensure a sense of security for their child.

Authoritative parenting is linked to a variety of positive outcomes for children and adolescents. These include:

  • Higher academic achievement
  • Better psychological well-being
  • Lower levels of depression and anxiety
  • High self-esteem
  • Favourable social behaviours
  • Sense of responsibility and self-discipline,
  • Feeling of security and connection to their parents
  • Well-developed social and emotional skills
  • Adept at problem-solving
  • Demonstrate moral maturity

Authoritative parents use a democratic approach to discipline, emphasizing the rationale behind rules and using reasoning to help children understand and agree upon guidelines. This process fosters open communication and mutual respect.

Also Read: What is Educational Psychology? Importance and Activities

2)   Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting is a style characterized by high demands and low responsiveness. Parents who adopt this approach:

  • Are rigid in their rules and expectations
  • Enforce discipline through strict measures
  • Are emotionally cold towards their children
  • Expect children to follow their directives without exception
  • Believe in punitive measures to enforce discipline
  • Are less likely to engage in open, reciprocal communication
  • Lack flexibility
  • Rarely consider their children’s opinions
  • Are not open to negotiations in most circumstances
  • Value obedience
  • Discourage questions or debates
  • Use power-assertive methods and control to ensure compliance
  • Have high expectations and lay strong emphasis on success
  • Emphasize respect for authority at home and in society

Authoritarian parenting is linked to a variety of positive and negative outcomes for children and adolescents. These include:

  • Obedience and proficiency in structured environments
  • Lack of social competencies
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Low confidence
  • Low self-worth
  • Inability to navigate complex life situations
  • Higher levels of anxiety
  • Depression
  • Weak sense of autonomy
  • Struggle with critical thinking or problem solving
  • Conform to rules without questions
  • Lack of emotional intelligence

While authoritarian parenting might aim for discipline and order, its outcomes for children and adolescents can be quite adverse. Encouraging a balance between discipline and responsiveness might provide a healthier developmental environment for young individuals.

Also Read: What is the “When-Then” Behaviour Strategy?

3)   Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents are high in responsiveness but low in demandingness; they tend to be lenient and avoid confrontation. Their children are granted much freedom and are not typically held to strict standards. Parents who adopt this approach:

  • Tend to be very loving with few rules and guidelines to follow.
  • They do not expect mature behaviour from their children
  • Exhibit a lack of consistent enforcement of rules compared to authoritarian parents.
  • Grant children a high level of freedom and autonomy
  • Prioritize responsiveness to children’s needs, resembling a friend more than a traditional parent figure.
  • Communicate openly
  • Do not emphasize persistence and responsibility.

Permissive parenting is linked to a variety of positive and negative outcomes for children and adolescents. These include:

  • Higher self-esteem
  • Better social skills
  • Struggle with authority figures and structured environment
  • Less self-control
  • Struggle with self-regulation
  • Behavioural issues.
  • Difficulty in managing impulses and emotions due to lack of discipline and structure
  • Higher levels of anxiety and depression
  • Poor social skills due to the absence of established boundaries
  • Lack of motivation and discipline necessary for academic success due to absence of expectations

Permissive parenting can hinder the development of essential life skills in children. While it fosters a loving and non-restrictive environment, the lack of structure and expectations may negatively affect a child’s emotional, academic, and physical well-being.

4)   Uninvolved Parenting

Uninvolved parenting is characterized by both low responsiveness and low demandingness. Uninvolved parents may meet their children’s basic physical needs, but they are often detached from their lives emotionally. Parents who adopt this approach:

  • Demonstrate minimal emotional investment in their child’s life and development.
  • Show limited responsiveness to the child’s needs and emotions.
  • Set low expectations or demands for their child’s behaviour or responsibilities.
  • Engage infrequently in communication or interaction with their child.
  • Establish few or no guidelines or rules regarding the child’s behaviour or actions.
  • Exhibit little warmth, support, or affection toward their child.
  • Display minimal interest or involvement in the child’s education, social activities, or interests.
  • Exhibit parental disengagement or preoccupation, leading to neglectful behaviours toward the child’s well-being and development.

This form of parenting has been associated with the most negative outcomes. These include:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Feelings of loneliness and insecurity
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of emotional support and involvement from parents
  • Behavioural issues such as aggression, disobedience, or delinquent behaviour, stemming from the absence of parental guidance and boundaries.
  • Poor academic performance.
  • Difficulties in forming healthy relationships
  • Lack of social skills
  • Low Self-Worth
  • Heightened risk-taking behaviour

Also Read: Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development Explained

Impact on Child Psychology

Various parenting styles affect how children grow mentally. While authoritative parenting is considered beneficial, a child’s personality, friends, and culture also play a role. No single parenting style suits everyone, so parents might adjust based on their child’s needs.

For experts and researchers in child psychology, grasping the subtleties of parenting styles is crucial. It helps guide parents and caregivers in practices that support a child’s emotional and mental health. Parents themselves can use this knowledge to make better choices about their parenting methods and their impact on their child’s growth.

In the end, effective parenting blends warmth, structure, and adaptability, considering the unique circumstances of each family.

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