A newborn child is like a blank paper, whatever you write on it or whatever he sees and learns in his youth will reflect in his personality. How a child interacts with his surrounding and environment in the future is greatly dependent upon the parenting style. Darling and Steinberg define parenting style as “a constellation of attitudes toward the child that are communicated to the child and create an emotional climate in which the parent’s behaviors are expressed” (Paul et.al, 2009, p.280). Parenting style is the primary factor in devising child’s personality and attitude towards his environment. It is very important that parents create productive and caring atmosphere for a child. This will support his overall personality and behavior.
Cultural background, religion, and environment are secondary factors that are equally important in affecting the child in the long run. Many parents face cultural and religious limitations and forced to follow or undertake certain parenting style that is common to their culture and country. Today, such views are changing, and parents are more willing and open minded towards their child’s brought up. They want to give him the best, may it be values, education or environment. Socioeconomic factor does have an effect on a child’s personality, but parenting style is the main driving force behind any child’s attitude and behavior. Discussion
Dimensions to Parenting Different views and opinions exist in different countries, on which parenting style is best for building distinct personalities. People belonging to different countries have their own beliefs and preferences that again depend upon their cultural background. To remove confusion about which parenting style is the best, psychologist Diana Baumrind believes that parenting styles consist of following key dimensions (Janette, 2009).
Disciplinary strategies Disciplinary strategies entail different types of disciplinary methods and rules. Parents follow this strategy to make children obey instructions in their daily routine. It can be related to their daily task like eating and sleeping habits or education.
Warmth and nurturance All emotions and feelings of love and care come under this dimension that will help them through their tough times. It is very important that we discipline them by giving confidence and attention. Punishing is not the solution, instead it makes them more rebellious. It is always better to explain so that next time they behave more responsibly.
Communication How we communicate with them is very important as that will have a deep impact on their understanding, attitude and interpersonal skills. Some parents feel that they do not need to explain things and their orders need to be followed without any excuse. Others believe in reasoning and explanation which is definitely a better approach than pointing out a child’s mistakes in a harsh manner. Parents, who are willing to go down to a child’s level of communication to make him understand, have better relationships with them in the long run.
Expectations of maturity and control Parents demand a certain level of maturity and expect the child to behave in a positive manner under unusual circumstances. For instance, most parents expect children to display best manners and follow instructions in public places. Putting them under stress and pressure from every young age further aggravates things. The child is unable to understand and accept things in a difficult situation. After identifying the above mentioned important aspects of parent’s behavior, Diana Baumrind concluded that parents fall into parenting styles when analyzed on the basis of above mentioned dimensions (Janette, 2009).
Parenting styles in general Baumrind came up with three basic parenting styles, however, with passing time and debate over the issue, a fourth parenting style was also identified by Maccoby and Martin (Kim, 2008). Currently there are four parenting styles in total. They are considered to be universal and common to parents all over the world regardless of their cultural background or country.
Authoritarian Parenting As the name suggests, parents falling under this category want children to follow their instructions without questioning. They believe that the only solution to discipline the child is punishing them so that they remain scared and never repeat the same mistake. The child apparently follows the order but fails to understand the reason; therefore, acceptance level is naturally low.
(Parentingstyles.org, 2012) Authoritative Parenting Parents belonging to this type are strict about rules and disciplinary issues as well as open to children’s issue and questions. They are willing to listen and understand if any problem exists. They want to explain why they are expected to act in a positive manner and how will it benefit them in the long run. As a result, there is maximum control and high acceptance.
Permissive Parenting Such parents are passive and ignorant toward children’s attitude. They are too lenient and flexible. They do not set any rules or limitations and are more responsive towards their needs. Expectations and demands are very low, and the child is allowed to do most of the things without any checks and control. Such parents want to build friendly relationship with the child but avoid confronting him if something goes wrong. They are passive and believe that the child will learn on trial and error basis. Uninvolved Parenting
Uninvolved parents believe that their job is limited to fulfilling the child’s basic needs and demands. They have no interest in the child’s life and activities as such. Children of such parents are on their own. In some situations, parents coming under this category may even ignore and overlook their basic duties toward the child. Both acceptance level and control is at the lowest level in this parenting style.
Parenting Styles in Different Cultures Analysis of different literature and data regarding which parenting style is suitable in a particular culture shows that some parenting styles are not universal and may have different effects on different cultures. Authoritative parenting style is considered to be the best practice during a child’s upbringing. Even this faultless style has varied levels of positive effects when applied in different countries and cultures. Steinberg suggests that there are few basic similarities between African-American parents and Asian-American parents due to their socioeconomic values and situation.
Both are conservative and protective towards their children, therefore, mostly end up undertaking authoritarian parenting behavior that does help in improving their education and academics but fail in saving children from indulging in disturbing activities and deviating attitude. In general, it has not proved very effective for an overall positive upbringing. In depth analysis of Steinberg research shows that authoritative style has an overall positive effect especially if we talk about the child’s personality development and attitude. In contrast to Asian-American and African-American parents, European and American parents mostly undertake an authoritative parenting style supported by their cultural background and living style.
Even some of the American families belonging to the Catholic group follow authoritarian parenting style so that the child conforms to expected manners and behaviors without questioning them. (Masumoto and Juang, 2012) Chinese culture is also very conservative and strict when it comes to children as explained by Ruth Chao (Matsumoto and Juang, 2012). They believe in a terminology “chiao shun” which means maintaining control and strictness in training. Parent’s strict attitude towards children is normal in Japanese culture.
The child must obey the rules or he may have to face punishment or penalty of some kind. Many people belonging to the Asian culture share similar beliefs. Authoritarian parenting style does have some positive effects on Chinese and Asian children in relation to academic achievement and mannerism. This style is compatible with their cultural beliefs and is easier to follow. North American culture supports both authoritarian parenting and authoritative parenting to some extent. Their emphasis is on raising children with strong personality traits and characteristics who know their family values and culture.
Effects of Parenting Styles in young age and later Baumrind conducted a research study on 100 preschoolers. It clearly showed the early years of a child are very crucial for his positive upbringing and nurturing. Personality development starts from a very young age, and it depends on parents how they transfer and instill values and positive traits in them through supporting their emotional, physical and interpersonal skills. Things learned at this stage become a permanent part of their personality and cannot be undone in most of the cases.
According to research by Maccoby and Baumrind, authoritative parenting style resulted in children that were happy and successful in their academics and practical life while authoritarian style produced children that were obedient and capable but weak emotionally. They lacked a sense of happiness and confidence during social interaction and in relationships. Unengaged parenting style resulted in children with the lowest rank on all scales, may it be success, emotion, happiness or relationships. Permissive parent’s children were also observed very closely.
They showed problems in discipline and confidence levels. Parenting style used in adolescence and early stages of a child’s life has lasting effects and make them who they are as an adult. How they manage relationships, work, family, problems are to a large extent dependent upon how they were raised. Emotionally healthy children might not be as successful, but will always be more happy and content with what they have. They will have enough capability to achieve what he wants from life.
Conclusion It is apparent from the above mentioned data analysis and researches that parenting styles have a lot to do with child’s personality and development. How parents deal with them at an adolescent age, is very crucial for positive development as a person. Emotional and social values are more important and need to be instilled in the very beginning of a child’s development. They will naturally support other traits and abilities that need to be developed later on in life.
The relationship between a child and their parents is a global phenomenon. Societal limitation must not hinder the upbringing and development, if it is for good and betterment of their future. Parenting styles in different cultures do need more research and analysis. This will develop better understanding of which type of parenting is best. Parents can always alter certain parenting style in terms of the four dimensions as and when required. Parents should become a role model for their child through demonstrating positive values. Give them love, respect so they learn to do the same towards others. Developing sense of trust in children towards parents is extremely important and effective in building a strong bond.