As a parent, it can be hard sometimes to know what the most effective method of parenting is. You don’t want your child to grow up with behavioral problems, but knowing the line between what is “good parenting” versus “bad parenting” can be tricky. “Parenting styles have been identified as a major predictor of children’s’ future development and functioning”(Baumrind, 1971; Darling & Steinberg, 1993).
According to recent articles, there are two types of behavioral problems that can occur depending on the parenting style implemented. External behavioral problems are seen in the form of ADHD and behavioral conduct issues. Internal behavioral problems can be seen as depression and anxiety.
Aggression, delinquency and hyperactivity can be seen in children whose parents used a permissive method of parenting. These children experienced little warmth from their parents and no punishments, which cause them to externalize their frustration in the long run. “Permissive parenting has been linked to bossy, dependant, impulsive behavior in children, with low levels of self-control and achievement. These children do not learn persistence, and emotional control” (Baumrind, 1967). However, there may be some positive outcomes of permissive parenting. Children with permissive parents tend to be closer with their parents as well as having a higher self-esteem.
Withdrawal, fearfulness, and limited social interaction can be seen in children whose parents used an authoritarian method of parenting. These children experienced little warmth from their parents and harsh punishments, which cause them to internalize their frustration in the long run. “Children of authoritarian parents have been described as less content, show less affiliation toward peers, and more insecure, apprehensive, and hostile” (Baumrind, 1967).
Authoritative parents fall somewhere in the middle on the spectrum of behavioral problems that their children may grow up with.
New research studies account for the cultural and economic status—not just parenting styles—in relationship with how children may express their predicted behavioral problems. It is seen that children in collectivistic cultures may have authoritarian parents and end up with no behavioral problems. These parents were also seen to be stricter with female children than males (Punamaki, Qouta, & El Sarraj, 1997).
A study, which examined the four parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and neglectful), and their effects on a child’s self-esteem, psychosocial maladjustment, personal competence, and problem behaviors found that “both the permissive and authoritative parenting styles were associated with better outcomes than authoritarian and neglectful parenting” (Garcia, 2008). The study aimed to find the parenting style that produced optimum youth outcomes, and researchers found that warmth toward children is the root cause of the positive outcomes.
So when thinking about the ways to parent your children, keep in mind that studies have shown positive outcomes with regard to warm parenting. The importance of control and firmness also plays a role in whether or not a child will have behavioral problems in the future, parents who are too firm with their children end up with kids who are scared, lonely, and sad, and parents with no punishment for their children have rule-breaking, angry, aggressive children. The place in between is where authoritative parenting lies, which appears to have shown more positive results.
Written by Morgan (Molly) Ludwig
Baumrind, D., & Black, A. E. (1967). Socialization practices associated with dimensions of competence in preschool boys and girls. Child Development, 38(2), 291-327.
Darling, N., & Steinberg, L. (1993). Parenting style as context: An integrative model. Psychological Bulletin, 113(3), 487-496.
Dornbusch, S. M., Ritter, P. L., Leiderman, P. H., Roberts, D. F., & Fraleigh, M. J. (1987). The relation of parenting style to adolescent school performance. Child Development, 58, 1244-1257.
Garcia, E., & Herrero, J. (2008). Is it considered violence? The acceptability of physical punishment of children in Europe. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70, 210-217.