A great ersity exists with respect to the extant practices and perspectives of parents in the context of their children. This ersity results from the different attitudes adopted by parents and the various requirements and objectives of parents. In addition, the variation that exists between person to person also has a significant effect on the parent child relationship. However, parental behavior can in general be classified as either authoritarian or democratic (Carter and Welch).
One researcher in this field had categorized parents into three distinct classes. This classification was based on the amount of control exercised by parents on their children. These categories are described in the sequel. The first category, is that of permissive parents, wherein parents behave as if they were one of the several resources available at the disposal of the child. Parents belonging to this category do not make any attempt to change or control the child’s behavior. The second category of parents, consist of authoritarian parents who command absolute and unquestioning obedience from their children.
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Such parents do not attempt to explain the logic behind their actions. Moreover, these parents are strong advocates of employing duress in order to compel obedience. The third category of parents comprises of authoritative parents. These parents make a concerted effort to make the child comply with their wishes. However, they make a genuine attempt to explain to the child the reason behind their exhortations. They do not advocate blind obedience to their orders. Such parents make it a point to explain to the child the need for obeying them (Carter and Welch).
The characteristics of the child play a vital role in determining the reaction of adults to their actions that invite disciplinary practices. A very important characteristic in this context is gender and in general, adults recommend and award lesser punishment to girls than they do to boys. As the child becomes older, the method of disciplining changes from physical methods to verbal techniques (Bornstein).
Moreover, several researchers have discovered that the award of punishment was significantly affected by the child attractiveness. Further, it has been discovered that the child’s behavior is one of the influencing factor that serves to change the disciplinary behavior of adults. Therefore, the qualities of a child and its behavior bring about an appreciable change in the manner in which adults deal with them (Bornstein).
It has long been contended that child development is dependent on factors like the domestic environment, the general attitude of the parents and the type of emotional tone adopted by parents while interacting with their child. Furthermore, child development is dependent on characteristics of the child like the freedom enjoyed by it, the extent to which it has self-esteem and its moral beliefs. Moreover, the development of the child is affected by the degree of anxiety to which it is exposed, difficulties related to conduct faced by it and the problems countenanced by it in the process of adapting to school (Tein, Roosa and Michaels).
The manner in which parents view the task of bringing up a child depends to a large extent on the characteristics of the child and the competence of the parents to provide adequate parenting. Further, one of the principal characteristics of a congenial domestic environment is the existence of congruent parental behavior. To this effect it has been established by several scholars that a high degree of congruence in the behavior of the spouses resulted in interactions between children and parents that were not only desirable but also constructive (Tein, Roosa and Michaels).
Moreover, such congruence was observed to promote untrammeled communication between the child and its parents and a curtailment of authoritarianism. If the parental behavior was incongruent, then the parent-child relationship was characterized by an interaction pattern that was veritably undesirable. Moreover, a close relationship has been observed between incongruent parenting patterns and problems relating to diffidence, lack of self-esteem, difficulty in adapting to the school and scholastic performance (Tein, Roosa and Michaels).
The interaction of parents with their children is governed by several factors like the context of the interaction, the mood of the parents, the mood of the children, the disposition of the parents and the children and the childhood experiences of the parents. It has been opined by most of the researchers and scholars, who study parent child relations that the best results in the development of the child result, when the parents resort to the authoritative approach towards their child.
The essay conclusions drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth or NLSCY are that aggressive behavior is enhanced, anxiety levels show an increase and there is a reduction in generosity amongst children whose parents treat them more punitively. In general, it has been observed that if such undesirable behavior in children is proportional to the degree of punishment inflicted by their parents on them. In a nutshell it can be declared that if parental practices change, then the behavior of the child also changes (Parenting style can change child behaviour. ET CTV.ca News Staff)
- Bornstein, Marc H. Handbook of Parenting. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002.
- Carter, Don and David Welch. "Parenting Styles and Children's Behavior." Family Relations (April, 1981): Vol. 30, No. 2, Pp. 191 – 195.
- Parenting style can change child behaviour. ET CTV.ca News Staff. 21 February 2005. 8 July 2007
- Tein, Jenn Yun, Mark W Roosa and Marcia Michaels. "Agreement between Parent and Child Reports on Parental Behaviors ." Journal of Marriage and the Family (May 1994): Vol. 56, No. 2. Pp. 341-355.