By Dr Rotimi Adelola
Psychologists have identified two dimensions underlying parenting behaviour. The first, and most important, is PARENTAL ACCEPTANCE. Although most parents are at least moderately accepting of their children, some are indifferent or even hostile and rejecting. Parental acceptance and warmth appear to influence the degree to which children internalize the standards and expectations of their parents.
Children whose parents hold them in high regards develop high self-esteem and self-control ( behave appropriately even if the parents are not present). In contrast, children whose parents are less accepting may develop lower self-esteem and less self-control.
The second dimension of parenting behaviour is PARENTAL CONTROL or strictness of psrental standards. A parent who is moderstely controlling sets high performance standards and expects increasingly mature behaviour. A parent who is uncontrolling expects little of the child. The absence of psrental control is associated with deviant behaviour by the child.
Four distinct parenting styles are derivable from the interplay of parental accepting and parental control:
- Authoritative Parents
- Authoritarian Parents
- Permissive Parents
- Neglectful Parents.
Authoritative parents are high in acceptance and high in control. They set high goals for their children but are also very accepting of their children and responsive to their needs. They provide age-appropriate explanations that emphasize the consequence of “good” and “bad” behaviour. Authoritative parents maintain firm control but take into account each child’s unique and changing needs.
Authoritarian parents are low in acceptance and high in control. They are highly demanding and controlling and use physical punishment or the threat of it with their children. They issue commands that must be obeyed without question. They are somewhat emotionally distant from their children.
Permissive Parents are high in acceptance and low in control. They make few or no demands of their children. They allow children free expression of impulses and set few limits on appropriate behaviour. They indulge their children.
Neglecting parents are low in acceptance and low in control. They provide for the physical and emotional needs of their children , but not much else. They convey the impression that they don’t care for their children and not involved with or supportive of their children ( no help with homework ).
The different parenting styles correlate with varying traits in children. Children of neglectful parents may have low self esteem, impulsive and aggressive. Permissive Parents may breed undisciplined , impulsive and easily frustrated children with low academic performance. Children of authoritarian parents tend to do less well in school and have low self-esteem and poor social skills. In contrast, authoritative parents foster children that are friendly, cooperative and possess strong social, emotional and cognitive competence
Considering the current behaviour, discipline and performance . of your child or children, are you absolutely satisfied ? What has been your preferred parenting style ? What can be done ?
There are limitless possibilities
Rotimi Adelola, PhD; DhE, can be reached at [email protected].
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