PREVIOUS: Parenting styles (Part 1)
SITES: How the Tigers, Dolphins & Jellyfish Parents Differ
TIGER MOM – Cultural differences (+ cartoon by Keith Knight)
QUOTE: “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21)
Even tho adults have most of the power & control in a family, family relationships are indeed reciprocal – parents have an effect on their children, & children have an effect on parents.
Most parents’ psychological patterns are ‘fully set’ by the time their children are born, no matter how young or dysfunctional they may be to start with. While some actually grow & improve over the years, which will benefit the family, most parents don’t make significant changes in the way they think, feel & react – which comes from their own upbringing & personal characteristics.
This is why all children have to adapt to their environment – which they do as much as they can, based on their personal innate qualities. However, since each child brings their own undeveloped personality-potential with them at birth, they also influence how parents treat them, related to gender, birth order, personality, physical characteristics, disabilities or limitations, similarity to the parent’s original family members….
They’re treated well if parents are healthy, & very badly if not.
While the literature often concentrates on the effects of parents’ characteristics on child outcomes, the reverse is also being considered.
A study from the U of Pittsburg PA says that Authoritative parenting (best style) creates the greatest social competency & self-reliance in children. However, it can’t determine if these characteristics causes parents to use this particular style, or if the parental responses cause the child’s self-reliance. Whatever the causes, the Authoritative style preserves self-esteem, & therefore encourages socially competent behavior in children. (See chart)
Other research suggests that parental behavior may promote or discourage the development of inhibited behavior (shy, reluctant, withdrawn…). A combined East-West study used 125 US & 100 Korean 3-year-olds, who were evaluated for this behavior. Video of the 50% most inhibited children in each group were rated in terms of parental responses which:
1. encouraged the child to approach the stimuli in question (toys, dolls….)
2. accepted and/or encouraged the child’s withdrawal
3. discouraged the child’s withdrawn behavior.
Analyses revealed that:
— child effects on parenting were more pronounced than the reverse
— mothers were more affected by child inhibition than fathers
— surprisingly, parents who accepted/encouraged child-withdrawal ALSO
encouraged approach, thus discouraging child shyness
— the greater the child’s inhibition, the more parents encouraged approach behavior, encouraged/accepted withdrawal & discouraged withdrawal. (MORE….)
Naturally, the negative is also of interest. Since child behaviors influence parenting responses, then unpleasant / difficult ones wear parents down, who may eventually give up providing appropriate empathy & discipline.
This study examined reciprocal relationships between parenting functions – supervision, communication, involvement, timid discipline or harsh punishment – and child disruptive disorder symptoms (ADHD, OCD, ODD, chart + MORE).
The results support the idea of a coercive process (parent using threat &/or force), showing that child behaviors have a greater influence on parenting action & reactions than the reverse.
• Another question is whether parents’ physical discipline leads children to become more aggressive, or aggressive children elicit more physical discipline from their parents. Reports were derived from both parents & teachers. Environment, genetic factors played a role in complex outcomes, but not gender or ethnic factors. (MORE…)
Generally, in the sample of boys and girls aged 6–9:
— higher levels of child visible ‘bad’ behaviors in a given year were definitely related to more frequent parental physical discipline in the next year
— more frequent parental physical discipline in a given year was significantly related to more frequent child anti-social behaviors in the next year.
CHART CONTINUED from Part 1
NEXT: Parenting styles Part 3