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ORIGINS – The most popular ideas about parenting styles – in the West – come from the work of Diane Baumrind (1960s), who was interested in the different ways parents tried to control or socialize their kids. At that time, to compensate for overly-strict ways, many parents went to the other extreme, putting very few demands on their children & avoiding any sort of parental control. Her ‘Authoritative’ style was the balancer.
Parenting in “The culture of American families”.
Recent research says families fall into one of four “cultures”, which trump any individual parenting style. “Each type represents a complex configuration of moral beliefs, values and dispositions – often implicit & rarely articulated in daily life – largely independent of basic demographic factors such as race, ethnicity & social class.”
Never mind helicopter moms or attachment parenting. According to a U. of Virginia 3-year study of American families, the next generation is being molded by:
• the “Faithful,” 20% of American parents, from traditional Christianity, Judaism or Islam, who adhere to “divine, timeless morality” to give them a strong sense of right & wrong.
• the “Engaged Progressives,” (21%), they are the least religious – morality is about personal freedom & responsibility, with few moral absolutes except the Golden Rule. They value honesty, trust what “feels right,” & allow others moral latitude.
— the “Detached“, (19%) let kids be kids – are equally skeptical of the “old certainties” of the Faithful & the views of the Engaged Progressives. They are primarily white, with blue-collar jobs, no college degree & lower income….are pessimistic & seem resigned about the economic future and their children’s opportunities. They say they believe in God, but don’t attend church, & religion is not an important part of their children’s lives.
— the “American Dreamers,” (27%) – the most common family culture among blacks and Hispanics – they are optimistic about their kids’ opportunities & abilities. Even with relatively low household income and education, they “pour themselves” into raising their children and giving them material and social advantages. They try to protect their kids from negative social influences and strive for strong moral character.
The goal of the this study asks questions: “to distinguish the diverse moral narratives crafted in the daily inter-actions between parents & children.
— What are the treasured hopes, deepest fears, & most pressing challenges of today’s parents? Where do they turn for support?
— What role, if any, does “character” have to play in the lessons children learn?
— Is contemporary life too fluid to anchor in stable, shared convictions?
— What does it mean to be a “good parent” or a “good child” in an era when moral sign posts point in multiple directions?
Although Baumrind’s ideas have been applied in places as varied as Brazil, China, and Turkey, the 4 basic types don’t always “map” onto local parenting methods – explain why some studies report different outcomes. Studies:
• Japanese-A. parents valued well-behaved children, while,
• European-A. valued self-directed & tolerant children
• Hispanic parents were more authoritarian & punitive than Euro-A.
• African-A. families place greater importance on shared parenting responsibilities among their community, & use physical punishment more often than Euro-A. ALSO see : African-American Family structure (Wikipedia)
• re. Korean-American parents, over 75% of the sample didn’t fit into any of the standard parenting categories (Kim & Rohner 2002).
• re. Chinese parents, the authoritarian parenting style, as defined by Western psychologists, doesn’t quite fit traditional Chinese practices (Chao 1994).
• re. Spanish adolescents study showed that kids from permissive homes were as well-behaved & adjusted as those from authoritative ones
Even so, there is remarkable overall agreement across many cultures regarding Authoritative parenting – which is consistently linked to the best child outcomes. (Gwen Dewar, PHD ) Scroll down
Steve Doughty (Daily Mail, UK) writes: “Taking a ‘tough love’ approach to parenting increases the chances a child will grow into a well-rounded, successful adult” a think-tank said yesterday.
Combining warmth and discipline means youngsters are more likely to develop skills such as application, self-discipline and empathy, according to a study.
The Demos report found “these traits were shaped during the preschool years – more often as the result of ‘tough love’ parenting – & regardless of whether parents were rich or poor.” (MORE….)
NEXT: 5 harmful mothers