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Parenting Style

The most widely appreciated typological approach to understanding parenting was developed by Diana Baumrind in 1973. Baumrind identified authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parenting styles. Parenting style is a set of attitudes toward the child that a parent transmits to the child to create an emotional climate surrounding parent-child exchanges. Parenting style is different from parenting behaviors, which are characterized by specific actions and socialization goals. The combination of parental warmth and demandingness is central to conceptualization of parenting style. Authoritative parents display a warm, accepting attitude toward their children while maintaining firm expectations of and restrictions on children's behavior. Open communication between parent and child is facilitated within this emotional climate. Long-term outcomes for children and adolescents of authoritative parents are more favorable compared to outcomes for children of authoritarian or permissive parents. For instance, Baumrind found that adolescent sons of authoritative parents were more competent in comparison to children reared with other parenting styles.

The authoritarian parenting style is characterized by a harsh, rigid emotional climate combined with high demands and little communication. Baumrind found in her longitudinal study that boys with authoritarian parents were particularly vulnerable in terms of both cognitive and social competence. Permissive parents display warmth and acceptance toward their children but do not place demands or restrictions on children's behavior.

Behavioral scientists have continued to conduct research based on Baumrind's parenting styles. Findings have confirmed positive outcomes for offspring of authoritative parents, in particular, better academic achievement. Some findings indicate parenting styles may not be relevant cross-culturally since they are conceptually based in Western cultural values and parenting practices, which do not translate readily into other cultural socialization norms. Also, there has been a lack of research on the processes by which associations exist between parenting styles and social, cognitive, and emotional outcomes for children and adolescents.

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 6Parenting - Who Is Socializing U.s. Children?, Qualitative Aspects Of Parenting, Parenting Style, Parent-child Interaction - Quantitative Aspects of Parenting