Parenting effectiveness and influence have been studied by developmental
psychologists who have been interested in the role of parenting and how it may affect the
success or failure of children. An important aspect to this area of research is parenting
styles. There have been four styles noted and each may have differing outcomes for the
children in later life: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and unengaged/uninvolved.
Positive discipline and corporal punishment are ways parents may choose to respond to a
childs misbehavior. Usually corporal punishment is identified with the authoritative
style and positive discipline with the authoritarian style.
Research has suggested that
parenting strategies might be culturally specific in their relation to child behavior
problems. Socioeconomic status has also been found to affect child-rearing practices and
poverty can cause strained parental-child relations which causes parents to be less
nurturing. When negative behaviors have been identified behavioral family
interventions, which apply social learning principles, have been suggested as a means of
helping children with conduct problems.
Permissive parents “are more responsive than they are demanding. They are
nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable
self-regulation, and avoid confrontation” (Baumrind,1991, p.62).
They allow their
children to make too many decisions for themselves. Some of these parents believe that
they have little control of their childrens behaviors.
Authoritarian parents are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be
obeyed without explanation” and will use punishment to get what they expect (Baumrind,
1991, 62). They expect a high level of conformity of their children. Often they are
unresponsive to their childrens needs. Often, if the child does not do exactly as the
parent requires the parent will use force to get the child to do what is expected.
Baumrinds (1991) study describes authoritative parents as both demanding
and responsive. The parents set reasonable limits for the children and expect them to
follow through, but will also listen to the childs concerns. They express warm feelings
toward the child and are patient. Both parent and child gets to have a say in matters.
Unresponsive/uninvolved parents are low in both responsiveness and
demandingness. They may reject the child.
They do not show any effort beyond what
is needed to take care of the childs basic needs. If this parenting style is extreme it is
Children of authoritative parents usually have the most desirable
profiles. They are generally friendly with peers, independent, have a high
degree of self-control, and work well with adults. They have more self-confidence when
attempting new tasks. They also tend to have more self-control.
Children of authoritarian parents tend to act out aggressively and display disruptive
Bierman, Lengua, McMahon, and Stormshak (2000) found that parenting
styles that included yelling/ nagging were associated with all types of disruptive behavior
problems and children of parents who showed little affection were prone to oppositional
Children of permissive parents tend to be immature. The children tend to be
dependent and demanding of adults. They may become involved with drugs as
adolescents. They usually have poor self-control and lack good judgment. The parents
have not expected anything of the children so they do not aspire to much later on.
Punishment is defined as the application of a negative stimulus to reduce or eliminate
There are two types typically used with children: punishment involving verbal
reprimands and disapproval and punishment involving physical pain, as in corporal
punishment. Corporal punishment involves the application of some form of physical
pain in response to undesirable behavior. Harris, Holden, and Miller (1999) found that
many parents use spanking and feel it is justified because, in the parents opinion, it
corrects the childs misbehavior quickly. Straus and Gelless study (cited in Donnelly,
Lewis, Mahoney, and Maynard, 2000) reported Almost all mothers (92%) and fathers
(86%) in the United States report using some type of physical discipline with 3-to
6-year-old children. Both research groups agree that there are clear implications for
intervention or prevention of harsh punishment, especially since punishment often only
produces short-term effects. If punishment is to be effective it must be consistent so it
wont cause high rates of disobedience.
There should be some discussion of the
Positive discipline is a means of .