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Studying Dimensions of Parenting Styles Aids in Child Development

Aug 17, 2007
How parents influence the development of social and instrumental competence of their children is the subject of study of many developmental psychologists who have been doing so since the 1920s. Parenting style is one of the most robust approaches in this respect, and it is well known that parenting can be quite complicated in that it includes specific behaviors that can individually as well as collectively influence child outcomes.

Capture Normal Variations in the Attempts Made to Control Children

The dimensions of parenting style need to be differentiated, and any construct of parenting styles should be able to capture normal variations in the attempts made by parents to control as well as socialize their children. There are two dimension of parenting behavior that pertains to whether the parents are strict or controlling or permissive in which a great deal of autonomy is allowed, or whether the parents are responsive as well as accepting or rejecting and unresponsive.

Depending on the dimensions of parenting styles, they can be classified as authoritarian, authoritative, or permissive, and the last mentioned dimension is further categorized as permissive neglectful and permissive indulgent. Each of these dimensions of parenting styles gives rise to naturally occurring patterns such as parental values, practices and behaviors.

There is also another dimension of parenting style that is often overlooked, which is that of psychological control. This means an attempt to control that intrude into the psychological and emotional development of the offspring via parenting practices such as guilt induction, taking away of love or shaming the child.

The psychological dimension of parenting styles is a key difference between the authoritarian and authoritative parenting style because both these parenting behaviors place high demands on the child, and there is a corresponding expectation that the child will behave appropriately and obey parents and the rules they enforce. The dimensions of parenting style are warmth or acceptance or responsiveness, firmness or demandingness or behavioral control, and restrictiveness or psychological control, and four general sets of child adjustment indicators are studied in relation to each dimension of parenting style that include psychosocial development, school achievement, internalized distress and problem behavior.

According to studies conducted on different dimensions of parenting styles, it has been found that children as well as adolescents generally respond well when the parents are warm, firm as well as non-restrictive. So, the different dimensions of parental styles play a crucial role in determining how the child fares because often child development is governed by high levels of one particular type of control as well as related psychological factors.
About the Author
For more information on dimensions of parenting styles visit http://www.ParentingMonitor.com/ or http://ParentingMonitor.blogspot.com/
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