Authoritarian and permissive styles education essay

Parenting styles have been researched for many years and as research has developed it has become clear that the style of parenting employed could impact on children’s development. Although many different types of parenting style have been reviewed the main body of research regarding parent style aligns with the three styles defined by Baumrind (1978), authoritarian, permissive and authoritative. Authoritarian parents are defined as strict, expecting obedience and using punishment when children misbehave. They are not warm or responsive to the child’s need and discourage independence. Permissive parents are defined as having little control, rarely punishing or restricting the child and often allowing the child to make their own decision. Authoritative parents are defined as being warm and responsive whilst still recognising adult and child differences resulting in setting clear boundaries. Child development is a vase area of research and as a result this essay will focus on one area of child development, academic achievement with the research evaluated containing children and adolescence participants. Academic achievement is a broad term which encapsulates children and adolescence performance in formal education. It is a highly important aspect of child development as academic achievement demonstrates not only how well a child is developing cognitively but early achievement can also be seen to have a direct influence on children’s future prospects. As the topic is seen to be important there is a wide body of research reviewing parenting styles influence on academic achievement. Dornbush , Ritter, Leiderman, Roberts & Fraleigh, (1987) studied US adolescence and found they were less likely to achieve higher grades if they came from a family that used an authoritarian parenting style, suggesting authoritarian parenting is detrimental to academic achievement. However as this study was cross-sectional, cause and effect could not be identified. Steinberg, Lambom, Darling, Mounts & Dombusch, (1994) also studied US high school children and found that authoritarian parenting style had a negative impact on academic achievement; these findings were consistent at a one year follow up, suggesting that parenting style can continue to be detrimental throughout the academic lifespan. In order to draw cause and affect longitudinal studies needs to be conducted, Feldman and Wentzel (1993) studied US boys from one year of age to fifteen years of age and found that if their father used harsh discipline, a trait of authoritarian parenting, the boys had poorer academic performance, suggesting a cause and effect relationship between authoritarian parenting and inferior academic achievement. The relationship should be interpreted with caution as parenting style was derived from child’s report of behaviour rather than observation, however it has been found that there is a strong link between children’s report of parenting style and observational categorisation (Feldman, Wentzel & Gehring, 1989), giving more strength to these findings. Although the majority of the initial research studied children in western cultures the research has expanded to review parenting style impact on academic achievement in other cultures. Research has studied ethnic groups within western cultures, Roopnarine, Krishnakumar, Metindogan & Evans (2006) studied Caribbean immigrants children at five years old, living in the US and found that if fathers’ has an authoritarian parenting style the children were less superior academically, with specific difficulties being found with language development as children were unlikely to experience open verbal communication. These findings support the original studies however cannot be generalised to other cultures as although an ethnic group was reviewed as they were growing up in a western culture they may be more westernised than other cultures. Reviewing parenting style in eastern cultures, Chen, Dong & Zhou, (1997) studied Chinese school children aged seven and found authoritarian parenting was related to poor school achievement. The authors suggested these findings could be due to lack of explanation, guidance and emotional support from parents meaning the children had not been able to develop intrinsic achievement motivations, therefore did not put in as much effort at school. One criticism is that the measures used in this study were development based on western culture and therefore may not be measuring the same constructs in Chinese culture. Also due to the one child policy the findings are not generalisable to other cultures as their society setup is very different. Besharat, Azizi & Pursharifi, (2011) studied Iranian adolescence aged fourteen to eighteen and found that authoritarian parenting style expressed by the mother lead to poorer academic achievement however self report means the results should be interpreted with caution. Feldman and Wentzel (1993) identified that lower academic achievement in males was linked to authoritarian parenting style in most cultures supporting the previous research which has been presented and suggesting that authoritarian parenting can be seen to be detrimental throughout a number of different cultures. Grusec & Goodnow, (1994) suggested that the restrictive and harsh aspects of authoritarian parenting resulted in children begrudging their parents and therefore causing them not to want to meet their standards of academic achievement. Whilst permissive parenting style often results in children not understanding their parents’ academic expectations and therefore are unsure what they are striving for. Whilst there has been a wide range of research suggesting authoritarian parenting style has a detrimental effect on academic achievement there has also been research to suggest that authoritative parenting and academic achievement have a positive relationship. Baumrind (1967) reviewed this relationship within a longitudinal study of pre-school children and found that authoritative parenting style was more likely to result in children being academically successful when they transitioned into school. Although this study gave good support to the suggestion that authoritative parenting has a positive effect on academic achievement the research is now quite old and therefore finding may no longer be applicable. However Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg & Dornbusch, (1991) reviewed a very large sample of ninth to twelfth grade students in the US and replicated the finding that adolescence of authoritative parents had higher academic competence. Although as this study is cross-section it does not allow only further relationships to be concluded. Chan & Koo, (2011) conducted a recent longitudinal study reviewing UK fifteen year olds and concluded that authoritative parenting is associated with better GCSE results. This study provides good support that authoritarian parenting has a positive of effect on academic achievement. There have been several suggestions as to why authoritative parenting style has been found to be more beneficial in relation to academic achievement. Steinberg, Elmen & Mounts (1989), suggested that the constructs warmth and control within authoritative parenting allowed children to develop a greater ” psychosocial maturity” which allowed increased engagement in school resulting in improved grades. Durkin (1995) suggested three reasons as to why authoritative parenting may lead to higher academic achievement; firstly as children with authoritative parent have a high level of emotional security this helps provide independence and comfort which facilitates them to succeed academically. Secondly this parenting style helps children understand parent’s goals and morals through explanation which provide children with the ability to succeed. Finally the bidirectional communication observed in authoritative parenting helps to developed interpersonal skills which help children succeed academically. Much of the research suggests that it is within Western cultures that children receive benefit from an authoritative parenting style. As since the initial research on parenting style has been conducted it has been established that different cultures react to parenting style differently. Baumrind, (1972) studied pre-school children through home observations and interviews with parents and found that whilst authoritative parenting was seen to be beneficial for white girls academic achievement it was not seen to be beneficial for black girls. Even though this study suggest a cultural difference the observations used were of a short duration and therefore may not have seen a true representation of the parents normal behaviour. Steinberg et al., (1992) concluded in a cross-sectional study of US high schools that there was no link between authoritative parenting and academic achievement in African-American children. Finally Chao, (2001) supported these findings when studying 9th to 12th grade children in US, they found that Chinese American’s did not perform better academically when they have authoritative parents compared with European America’s who performed better academically if they had authoritative parents. The author goes on to suggest that in different ethnic groups parenting style could have different connotations. Taking Asian American’s as an example they value closeness in their relationship with their parents but such virtues are not valued in regarded to their academic achievement. Instead parents teach children the importance of obedience and hard work, (Chao, 1994). However although research suggests that certain cultures do not benefit academically from authoritative parenting style studies have been presented to challenge this view. Chen, Dong & Zhou (1997) studied a Chinese population and found authoritative parenting style was positively associated with academic achievement. Whilst Besharat, Azizi & Poursharifi (2011) found that mothers in Iran who had an authoritative style of parenting had children with higher academic achievement, which is in contrast to previous research where eastern societies have been highlighted as benefiting more from authoritarian parenting style. The authors explained the reasons for this difference could be that as Iranian mothers have become more educated and taken a more authoritative role recently this may explain the alignment between Iranian and western mothers. Even though similarities have been found within Western and Eastern culture on the influence of parenting style and academic achievement, Dornbusch et al. (1987) found a key different in grade point average, showing that authoritative parenting was beneficial within White families but not for Asian, Black, or Hispanic families, highlighting the cultural differences that may be present. However as this was based on the self report of adolescence further research will be needed to assess this relationship within different cultures. Although the research on parenting styles affect on academic achievement is vast and many studies have suggested there is a relationship between the two constructs even if these relationships may be contradictory, there has also been research to suggest there is no a relationship between parenting style and academic achievement. Rivers, Mullis, & Fortner, (2012) studied high school pupils from two states in the US using a self report questionnaire and found that parenting style did not affect academic achievement. This study directly challenges previous research within a western sample, however further research would need to support these claims due to the amount of evidence challenging. However this study is supported by previous research which suggests that once other factors have been controlled for parenting style does not have an effect on academic achievement (Pittman & Chase-Lansdale, 2001). As well as culture another mediator that has been observed within the relationship between academic achievement and parenting style is the socioeconomic status that children are raised in. Baldwin et al., (1990) found that children living within low socio-economic status households who had authoritarian parents scored higher on arithmetic tests and overall academic achievement suggesting that culture is not the only factor which mediates academic achievement. Steinberg et al (1991) suggested that where as authoritative parenting may be beneficial for children of middle socioeconomic families it may not be for children of lower socioeconomic families. In fact it has been suggested that for children of lower socioeconomic families an authoritarian style of parenting may have a positive impact and could act as a protective factor against dangerous environments. Conclusion