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Child Rearing Practices

Homeopathic Journal :: Volume: 5, Issue: 2, Dec 2011 (New Papers)   -   from Homeorizon.com
Author : Dr. Nahida M.Mulla, M.D. Principal, HOD REPERTORY, HOD Paediatric OPD, A M.Shaikh Homoeopathic Medical College, Hospital & PG Centre, Nehru Nagar, BELGAUM (Karnataka) India
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Article Updated: Dec 29, 2011

Different child rearing practices are found between social classes. Recent investigations suggest that more middle class, then lower class have adopted the permissive-democratic approach. Evidence of this greater adherence to the permissive democratic approach on the part of middle class parents can be seen in:

  1. Greater evidence of warmth and affection in middle class home
  2. Less authoritarianism and more open communications between parents and children
  3. Greater tolerance for developmental immaturity and aggressiveness towards parents
  4. Greater emphasis in fostering wholesome development and establishing good rapport than an obedience, respect and the physical aspect of care
  5. Greater reliance on reasoning and inner controls in disciplining children than on physical punishment and ridicule.
  6. Greater parental concern with and participation in their child's interests.

Child Rearing Styles

Child rearing styles are constellations of parenting behaviors that occur over a wide range of situations, thereby creating a pervasive and enduring child-rearing climate. In a landmark series of studies, Diana Baumrind gathered information on child rearing by watching parents interact with their preschoolers. Her findings, along with many others that extend her work, reveal three features that consistently differentiate an authoritative parenting style from less effective, authoritarian and permissive styles. They are:

  1. Acceptance of the child and involvement in the child's life to establish an emotional connection with the child
  2. Control of the child to promote more mature behavior and
  3. Anatomy granting to encourage self-reliance.

Authoritative Child Rearing

The authoritative style is the most successful approach to child rearing. Authoritative parents are high in acceptance and involvement – warm, responsive, attentive, patient and sensitive to their child's needs. They establish an enjoyable, emotionally fulfilling parent-child relationship that draws the child into close connection and interaction.

At the same time, authoritative parents use adaptive control techniques. They make reasonable demands for maturity and consistently enforce those demands. In doing so, they place a premium on communication. They give reasons for their expectations and use disciplinary encounters as "teaching moments" to promote the child's self-regulation of behavior.

Finally, authoritative parents engage in gradual, appropriate autonomy granting. They allow the child to make decisions in areas where he is ready to make choices. They also encourage the child to express his thoughts, feelings and desires. And when parent and child disagree, authoritative parents engage in joint decision making when possible. Their willingness to accommodate to the child's perspective increases the chances that the child will listen to their perspective in situations where compliance is vital.

Throughout childhood and adolescence, authoritative parenting is linked to many aspects of competence. These include an upbeat mood, self-control, task-persistence and cooperativeness during the preschool years and at older ages, responsiveness to parents' views in social interaction and high self-esteem, social and moral maturity, achievement motivation and school performance.

Authoritarian Child Rearing

Parents who use an authoritarian style are low in acceptance and involvement. They appear cold and rejecting frequently degrading their child by mocking and putting her down. Although authoritarian parents focus heavily on control of their child's behavior, they do so coercively by yelling, commanding and criticizing. "Do it because I say so!" is the attitude of these parents. If the child disobeys, authoritarian parents resort to force and punishment. In addition, authoritarian parents are low in autonomy granting. They make decision for their child and expect the child to accept their word in an unquestioning manner. If the child does not, authoritarian parents resort to force and punishment. The authoritarian style is clearly biased in favor of parent's needs. Children's self-expression and independence are suppressed. Research shows that children with authoritarian parents often are anxious and unhappy. Girls especially appear dependent, lacking in exploration and overwhelmed in the face of challenging tasks. When playing with peers, children reared in an authoritarian climate react with hostility when frustrated. Like their parents, they resort to force when they do not get their way. Boys especially show high rates of anger, defiance and aggression.

In adolescence, young people with authoritarian parents continue to be less well adjusted than those with authoritative parents. Nevertheless, because of authoritarian parents' concern with controlling their child's behavior, teenagers experiencing this style do better in school and are less likely to engage in antisocial acts than are those with undemanding parents. i.e. parents who use the two styles we are about to discuss.

Permissive Child Rearing

The permissive style of child rearing is warm and accepting. But rather than being involved such parents are over indulging or inattentive. Permissive parents engage in little control of their children's behavior. Most of time, they avoid making demands or imposing limits. And rather than engaging in effective autonomy granting, permissive parents allow children to make many of their own decisions at an age when they are not yet capable of doing so. They can eat meals and go to bed when they feel like it and watch as much television as they want. They do not have to learn good manners or do any household chores. Although some permissive parents truly believe that this approach is best, many others lack confidence in their ability to influence their child's behavior.

Children of permissive parents have great difficulty controlling their impulses and are disobedient and rebellious when asked to do something. They are also overly demanding and dependent on adults and they show less persistence at tasks than do children of parents who exert more control.

In adolescence, parent indulgence continues to be related to poor self-control. Permissively reared teenagers do less well academically, are more defiant of authority figures and display more antisocial behavior than do teenagers whose parents communicate clear standards for behavior.

Uninvolved Child Rearing

The uninvolved style combines low acceptance and involvement with little control and general indifference to issue of autonomy. Uninvolved parents' child rearing barely exceeds the minimum effort required to feed and clothe the child. Often these parents are emotionally detached and depressed and so overwhelmed by the many stresses in their lives that they have no time and energy to spare for children. As a result, they may respond to the child's demands for easily accessible objects, but any parenting strategies that involve long-term goals, such as establishing and enforcing rules, about homework and social behavior, listening to child's point of view, and providing guidance on appropriate choices are weak and fleeting. At its extreme, uninvolved parenting is a form of child maltreatment called neglect. It is likely to characterize depressed parents with many stresses in their lives, such as marital conflict, little or no social support and poverty. Especially when it begins early, it disrupts virtually all aspects of development, including attachment, cognition, play and emotional and social skills.

Even when parental disengagement is less extreme, it is linked to adjustment problems. Adolescents whose parents rarely interact with them, take little interest in their life at school and do not monitor their whereabouts show poor emotional self-regulation, low academic self-esteem and social performance and frequent anti-social behavior.

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