Baumrind used the combination of these aspects in different ways to identify the four styles of parenting used today, consisted of, authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved parenting....
In Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s essay, “Where Have All the Parents Gone?” she explains that “More than drugs, it was divorce that lay at the heart of middle-class parental failure....
Being raised by the Chinese style of parenting or better known as “Tiger Parenting” I understand what it was like being put through what Amy Chua put her kids through.
People have had a strong reaction to her book. Chua's supporters believe that her parenting methods are justified by the extraordinary academic and musical successes of her two daughters. Chua's critics, on the other hand, feel that her parenting methods will not lead to optimal developmental outcomes in children. One concern is that the evidence presented in Chua's book is based on her personal experience and not on scientific research that can take into account the differences across families and the variety of possible outcomes. This is especially problematic when reinforcing stereotypes about groups, and when giving advice to mothers around the world.
Asian American parenting started gaining scholarly attention with the landmark publication of Ruth Chao's (1994) paper in the journal Child Development , one of the leading journals for developmental psychology. Her study was one of the first to ask the question, “Why are Asian American children performing so well academically, given that their parents are more likely to be classified as authoritarian in parenting style?” This was an important issue to untangle, because authoritarian parenting, characterized as very strict or harsh without much warmth, often goes hand in-hand with poor academic outcomes in European American children. Also, research on Asian American children had begun to uncover an achievement/adjustment paradox: despite their academic success, these children had lower levels of socio-emotional health. Thus, it is crucial to be clear about what we mean when we talk about “successful outcomes” in children.
Ethnic and cultural differences must also be taken into account in studying the effects of parenting styles on child social development. It is difficulty to escape social pressures that judge some parenting styles to be better, usually those that reflect the dominant culture. Authoritarian parenting, which is generally linked to less positive child social outcomes, tends to be more prevalent among ethnic minorities. In Asian ethnic families, authoritarian parenting is linked to positive social outcomes and academic success, due in part to parenting goals and training specific to Asian-origin families.
Research has generally linked authoritative parenting, where parents balance demandingness and responsiveness, with higher social competencies in children. Thus, children of authoritative parents possess greater competence in early peer relationships, engage in low levels of drug use as adolescents, and have more emotional well-being as young adults. Although authoritarian and permissive parenting styles appear to represent opposite ends of the parenting spectrum, neither style has been linked to positive outcomes, presumably because both minimize opportunities for children to learn to cope with stress. Too much control and demandingness may limit children’s opportunities to make decisions for themselves or to make their needs known to their parents, while children in permissive/indulgent households may lack the direction and guidance necessary to develop appropriate morals and goals. Research has also uncovered significant associations between parenting styles across generations; bad parenting appears to be “passed on” as much as good parenting.
Even though these kinds of results appear to be robust, their applicability across cultures and environments is questionable. Many studies focus on white, middle-class children and families, but children with different ethnic/racial/cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds may fare better under different types of guidance. Recent controversy concerns the outcomes of different parenting styles for child social development in low-SES, high-risk, inner-city families. While some research has suggested that more authoritarian parenting styles may be necessary in high-risk areas, other research has shown continued benefits of authoritative parenting. Factoring into this research is the idea that parenting may actually “matter less” among low-SES families due to the greater force of environmental factors, such as financial difficulties and higher crime rates.
Contemporary studies of parenting styles in large part expand on several concepts put forward in Diana Baumrind’s formative research in the 1960s, which outlined a three-group classification system. Since the advent of this type of research, generally conducted through direct observation and by questionnaires and interviews with parents and children, classification has been based on evaluations along two broad dimensions of parenting styles: control/demandingness (claims parents make on a child relating to maturity, supervision and discipline) and responsiveness (actions that foster individuality, self-regulation and self-assertion by being attuned and supportive). Contemporary researchers typically classify parenting styles in four groups: authoritarian parenting, characterized by high levels of control and low levels of responsiveness; indulgent permissive parenting, characterized by low levels of control and high levels of responsiveness; authoritative parenting, characterized by high levels of both control and responsiveness; and neglectful parenting, characterized by lack of both control and responsiveness.
A major obstacle in family systems research is the question of relevance: Can researchers draw conclusions about parenting style that bridge cultural and socioeconomic gaps? Much research shows that the authoritative and flexible parenting style is optimal for the white, middle-class child from a nuclear family, but the same may not be true for other children growing up in other circumstances and situations. Allowing children flexibility and freedom may result in positive outcomes when children live in safe areas and their peers are less likely to engage in dangerous behaviour, but in high-risk neighbourhoods, higher degrees of parental control might be necessary. Before policy-makers and clinicians can set guidelines or make recommendations regarding appropriate parenting behaviour, the extent to which the research conclusions apply to different ethnic/racial/cultural and socioeconomic groups must be evaluated. Furthermore, the positive and negative child outcomes associated with different types of parenting styles in preschool children may not necessarily apply to children at later stages of development. Longer-term outcomes must also be factored into policy-making and advising parents.
Although parenting quality inevitably adjusts, improves or declines as children mature and parents face new and different challenges, some level of stability in parenting style over long periods of time obtains.