“There is no way in which parents can evade having a determining effect upon their
children’s personality, character, and competence” (Baumrind, 1978). It is amazing that children who are raised in completely different environments can go on to possess similar characteristics later in life. But why is this the case? The functions that parents perform greatly influence how children develop. A tremendous amount of research has been done on the effects of parenting styles since 1966 when Diana Baumrind first published her three prototypes of parenting styles, but many parents fail to understand the power they possess in shaping the future lives of their children and the need for a responsible strategy regarding the rearing of their children.
Baumrind (1967) observed more than one hundred preschool age children and their parents and noted that responsiveness of the parents to their child’s needs in a supportive way would increase the child’s performance. There are two central elements regarding parenting style: parental responsiveness and parental demand (Maccoby & Martin, 1983). From these building blocks, Baumrind identified three prototypes: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. In 1983, the work of Maccoby and Martin would be published and reconceptualize Baumrind’s work by adding a fourth category; neglectful. All four of these parenting style prototypes are a combination of these basic elements. Authoritative parenting combines responsiveness with demandingness for what many people believe to be the best approach to parenting (Timpano, Keough, Mahaffey, Schmidt, & Abramowitz, 2010). The authoritarian style fuses unresponsiveness with demandingness to form a totalitarian view of child rearing. The inverse of these two styles would be the permissive approach which is characterized by responsiveness but not demandingness, and the neglectful approach which involves neither responsiveness nor demandingness. Although most indicative of Western society, these parenting styles have been validated in other countries as well, including Australia, China, and Russia (Hart, et al., 1998; Leung et al., 1998).
A large amount of literature published before the 1990s focused on the effects of parenting styles on the outcomes of children, establishing the benefits of the authoritative style as opposed to the negative outcomes generated by the authoritarian and permissive approaches (Demo & Cox, 2000). In essence, the authoritative style is a strategy that sets reasonable rules and guidelines that are in the best interests of the child. These rules supply structure while still allowing the child to explore and begin the process of learning what behaviors are acceptable. The authoritative approach to parenting is considered to be the most balanced style. In this category, children are expected to maintain maturity and respect for the rules and regulations that are set in place. An open dialogue between the parent and the child is...