Authoritarian_parenting3.jpgChildren of authoritarian parents feel unheard and undervalued as contributing members to the family unit. While these children are typically obedient due to the threat of negative parental consequence; they are emotionally hampered. The use of the authoritarian parenting style is devoid of frequent parental support (praise, affection and comfort). The focus is rather on the parent’s control of the child and the demand for obedience. The autonomy of children in the parental setting is restricted by their parents (Baumrind, 1996 & Reitman et al., 2002). Studies indicate that whilst the use of the authoritarian parenting style produces positive developmental outcomes in children in collective/ authoritative cultures, it is associated with negative psycho-social outcomes in western societies. Research suggests that parenting practices and culture are relational to parenting style (Brenner & Fox, 1999; Vygotsky, 1978).Consequently, cultural factors play a significant role in structuring parental practices since it dictates the guidelines about parenting (Vygotsky, 1978). The objective of this article is to focus on some of negative psycho-social and cognitive outcomes of the authoritarian parenting style.

1 Negative psycho-social outcomes of authoritarian parenting style
2 Anti-social behavior and delinquency
3 Academic performance
4 References

Negative Psycho-social and Behavioral Outcomes of Authoritarian Parenting Style

Authoritarian_parenting2.jpgRecent studies have begun to focus on the relationship between parenting style and child temperament, suggesting that authoritarian parenting styles could actually be more harmful to children with high behavioral impulse (BI) control (Williams et. al., 2009). This is also known as transactional effect, where parental behavior can be more influential in the development of problem behavior of children who have high BI (Williams et. al., 2009). Williams (2009), suggests that the authoritarian parenting style can lead to greater social withdrawal in children with low BI and greater acting out behavior in children with high BI. The socially withdrawn child is the child that is viewed as the quiet child in all social settings.Children raised in authoritarian environments have low degree of self-reliance and social competence as compared to children raised in authoritative environments (Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, & Dornbush 1991). The risk of developing antisocial behaviors is often attributable to family or parenting factors (Tompsett & Toro, 2010). Consequently, Paterson suggests that poor parental monitoring leads to impaired development of the normal social skills and increased tendency to associate with antisocial peers (Patterson, 1992). Since the authoritarian parenting style is characterized by harsh treatment by parents, Reti et al. (2002) posit that it serves as a model for aggressive behavior and contributes to coercive parent-child interactions. By extension, children internalize standards for behavior and cognitive and emotional modulating through exposure to harsh interactions with parents, such as yelling, arguing, and slapping. In this way, punitive, negative discipline by parents leads to cognitive and emotional dysregulation by children and resulting in them displaying anger and defiance (Dodge,1993). Low parental warmth and harsh parenting have also been found as significant predictors of girls’ conduct/oppositional problems (Moffitt 1993). These two factors are predictors of early disruptive behavior in children. The failure of parents to form a warm, supportive relationship with their child impedes the development of emotional understanding and empathy (Hoffman, 1994).

While other styles are associated with increased adolescent drug usage, the authoritarian style of parenting is linked with lower levels of adolescent drug usage with some exception being noted in low-income families (Pellerin, 2005; Shumow et. al., 1998). Relationally, lower socioeconomic status (SES) predicts harsh parenting, which contributes to externalizing negative behaviors (Meteyer & Jenkins, 2009). Additionally, it should be noted that variances have been observed with regard to gender, indicating that future research should focus on these variances. While implications regarding the authoritarian style of parenting are counterintuitive to positive behavioral outcomes, this style is considered to be far less destructive to child development than other styles (i.e. permissive and neglectful styles).

Anti-social Behavior and Delinquency

Authoritarian parenting style has been associated with drug use (Baumrind, 1991).Furthermore; extant research suggests a strong link between authoritative parenting style and juvenile delinquency (Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, & Dornbush, 1991). Research has found substantial support for a relationship between early parental care and the development of antisocial behavior in adolescences. These findings suggest a significant link between authoritarian parenting and externalization of antisocial behavior(Ehrensaft et. al., 2003) and this is as a result of the low parental warmth, inconsistency, and harsh discipline that children are subjected to by their authoritarian parents (Thomberry et. al., 2003; Grogan-Kaylor, 2005).These findings are consistent with the research findings of Asher (2006), which suggested that parenting styles are predictors of behavioral outcomes in juveniles. The study involving parents and legal guardians of juveniles incarcerated for felony offenses, the largest percentage (46%) of parents / guardians identified most closely with an authoritarian style of parenting (Asher, 2006).

Academic Performance

Reporting on their research findings, Shumow, Vandell, and Posner (1998) noted that controlling for family income, race, family structure, parental education, and maternal unemployment, authoritarian parenting style results in poorer academic developmental outcomes in both third and fifth grade. Third grade children with authoritarian parents demonstrated poorer behavioral adjustment. The fifth grade children predicted poorer achievement test scores, lower ratings from teachers of their behavioral adjustment, and more behavior problems. Research indicates that children of the authoritarian parents have one of the worst outcomes on virtually any measure of social or cognitive competence, academic performance, psychological well being or problem behavior (Baumrind, 1991.; Slicker 1998.; Lamborn et at., 1991).


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