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The Effect of Parent Behavior on Children's Discipline

by Stephen Maughan

Laura Berk, professor of Psychology at Illinois State University, describes four types of parenting behavior when disciplining children. These styles are authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and uninvolved. All four have different ways to discipline children, although many studies, such as the one conducted by the school of nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, show that authoritative parenting produces higher self-esteem and creates fewer behavioral problems in children.

Authoritative

Authoritative behavior involves setting clear boundaries appropriate for the child's age and development, which the children are expected to follow. The parents show caring behavior when disciplining, taking time to explain why their children are being disciplined, but also listening to their needs and concerns. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, this parenting behavior gives children a wide range of benefits, including having more success at school, positive social skills and a better understanding of other people.

Authoritarian

Authoritarian behavior is when the parents are in total control, and the children are expected to obey without question. The parents have extremely high expectations on their children, and discipline is seen as an important part of parenting. Punishment is harsh if the children misbehave. There is little communication, and parents do not take time to explain the reasons for discipline their children. According to the Canadian Parentastic website, children from authoritarian parents can become aggressive and rebellious, and they often have problems with self-esteem.

Indulgent

Indulgent behavior involves catering to the child's wishes and not having any real boundaries or rules. Discipline is minimal or not carried through, and the parents love their children unconditionally and accept them for who they are, and do not want conflict with their children. Laura Berk claims that as the parents let the children do what they like and do not discipline them, the children lack respect for authority figures, suffer at school and show more anti-social behavior than children from other parenting styles.

Uninvolved

In uninvolved parenting, the parents are permissive and do not have any boundaries or rules because they do not have much interest in their children's lives. There is no real discipline because the parents do not care The parents may be emotionally detached from their children, and according to the Guardian, this uninvolved behavior can lead to child neglect. The Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences claims that children of uninvolved parents have a higher risk of substance abuse, anti-social behavior and depression.

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