Crucial Decisions An Adolescent Must Make Education Essay

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In Malaysia, along with the academic performance, career decision making is one of the most crucial decisions an adolescent must make. Once students completed their lower secondary assessment (PMR), they will be streamed into either Science or Art stream. Students need to make a choice to which stream (Arts or Science) they are going to enroll during their upper secondary. In fact, people usually perceived that students who achieved good PMR results always go to the Science stream while those who score lower grades would be channeled to the Arts stream. This streaming is important as before they graduate from secondary school, they are required to take the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or Malaysian Certificate of Education examination. The examination papers are different based on the stream that students had registered a few months before their examination. The Science stream is always perceived to be generally more desirable by the students due to the flexibility as they are allowed to switch to the Arts stream. However, those who are in the Arts stream usually cannot change to Science stream even they are in Form 6 (Malaysia Higher School Certificate) or when they get into university level. Students are often in dilemma as to the choice of the subjects as this would enable them to have a more realistic and better career decision in the future. At this stage, they may choose the stream of study based on their own interest and it may also due to the influence or pressure by family members, peers and teachers. Although career development has not been viewed as a single event rather a lifelong process that one undergoes from early childhood to adolescence then into adulthood (Saviskas, 2002), any wrong career decision cause by pressure from parents and school or from the indecisiveness of the students can hinder their career development in the future.

Advice and guidance can be received by students in school with the help of counseling teachers. Usually counseling teachers will conduct many career-related programs and workshops for Form Four students during the beginning of the school. These programs are conducted to allow students to explore individual self concept and personality besides identifying job opportunity available in the work market. Students who are undecided on their career path will be given an one-on-one career counseling or group counseling depending on the seriousness of the issues faced by the students. As a result, these career counseling programs may help students to choose the kind of jobs that are congruence with their individual characteristics. As stated in John Holland's theory, occupational satisfaction, stability and satisfaction depend on congruence between one's personality and job environment while Super's theory believed that people seek career satisfaction through work roles in which they can express themselves and implement and develop their self-concepts.

According to Ginzberg et al. (1951), adolescents at the age of 16 are able to take their goals and values into consideration when making a career decision. According to Piaget (1977) in Sharf, (2002) stated that adolescents start a gradual process of developing their ability to solve problem and to plan. He also stated that, adolescents' planning becomes more ordered and they start to introspect and think about themselves in a variety of situations. At this point adolescents can more accurately pictures themselves working in occupations than they could a few years earlier (Sharf, 2002). It has been stated that "the process of job selection and job entry can help young people become more realistic in their thinking" (Inhelder & Piaget, 1958) in Sharf, 2002. Super (1973) supported the statement by stating that high school years are essential years of vocational exploration for the young people.

However, besides the helping hand from the school counselors, students however still need support from parents in making such crucial decision in life. In the study conducted by Blyth, Hill, and Thiel (1982), they found that about ninety percent of teenagers identify parents as significant persons in their lives. While according to Kotrik and Harrison (1989), they concluded that parents particularly mothers had the most influence to high school students career decision making process. While in other research reported by Montemayor and Brownlee (1987), adolescents express more satisfaction while their parents were present than in their absence. In another study by Gadeyne and friends (2004), revealed that parenting play an important role as a determinant of several aspects of children's outcome. Bryant et al. (2006), support the statement by stating that adolescent learn about occupation from the parents as they are the major source of knowledge. In line with the findings by Merchant, et al., (2001) , they have found that parents were the main factor children suggested that parental involvement at home and at school are associated with student motivation in academic and nonacademic activities.

Parents have a vital role in rearing their children as they are still the primary influence that affects children's decisions making in spite of the influence of Internet, peers, teachers and school. Based on the statistic, the cost living in Malaysia has increased year by year and it has reach to about 12.1% in 2010 (Department of Statistic Malaysia, 2011). For the expenditure on children's education itself, parents have to meet a number of costs such as school fees, school uniform, books and equipment, pocket money, extra reading material and also tuition (Osman & Rajah, 2011). This phenomenon has generate dual-earner families that have forced mothers to leave their children for employment (Johari, 2009). Therefore, the children are left to the supervision of daycare centres or housemaids or perhaps the parents may just leave their adolescent children at home alone.

Up to date, Malaysian are divided into two different background there are the modern and the traditional. The modern Malaysian have inculcating the western culture of pursuing individualism which emphasizes personal action and responsibility. The traditional Malaysian hold on to the collectivistic culture which emphasizes interpersonal relatedness, obedience to one's parents and elders, conformity and group action. When it comes to decision making as regards choice of occupations, religion and life partners, most Malaysian children will want to seek approval of their parents and significant others. Yang (1993) indicated that some components of traditional culture may change under the impact of Western culture, but some components of a given culture may be robust and resistant to change. One of the most enduring aspects of Chinese familism is the mutual interdependence of family members. Most parents do their best to educate and take care of their children, while most children assume the obligations of filial piety and are willing to repay and support their aging parents.

Study conducted by Beazer (1998) found that from the dual-career families background, male's adolescents would spend average 63 minutes per day with their fathers, 87 minutes per day with their mothers, and 117 minutes per day with both parents together while female's adolescents would spend average 65 minutes per day with their fathers, 60 minutes with their mothers, and 71 minutes with both parents together. Beazer also stated that parents who make themselves available to interact with their adolescents during critical times contribute better than parents who spend a lot of time with their adolescents but not at the right moments. In addition, he also found that adolescent had define quality time with parent on how accessible the parents are when they need them the most (critical times). In addition, parents serve as significant interpreters for children about the world and children's abilities (Hall, et al., 1996). It has been concluded across a wealth of research that parent involvement generally benefits children's and adolescents' learning and academic success (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1997). According to Baumrind (1991), the way to parenting a child is a complicated activity that requires specific treatments. Each type of parenting may give positive impact as much as negative consequences on children's development. Many researchers have studied and acknowledge the influence of parents and the family on children's career choice and development. As a result, a proper parenting style is required to fulfill the needs of children's career development.

Many research on the influence of parenting styles on adolescent's decision making have been conducted in the western country. The results have found that almost all studies conducted in the west have found that authoritative parenting style is positively associated with students' performance compared to authoritarian parenting style and permissive parenting style (Jackson, 2002). While few more studies have proved that the authoritative parenting style seems to benefit the school performance of Hispanic and European Americans children (Steinberg, Dornbusch et al., 1992). Another study involving Caribbean immigrant families in America also found that authoritarian parents had "override any gains that can be made through participation in academic activities with children at home. Young children are less likely to benefit from these strict exchanges with their fathers because it may be characterized by a need to maintain order and discipline rather than providing calm, trusting, and viable opportunities to question and experiment during educational encounters" (J.L. Roopnarine et al., 2006).

In eastern societies, the authoritarian parenting style is found to be helpful on children's academic achievement compare to the authoritative parenting style (Dwairy & Menshar, 2006, Chao, 2001, and Leung et al., 1998). Leung and friends (1998) reported that few studies conducted in non-western countries has revealed that authoritarian parenting style was positively related with students' academic achievement. However, another study conducted in Beijing has different findings where authoritarian parenting style was negatively related with students' social and school adjustment (Chen, et al., 1997). Chao (1994) had stated that different ethnic groups may have different meanings for parenting style. Chao (2001) indicated that the way parents and children relate to or interact with each other are influenced by cultural factors. Another research conducted using Asian-American sample illustrates that authoritarian parenting appears to be associated with positive development rather than pathology in adolescent if the social setting of family and community respond favorably with this parenting style (Millon, 2006).

Problem Statement

Researcher has acknowledge that parents and family play important role in the development and decision on children's career. Specifically, some familial factors have been empirically linked to career choice, career development processes and career maturity (Roney et al., 2004; Lankard, 1995; Whiston & Keller, 2004). However, there are numerous unanswered questions as to how the family relationships actually influence the children career maturity. Literature on the impact of parenting styles and career maturity in the perspective of Malaysian community is also scarce as most research on parenting styles and career maturity are found in western literature. Choosing Malaysia as the focus of the study would be an interesting and meaningful as it is rich with multi ethnic communities (Malay, Chinese and Indian). Hence, this research would investigate whether the parenting styles of these multi-ethnic communities are associated with students' career maturity.

In a previous research conducted by Fouad and friends (2008) found that family and culture were the major influence on the career decisions made by Asian Americans. Asian parents want their children to pursue occupations that are marketable and financially secured and this usually involved enrolling in subjects such as science and technology (Tang et al., 1999). Therefore, children in Asia were asked to pursue studies on their parents' wishes instead of pursuing their own individual interests and goal (Leong & Gupta, 2007).

This has lead to a discrepancy between family expectation and children own expectation. Students with low level of differentiation in decision making process from that of the family may not be able to objectively differentiate their own expectations from that of their family. Hence, this may force students to make wrong and unsatisfying career decisions. Keshavarz and Baharudin (2009) report that authoritarian parents' might be defined as caring and concerned parents to Asians but it might be opposite to European Americans. Way and Rossmann (1996) stated pressures to fulfill parents' expectations regarding careers can cause a poor fit between the individual and the chosen career as well as estranged family relationship. They also stated that families with uninvolved (or inactive) parents "seem unable to function well either because they cannot set guidelines, or because they do not pursue interests that involve places and persons outside the family" (pg. 3). This makes it more difficult for children to develop self-knowledge and differentiate their own career goals from their parents' goals.

In Malaysia, one of the studies that have compared the personality traits amongst youths in collectivist and individualist cultures demonstrated that Malaysian youth revealed high agreeableness and low extraversion and openness in comparison to youths in individualist cultures (Mastor et al, 2000). The results of authoritarian parenting practices in the collectivist groups show that individuals must suppress their own requirements and consider the needs of others in the in-group (Grusec et al, 1997).

While another recent study conducted by Norhasilah Mat Nor, Aspaniza Hamzah, Nurul Farhana Junus (2012) have found that one of the main reasons students play truant was due to parents' behavior. Based on the results, majority of the respondents (Form Four students who conducted disciplinary problem) stated that parents who did not care for their children has led them to do what they want to do as they know that their parents will not bother and control them or even punished them. These parents were similar to the permissive parents where they do not demand, they do not control and do not enforced established rules and finally they have failed to disciplined their children. With the mixed findings from past studies on the impact of parenting styles on children, it is important to investigate the parenting styles practice by Malaysian parents as it may contribute to the negative impact on children regardless in career, academic or also personality. The question on whether parenting style related with students' career maturity need to be investigated further.

In addition, most of the research done in Malaysia as generalize parenting styles practice by Malaysian as a whole instead of dividing it into ethnicity. Therefore, the present study would considered cultural similarities and differences in parenting goals and practices. Research results of all these studies are once again inconsistent, which suggests the need for further exploration of the construct in different cultural contexts.

As a result, do Malaysian parents control, influence then make career decisions for their children? Are they doubting the level of maturity of their children in making own career decisions?

Research Questions

The research questions of this study are as follows:

What is the parenting style for Malay, Chinese and Indian parents as perceived by students?

What is the level of career maturity among students?

Is there any significant difference on the level of career maturity between male female students?

Is there any significant interaction between ethnicity and parenting styles on students' career maturity?

Is there any relationship between parenting styles and students' career maturity?

Research Objectives

General Objective

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between parenting styles (permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative) and students' career maturity.

Specific Objectives

The specific objectives for this study were as follows:

To identify the parenting style of Malay, Chinese and Indian parents as perceived by students;

To identify the level of career maturity among students;

To identify the difference between the level of career maturity of male students and female students;

To identify the interaction between ethnicity and parenting styles on students' career maturity;

To examine the relationship between parenting styles and students' career maturity;

Research Hypotheses

In line with the objectives of the study, the following hypotheses were tested:

H1: There is a significant difference on career maturity between male and female students.

H2: There is a significant interaction between ethnicity and parenting styles on student's career maturity.

H3 : There is a significant relationship between authoritative parenting style and students' career maturity.

H4 : There is a significant relationship between authoritarian parenting style and students' career maturity.

H3 : There is a significant relationship between permissive parenting style and students' career maturity.

Significance of Study

This study will help to lead parents, educators and also counselors to have better understanding in the relationship between parenting styles and career maturity among Malaysian secondary school students. If the findings of this study show that authoritative parenting styles is correlated to career maturity therefore counselor can guide parents to use this parenting style to educate and help their children. Furthermore, with the understanding of the powerful influences of parents on children, this study attempts to fill a gap in the existing literature by providing the best set of parenting style that will help to increase the level of career maturity among Malaysian's students .

In addition, the findings of this study would allow parents and children to make appropriate action in determining future career of their children. Besides, it will also be useful for counselor to provide information to parents on which type of parenting style has better contribution on children' career maturity. Interactions between parents and counselors may provide opportunities for both to gain a better understanding of children's self concept and career decision. With the guidance of school counselor, parents could work hand in hand with children where parents could have better discussion with their children on career decision making while students can make better and more objective career decision making. In the other hand, parents' role are to guide children in making a decision while the final decision making is still need to be in the children's hands.

Limitation of the Study

This research will be conducted in Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bukit Jalil as the population of the study. The focus of the study is to measure the relationship between parenting styles and Form 4 students' career maturity.

One of the challenges in this study is that the formation of expectation and perceptions of parents' parenting style would be influenced by many external and internal factors such as family background and other environment issues. Nevertheless, all these factors are not being investigated in this study. Besides, this findings could be much more meaningful if parents are also involved in the sample of the study. In addition, the findings of the study could be generalize to a bigger population if the sample are taken throughout the country comparing rural and urban setting. Finally, the resource constraints faced in terms of time, money and other personal matters that affect the study to be done in a proper and wider scope.

Definitions of Terms:

The following are definitions of certain terms to be used in this study:

Career Maturity

One's readiness to make sound, well-informed decisions about career selections (Crites and Savickas, 1995a; Super, Thompson, Lindeman, Jordaan, & Myers,(1988).

Career Development

The process that involves the integration of psychological, sociological, educational, physical, economic, and chance factors that provide the basis for a career over an individual's life" (Isaacson, 1986 p. 54).

Parenting Style

Standard strategies that parents use in their child rearing. There are many differing theories and opinions on the best ways to rear children, as well as differing levels of time and effort that parents are willing to invest.

Permissive parenting style

Permissive parents are warm, high nurturance, responsive but low in parental control and demand few maturity behaviours.

Authoritarian parenting style

Authoritarian parents are often strict, discourage verbal give-and-take, control children behaviours based on a set of standard and requiring children to be responsive to parental demand and are less warm.

Authoritative parenting style

Authoritative parents are warm, attempt to direct the behaviour of their children by giving the rationale behind their rules and actions, encourage verbal give-and-take, and respect for the children's viewpoint and their independence although they set clear limits for them.


Career choice is one of the most crucial decisions need to made by a person. Students in Malaysia need to start to decide on the career choice latest at the age of 16 as they need to start to decide on their stream of studies during Form Four class. However, students were find to have career indecision when families especially parents have interrupted and influence their career choice. The gap on making career decision based on own choice versus parents' choice has viewed as a serious problem and dilemma face by students of Form Four. This may be due to the collectivistic value orientation in Malaysia in which family ties, obedience to authority and respect the elderly as emphasis by Malaysian regardless of any ethnicity. Choosing a stream of study seems to be more satisfying parents desires rather than meeting student's own interests and abilities and this has led to the low level of career maturity by students. Therefore, this study will investigate the type of parenting styles practices by Malaysian parents as perceived the students and whether it has given impacts on students' career maturity.




This chapter covers the independent variables (parenting styles, ethnicity and gender) that play a role in affecting students' career maturity (dependent variable). The focus is on discovering how much of an effect perceived parenting style and career maturity have on Form four students. Besides, it explained the impact of ethnicity factors on parenting styles and also the differences between gender on career maturity. Ethnicity in Malaysia is defined and explored as it was expected to be pivotal to the understanding of successful parenting styles.

This chapter is also a review of the literature on career maturity and the impact of parenting style on students' career maturity. A gap in the literature that the current study addressed concludes the chapter. This gap concerns the possible existence of a significant relationship between culture, gender parenting styles on students' career maturity.

Theoretical Framework


Vocational guidance was started during the year of 1930s where severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding to World War II. The Great Depression, as came to be known, has caused to unemployment declined from 20% to 30% worldwide. In Malaysia, rubber and tin made Malaysia one of the Great Britain's most lucrative colonial holdings has fell on average by 60 percent. Many workers had to return to their country of origin, in addition, this tragedy has also affect the smallholders and also those who had taken out high-interest secured loan during the prosperous times. Most of them has faced the loss of their land While in other countries especially in America this phenomenon has led to more children and women looking for jobs, the increase in prostitution and also the raise of underpaid workers (Osipow & Fitzgerald, 1996, p.16) .

With the increasing of job shortage, more youth and adults were attending to school so that they could access better in vocational planning help and gain better vocational information. Youth and adults learned more about the critical importance of work or also known as "working to survive" in Work Progress Administration and National Youth Administration. This is the year of the establishment of the United States Employment Service in 1933, which led to the first publication of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles in 1939 (Benjamin, 1984, p. 3). The Great Depression has concentrated the concern over re-training workers because of economic necessity as previous jobs no longer existed. Researchers sought ways of testing and classifying people for jobs and careers which best suited them (Brown & Brooks, 1990, p.3). The incident of the Great Depression seems helpful in inculcating people the value of job, occupation and also career.

In current trends, with the stability of economic and politic, career has becoming a choice that individuals make at that time as they are overwhelmed by many occupations (example: agricultural sector, service sector, technology and manufacture sector) and choices around them. Vocations and jobs is not about survival alone but it also involves emotional satisfaction, values factors and job environment. According to National Career Development Association (Sears, 1982) career is the totality of work and leisure in which a person is involved in his or her life span. Blustein, McWhirter and Perry (2005) define "work as a human activity to fulfill tasks of daily living and ensure survival whether or not they are paid or not being paid for the tasks. Whereas they defined career as a subset of work characterized by choice, pay and hierarchical and thematic relationships among the various jobs that constitute a career". Super and Bohn (1970) has divided the word career into three (3) different point of views, there are (i) economically; (ii) sociologically; and (iii) psychologically. Each views will give different types of meaning and perspective towards career. For example, "(i) career in economic view represent a series of positions occupied by a person to earn, earning or withdrawing from the earning; (ii) sociologically was viewed as a role played by a person, and the situation in which it is played have some bearing on the nature of the next role in the series; moreover (iii) psychological was viewed as a series of roles played by a person, the choice of and success in which are determined in part by the aptitudes, interests, values, needs, prior experiences, and expectations of the person in question". Career concept appears to have various meaning depending on era, perspectives and needs. The following definition of career by Super (1976) will have better explanation for this study where he stated that:

Career is the course of events which constitutes a life; the sequence of occupations and other life roles which combine to express one's commitment to work in his or her total pattern of self-development; the series of remunerated and non-remunerated positions occupied by a person from adolescence through retirement, of which occupation is only one; includes work-related roles such as those of student, employee, and pensioner together with complementary a vocational, familial, and civic roles. Careers exist only as people pursue them; they are person-centered. It is this last notion of careers, "they exist only as people pursue them," which summarizes much of the rationale for career guidance. (p. 4)

Super's Career Development Theory

Donald E. Super has been referred to as "planful explorer" as many articles have been written analyzing and commenting on his theories of career development and exploration (Savickas, 1994). Planfulness refers to how and individual utilizing his abilities, values and interests through not only work role but it also includes many social roles such as being a good son, loving husband and dedicated student. Super believes that this planful attitudes can be learned. Super describes six major roles (homemaker, worker, citizen, leisurite, student and child) and he believes that individuals must well prepared to implement the life roles available in their environment (Cossette & Allison, 2007).

Life-space does not assume that work is the central role in a person's life; instead it highlights the importance of the work role in relation to other roles. Super et al. (1996) say that the importance of a role is determined by three components: (i) commitment; (ii) participation; and (iii) value expectations. It was derived from the salience concept by Super which refers to the importance of a role to a person. In this study, it is not a major responsibility for a 16 years old students to implement the roles of worker, citizen and homemaker, as in adolescence, work is not often directly to one's eventual career. However, at this point, adolescents are starting to picture themselves working in a occupation (Sharf, 2002).

Career Maturity

Career maturity is one of the most commonly researched outcome measures in career counseling and career development (Luzzo, 1995; Spokane, 1991). The constructs "career development" and "career maturity" were not found in the literature until the field of career psychology started linking more closely with developmental psychology (Super, 1957). Super (1953) has proposed a theory called Vocational Development and he was the first researcher to initiate the concept of career maturity in the Career Pattern Study during 1955. Jepson (1994) says "career pattern refers to a sequence of positions common to several persons over their working lifetime" (p. 2). By looking at the past, one can predict the future. Powell and Luzzo (1998) reported that career maturity has been viewed as one of the most important aspects of career development. Super began developing a major segment of his approach, career maturity, through studying the work of sociologists and psychologists on adolescent development (Cossette & Allison, 2007). Super in 1953 also stated that vocational decisions is a process of eliminating and narrowing down occupational list as it usually influenced by earlier experienced and earlier decisions besides by the general growth and development of the individual (Hoppock, 1967).

Super (1990) defined career maturity as "the individual's readiness to cope with the developmental tasks with which he or she is confronted because of his or her biological and social developments and because of society's expectation of people who have reached that stage of development" (p. 213). Thomson and friends with the collaboration of Super and friends (1981) have proposed that one who is mature in career development would have actively involved in these elements such as career planning, career exploration, decision making, world of work information and also the preferred occupations. With the concepts proposed, individual could have a better understanding on the components that are affecting one's career maturity. Super (1957) has emphasized that it is importance for adolescence to develop career maturity as failure in doing so may lead to difficulty in making satisfying career decisions. For example, adolescents at the age of 16, they would have known and able to say what kind of job they would like to pursue. However, the career decision made by these adolescents may be inaccurate as they might be confused between what they 'feel' they know about the job and what they 'actually' know about one's job. This shows that students were lack of career planning information. With the results attained, counselor may pay more attention on guiding students in career planning so that they would succeed and obtained great work satisfaction in the future.

Career Maturity and Life Stages

Up-to-date, ample of career maturity researches were found to be significantly correlated to other career development variables such as self concept, career planning, career exploration and occupational information seeking behavior (Salami, 1999; Livingston, 2003; Naidoo, 1998). Moreover, career maturity was also being investigated among as young as primary school students (fantasy level) to as old as late adult (disengagement level). This has been explained in super's theory where he had concluded that vocational choice is a process rather than event as human tends to change when they reach to certain stages of life (Sharf, 2002).

According to Savickas (1997 and 2005) the concept of "career maturity" was used to refer to the degree that a person was able to fulfil the vocational developmental tasks required in each developmental stage. Super (1990) proposed a life stage developmental framework with the following stages: (i) growth, (ii) exploration, (iii) establishment, (iv) maintenance, and (v) disengagement. In each stage one has to successfully manage the vocational developmental tasks that are socially expected of persons in the given chronological age range (Leung, 2008).

The first stage (growth) occurred at the age of 0 to the age of 13. The growth stage involves forming an occupational self-concept. This stage begins when a child start to explore the importance of work in life (Sidek, 2002). According to Jordaan (1963) in Shar (2002) , curiosity may prompted by a child when he/she prompted by hunger, thirst, loneliness, stimuli and also boredom. When a child is confused or uncertain, he or she will decide to resolved it in his or her own way. Jordaan (1963) also stated that curiosity can be observed when a child exposed to a new toy, new thing and new people. For example, when a child is given a ball, he may fantasize himself being like David Beckham, a profesional football player. There are so many toy sets in the market representing difference type of occupation such as cooking set representing chef and 'little doctor medical play set' representing a medical doctor occupation. These toys could developed a curiosity and fantasize thinking of a child. Ginzberg and friends (1951) suggested that curiosity and fantasy thinking of a child need to be encouraged as it is important to develop career development in a child.

The stage of exploration started at the age of 14 to 24. Exploration involves fitting oneself into society in a way that unifies one's inner and outer worlds (Cossette & Allison, 2007). Two (2) phases have been divided into this stage. The first phase was a tentative phase where an adolescents start to narrow down their choice of career. They start to sort out occupation that is compatible or not compatible to them such as deselecting the work that irrelevant with their competency or qualification (Sidek, 2002, p. 100). For example, students in the art stream may not choose medical or engineering as their choice of work as they understand that the requirement to be a doctor or engineer need to be in the same area of studies (science stream). Adolescents again narrowing down as much as possible their career's choice when they reach to a realistic phase. They tend to choose an occupation that not only achievable but also can provide a better career opportunity or a better career prospects (Sidek, 2002, p. 100). For example, student in art stream may then choose either working as an educator or a businessman as they can foresee the future career development in both occupations. This information-seeking behavior moves the adolescent from occupational daydreams to employment in a job through three processes:

Crystallization (age 14-18) occurs when the four tasks of the growth phase are completed and coalesce with occupational daydreams "into a publicly recognized vocational identity with corresponding preferences for a group of occupations at a particular ability level" (Super et al., 1996, p. 132). A cognitive process involving an understanding of one's interests, skills, and values, and to pursue career goals consistent with that understanding.

Specification (age 18-21) of an occupational choice requires the individual to explore deeply to sift through tentative preferences in preparation for declaring an occupational choice. "Translating private vocational self concepts into public occupational roles involves the psychosocial process of vocational identity formation" (Savickas, 2002, p. 175).

Implementation/Actualization (age 21-24) requires that the individual make a choice by converting ideas into actions that make it a fact. Actualizing a choice usually involves completing the necessary training and experiencing trial jobs in the specifies occupation.

The third stage (establishment) experiences by adults at the age range of 25 years to 44 years. There are two phases involved in this stage which are trial sub-stage and stabilization sub-stage. In the trial stage, an individual tries, explores and evaluates on the career choices that has been selected during exploration (Sidek, 2002). He or she may holds a job at this stage and may thought of changing a job until he or she found a career that is suitable for him or her. With the experience, knowledge and skill obtained from the job, individuals start to stabilizing as they are becoming more and more competence. This shows that they actually have reached the stabilization stage. Establishment includes implementation of self-concept in an occupational role to achieve job satisfaction. The three vocational development tasks under establishment are:

Stabilizing (age 24-35) -- making one's position secure by assimilating organizational culture and performing job duties satisfactorily;

Consolidating(> age 35) - demonstrating positive work attitudes and work habits, and cultivating good relationships with co-workers.

Next is the maintenance stage occurred between the age of 45 to 65. At this level, individuals may remain their jobs or change their job until they found a job that could fit and compatible with their values, interests and self concept. If they choose to change. Then they need to go through again the stages of exploration and establishment before they could reached the maintenance stage. Super refers to recycling through one or more of the life stages as mini-cycles (Super et al., 1996, p.135). If the individuals decide to remain in the same occupation, then they are entering the maintenance stage.

During the last establishment stage, took place at the age of 65 and above. Individuals start to decelerating and enjoy the retirement life due to physical and mental constraints. Super and friends (1996) stated that the retirement planning "leads eventually to separation from occupation and commencement of retirement living with its challenges of organizing a new life structure and different life-style" (p. 134).

Super (1990) argued that the timing of transitions between career stages was more a function of the individual's personality and life circumstances than of chronological age as people are differ in their abilities and personalities, needs, values, interests, traits, and self-concepts.

Baumrind's Parenting Styles

Many researchers have acknowledged that parents and family play an important role in adolescence's career development. Byant and friends (2006) have state that parents are "a major source of knowledge and beliefs about occupations" that children and adolescents learn (p. 154). Developmental psychologists have been interested in how parents influence the development of children's social and instrumental competence since 1920s. One of the most robust approaches to this area is the study of what has been called "parenting style." For years, researches on parenting have focused primarily on the effects of parenting styles on students' developments. However, the extent to which parenting styles affect career development, specifically career maturity, has yet to be fully explored (Bryant et al., 2006).

The concept of parenting style was initiated by Baumrind (1971; 1978). Baumrind's framework has been frequently used and well-accepted due to her multi-method and longitudinal approach of studying parenting behaviors (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). For the past 40 years, Baumrind's parenting styles have been used in subsequent studies, many of which have supported her assertions and results (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). Outcomes of Baumrind's styles have also been replicated in studies across region, age, sex, and socioeconomic status (Kennell, 1994). However, inconclusive results have been found amongst different racial and ethnic groups (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). According to Baumrind (1991), the way to parenting a child is a complicated activity that requires specific treatments. Each type of parenting may give positive impact as much as negative consequences on children's development. Parenting styles can be described as "patterns of behaviour that primary caregivers use to interact with their children" (Mohamad, et al., 2011, p. 1280).

According to Baumrind's classification, parents were divided into four categories on the basis of the two dimensions of (i) control or demandingness and (ii) warmth or responsiveness (Martin and Colbert, 1997). High parental warmth or responsiveness refers to how accepting, responsive or affectionate and always encourage children and try to see things from the children' perspectives. High parental control or demandingness refers to the establishment of high standards and expectations for children and always monitor children behavior so that they are following the rules (Martin and Colbert, 1997). Four different types of parenting styles that have been suggested by baumrind are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and rejecting, where it differ in the amount of nurturing (or warmth) a child receives and the extent to which a child's activities and behavior are controlled (Baumrind, 1991). The rejecting parenting style was not included in the present study because of the extremely low percentage of rejecting parenting style among parents (Shaffer, 2001 and Kang & Moore, 2011). The three types of parenting styles suggested are:

(i) Authoritarian parenting portrays high in control but low in warmth where parents attempts to shape, control and evaluate child's attitude and behaviours according to a set of standards. As a results, it can cause a poor fit between the individual and the chosen career (Kerka, 2000). In Greece, Koumoundourou and friends (2011) had found that authoritarian parenting style has negatively affect adolescent's career decision making. In Turkey, research has shown that parents' strict and controlled attitude has lead to the decreased of children's self-esteem. The experiences of adolescents with their parents, especially with their mothers, play an important role in the development of adolescents. (Aslan, 2011). In a study on the relationship between parenting styles and parental beliefs, Colpan et al. (2002) found that children of authoritarian parents tend to have low self esteem and lack spontaneity. However, Lease & Dahbeck (2009) report an opposite results where the authoritarian parenting style has no relationship with career decision making.

(ii) Authoritative has been viewed as highly demanding and responsive (Darling, 2000). This type of parents are labeled as warm, attempt to direct the behaviour of their children by giving the rationale behind their rules and actions. They relies primarily on positive reinforcement rather than punishment besides respecting for the children's viewpoints. This has result in more active career exploration on the part of children (Kerka, 2000).

(iii) Permissive parenting are high on warmth but low in control. They tolerant and accepting toward the child's impulses, use as little punishment as possible, make few demands for mature behavior, and allow considerable self-regulation by the child (Baumrind, 1989). This parenting style typically has linked with poorer and immature child outcomes (Dornburch, et al., 1987; Way and Rossmann, 1996; Kracke, 1997; Darling, 1999; Anderson & Sabatelli, 2007). This style of parenting appears unsuccessful in enabling children to develop self-directing abilities that underlie academic success (Diaz, 2005). "Families with uninvolved parents seem unable to function well because they cannot set guidelines and do not pursue interests that involve places and persons outside the family. This has makes it more difficult for children to develop self-knowledge and differentiate their own career goals from their parents' goals" (Kerka, 2000, p. 2).

Darling & Steinburn (1993) stated that parents may differ in how they try to control or socialize their children and the extent to which they do so, it is assumed that the primary role of all parents is to influence, teach and control their children (cited in Anderson & Sabatelli, 2007). Parenting style has been found to predict child well-being in the domains of social competence, psychosocial development, instrumental competence and problem behavior (Anderson Anderson & Sabatelli, 2007). (Refer to Figure 1 for the research framework).

Culture and Parenting Styles

Culture is theorized to afford different meaning to behaviors (e.g., parenting) and has different effects on children and adolescents across different cultures (Keshavaz and Rosmah, 2009). For instance, it is known that behavioral control is related to the positive outcome of Korean adolescents and they perceive it as parental warmth and acceptance. In contrast, European American adolescents perceive behavioral control as the negative indices of parenting (Kim, 2005). Culture constitutes a strong factor in structuring parental practices because it can transmit guidelines about parenting. Chao (1994) has challenged the typology of Baumrind when applied to Chinese families. She claimed that authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive constructs are derived from Western culture. Chao proposed a typology that reflects Confucian parenting. According to her thesis, optimal parenting is characterized by close involvement with the child, devotion and willingness to make sacrifices for the child's wellbeing, and family-based control that is seen as supportive by both children and parents(Chao & Sue, 1996). Tang (2002) examined family influences on the career choices of Chinese, Asian Americans, and Caucasian Americans. Tang found that Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans were more likely to compromise on a career choice with their parents, as compared to the Chinese participants, who tended to yield more to their parents' choice. In addition, a discrepancy was shown between participants' ideal choice and actual career choice. Consistent with Park and Harrison's findings (1995), Asian Americans' career choices were distributed in a more balanced manner when they were asked to choose an occupation assuming they had no limitations.

Career Maturity and Parenting Styles

Super (1953) emphasized that cultural factors including race and socioeconomic status, among others, could have an impact on career maturity (Lawrence & Brown, 1976). In an attempt to establish the portability of the construct career maturity across different cultures, studies have been conducted in different countries such as Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, Portugal, and Puerto Rico (see Naidoo, 1998 for a review and list of references of studies conducted in these countries).

Cultures differ in the extent to which they value autonomy versus interdependence in adulthood (Kagiticibasi, 1996). This leads to variations in socialization goals (LeVine, 1974) and, in turn, child-rearing practices. Indeed, the concept of authoritarian parenting may be ethnocentric and may not accurately reflect the parenting practices of diverse cultural groups (Gorman, 1998). Because an authoritarian parenting style is linked to a greater reliance on external sets of standards to evaluate behavior, it is often associated with collectivist cultures (Gorman, 1998).

Research Framework

Independent Variables Dependent Variable



Career Maturity

Authoritative Parenting Styles:



Figure 1: The Research Framework of The Influence of Parenting Styles on Students' Career Maturity

Study conducted by Azizi and Kamaliah has shown that more than 50% of the children obtained excellent results from the parents who practices authoritative style and they have concluded that the most effective style in context of student's achievement is authoritative style. Another study conducted in Malaysia as reported that the most dominant parenting styles practice by parents was authoritative followed by permissive and authoritarian (Azizi, Yusof and Kamaliah, 2010). This study has been supported by Othman dan Normalina (2010) dan Enggen dan Kauchak (1994) where they also have concluded that parenting styles practice by Malaysia parents was authoritative and this style has contributed to children academic achievement and also increases the confidence level of the children.

This study hypothesized that adolescents perceive fathers as authoritarian relative to mothers but was not supported by the results. Nevertheless, present analysis was congruent with Ong's study (2000) in Singapore which discovered fathers being less strict and harsh as expected whereas mothers were relatively stricter and controlling. Elias and Tan (2009) also performed a study on Malaysian youths and found that both fathers and mothers were being perceived as authoritative.

Parenting Styles by Malay Parents

A study conducted by Johari (2009) in Malaysia has discovered that Malay children's school achievement was influenced positively with authoritative parenting style while authoritarian parenting style was negatively impact children 's school achievement. Another research by Habibah and Tan (2009) found that students perceived their paternal and maternal parenting style were similar as authoritative, followed by authoritarian, and permissive. The findings also reported that the relationship between perceived paternal and maternal parenting style and students' academic achievement were not significant. Johari and friends (2011) have different finding on parenting style of Malay mothers and fathers. They found that both Malay mothers and fathers employed authoritative style stronger to daughters and lower to their sons and at the same time employed more authoritarian style to their boys and less authoritarian to their daughters. The same phenomenon also found by other researchers (e.g. Hoffman, 1976, 1988, Gottfried, Gottfried & Bathurst, 1988).

Education level also one of the factor in influencing the way of parents' rearing their children. Amla and friends (2010) have found that parents with low level of education tend to be more 'tradition' where father will apply more authoritarian style by showing more authority to the children while mother will be the middle person in communication between father and children. In the Singapore sample, Malay adolescents who perceived their mothers to be authoritarian also had better adjustment on attitude to school. These Malay adolescents were as adaptive and well-adjusted on attitude to school as Malay adolescents who perceived their mothers to be authoritative. This could possibly because control, care and concern are almost synonymous within the Asian culture (Ang, 2005). A study conducted by Zahyah (2004) reported a contrary results where both Malay parents are perceived as being low in demandingness but high in responsiveness. Mothers are being rated lower in demandingness and higher in responsiveness compared to fathers. In terms of parenting style, both parents are perceived as being permissive.

Parenting Styles by Chinese Parents

Chinese students have been exposed to the influence of Western culture in a more direct way and their response to modern trends has been most vivid. Many of these young people try to apply their new ideas immediately in their homes and in their school activities. However, they are in dilemma with the tradition where the values and rules are too rigid and difficult to adapt in current modernization society. Okubo and Y., Yeh, C.J., Lin, P., Fujita, K., & Shea, J.M. (2007) concluded in their study that parents' career expectations will influenced Chinese youth career decision.

In China, parents believe that strict discipline is needed to educate children in the spirit of obedience and virtue Chinese. Based on of the study in China has stated that "Children should not be spoiled. Parents should not show their affection too much," said one of the informants in the study conducted by Lang in 1968. Another informant stated that: "Just to hear the voice of my father was enough to make me comply with his wishes," said a student from Changsa. Chinese parents believe that very young children are not yet capable of 'understanding,' and are therefore indulgent towards them. However, when a child reaches the 'age of understanding' or dongshi, strict discipline is enforced (Ho, 1986). In Confucian thought, the environment is considered the most important influence on child development (Wu, 1996). Parents are advised to provide the best possible environment for raising children.

Chao's work (1994, 1996) suggests that the meaning and form of parental control is different in Chinese and American families and maintains that the context and manner in which parental will is exercised is very important. When control is exerted in a loving family context it may not result in the same negative outcomes as restrictive, domineering control. Dornbusch et al. (1987), however, found that although authoritarian parenting was negatively related to academic achievement in Euro-American adolescents, this was not the case for ethnic Chinese students. Researchers working with Chinese populations have proposed interpretations of these findings. For example, Chao (1994) suggests that the concept of 'authoritarian' parenting may not be relevant for Chinese culture. She notes that, although Chinese parents are controlling, this control takes place in a family context, which is supportive and loving. Besides, she also stated that "The subordinate member is required to display loyalty and respect to the senior member, who is required to responsibly and justly govern, teach and discipline the younger members" (Chao, 1994, p. 1113). Chao (1994) developed an alternative measure of parenting, training, which is more culturally relevant for Chinese populations, and found that Chinese mothers scored higher on both authoritarian and training parenting dimensions. Study in Malaysia has found that Chinese parents did not practice authoritarian parenting alone but the they have included authoritative parenting as well involving values and tradition (Zainah et al., 2003). So, all the findings in China and American Chinese have raises the question that whether Malaysian Chinese parents also inculcating authoritative parenting style and it has contribute to career maturity of their children.

Parenting Styles by Indian Parents

In Indian thought, childhood is considered a carefree period. The child is thought to be innocent and cast in God's image. Kakar (1981) has argued that this view of the nature of the child an innocent being who is a gift of the Gods, to be welcomed and indulged for the first few years is so deeply rooted in the Hindu world view that it affects every aspect of a child's relationship with his/her parents. Ayurvedic theory describes child development as falling into five stages, with major rites and rituals signifying transitions from one stage to another. Elaborate guidelines are provided for child-rearing and education and the child is not considered culpable until late childhood, as late as 10 years of age (Kakar, 1980; Saraswathi and Pai, 1997; Sinha, 1997).

The issue of parental warmth (acceptance) versus hostility (rejection) is not typically seen as pertinent for Indian parent-child interactions because of the uniformly positive valence associated with children in this culture (Kakar, 1980). However, this supposition may be based on the nature of parent-son relations since in some families, girls do face hostility and rejection (Saraswathi and Pai, 1997). the extant literature on Indian socialization suggests that child-rearing practices vary as a function of age and gender of children, as well as socio-economic status, religiosity, and residence (urban versus rural) of the family ( Saraswathi and Dutta, 1988; Saraswathi and Kaur, 1993). The same as to Malay family, parenting style practice by parents are different according to the gender of the children. Lawrence and Brown (1976), depicted that sex as a factor associated with career maturity operates differentially in different cultures. Under Indian cultural set up, the pattern of socialization for males and females is different. In India, during the child rearing a male student is expected to choose a suitable career for his future whereas for females marriage is expected to be of their primary concern. It is because of this fact, the males displayed greater career maturity than the females.

Jambunathan and Counselman (2002) found Asian Indian mothers living in the United States to have more authoritative parenting styles while Asian Indian mothers living in India had more authoritarian styles. Rajinder Grover (1966) and Mehta (1969) found that the male students want to pursue an occupation that is difference from the parental preferences and occupation. Middle-class families in Delhi follow a cultural model of autonomous-relatedness (Keller et al. 2005, 2010; Keller 2007). While Indian urban middle class families, for instance, have been described as taking over western ideologies of parenting, granting children increasingly freedom to follow their own ideas, the social climate in which Indian middle-class children develop remains characterized by intense social relationships and interconnectedness with the family and other people (Chaudhary, 2004). The importance of compliance and social appropriateness of conduct are prevalent even in adolescence (Chaudhary, 2004).

Career Maturity and Gender

Super (1990) states that girls tend to score slightly higher than boys on measures of career maturity, a finding supported by Hartung (1997) and Taveira, Silva Rodriguex, and Maia (1998) in Sharf, 2002. In the last 20 years more research has been done to explore potential differences in men's and women's career maturity attitudes and little doubt exists that gender is an important variable in college students' career maturity and development (Constantine & Greer, 2003 and Luzzo, 1995). Luzzo (1995) found that although female college students scored significantly higher than male students on three career development scales (career maturity attitudes, career decision-making, and vocational congruence), they were much more likely than males to mention role conflicts and barriers to their career development.

Additionally, Luzzo (1995) found that undergraduate women were much more planned in the career decision making process than were men, which supports Swanson and Tokar's (1991) suggestion that college students recognize various environmental constraints to their career aspirations. Powell and Luzzo (1998) reported that males between the ages of 15 and 19 believed that they had more control over their career decision making than did women of comparable ages. According to Mona (n.d) girls made a more realistic appraisal of themselves, possessed more career related information, and solving problems related to career decision making compare to boys. Generally, research findings demonstrate that females, across age and national context, have higher scores on career maturity measures than males (Luzzo, 1995; Rojewski, Wicklein, & Schell, 1995). However there are also studies showing that boys have higher career maturity than girls. One of the research conducted by Hassan (2009) has supported the statement that boys show higher career maturity than girl. In Nigeria (Achebe, 1982) and in India (Gupta, 1987) also found that boys have higher career maturity compare to girls. Surprisingly, Kelly and Colangelo (1990) and Watson et al. (1995) failed to find any significant gender difference in career maturity. Levine and Cureton (1998) suggest that real differences exist between students and that there are great divides by gender but even bigger and more dramatic differences by race.


Researcher has acknowledge that very little still known about the career maturity of multi ethnicity groups (Malay, Chinese and Indian students) in Malaysia. This gap in the current research exists a need for effective career counseling services by different ethnicity students. Results of multi ethnicity country have indicates that career choices made by students are influenced by individual (own career interests, choices and values) besides having into account, societal level where family play an important roles in influencing one's career development, occupational stereotyping and discrimination and work adjustment issue (Leong and Serafica, 1995).

A key goal of parenting was to teach their children certain personel qualities that contribute to the formation of character. These personal qualities were part of the mothers' internalized cultural value system and hence were meaningful to them. Included in these personal qualities were respect for elders, modesty, humility, hard work, persistence, perseverance, and having a disciplined life, which, from their perspective, was most likely to be attained through adherence to religion, as the following comments illustrate: We have to teach them our discipline, our culture, and respect for the elders. Only then they will go far in the world (Sarah Maiter and Usha George, 2003). More than any other factor, family and culture continue to be cited as the two major influences on the career majority by students of minorities (Leong and Serafica, 1995).

Baumrind's (1971) parenting typology is most widely use in the studies of parenting. However, the parenting typology may not be applicable in Malaysian setting. According to Kim and Wong (2002), when examining the parents' style of parenting, many studies often used the concepts and measures from the Western cultures even though Asian cultures constitute approximately 60% of the world's population (Kim & Wong, 2002). After all, it is clear that under Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnicity set up parenting styles as a determinant of career maturity might operate differently than the western countries. Thus, there is a need to re-examine and understand parenting practices in Malaysia cultures and its impact on children career maturity.