Is parenting really significant? Does parenting have a positive impact on a child’s life? One may wonder if his or her parenting style has effectively influenced his or her child’s complete development. This paper probes the effects of parenting styles on a child’s development. A child’s holistic development, specifically psychological and cognitive developments, may be affected by multiple factors. These factors may be biological and environmental, which includes culture, family and more significantly parenting styles. Parenting styles used, though not solitary effects, expend an absolute impact on the child’s future. According to Baumrind (1971), there are three parenting styles namely authoritative – that is demanding and responsive, authoritarian – that is demanding and unresponsive and permissive – that is responsive but undemanding. Uninvolved parenting – unresponsive and undemanding has been recognized as a fourth style. It is important to give your child autonomy and nurture despite the parenting style used by parents, thus these parenting styles mould a child’s development. Parenting styles such as authoritative and uninvolved influence a child’s cognitive and psychological development.
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Every child’s cognitive development is impacted by his or her parent’s parenting style. Cognition pertains to the intellectual process by obtaining knowledge. According to Bjorklund (1989), “Cognition involves mental activity of all types. It includes activity that is geared toward acquiring, understanding and modifying informationâ€¦” (p.4). According to Piaget, children actively construct knowledge by four stages – sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete and formal as they control and explore their world. It is necessary for parents to be cognizant of the effects of parenting styles used have on a child’s cognition. Berk (2009) stated that, “Authoritative child – rearing style – the most successful approach – involves high acceptance and involvement, adaptive control techniques, and appropriate autonomy granting” (p.569). Authoritative parents are affectionate, attentive and receptive to their offspring’s wants, yet they implement firm, rational control and are demanding. They encourage their child to be independent and make decisions in areas where he or she is ready to make choices. They also engage in joint decision making, when parent and child might disagree, and discussions, thus listening to child’s perspective and also provide sensible guidance. A child’s cognitive development is optimum for independence and decision making skills when experiencing positive and maximum parental support. Hence, an authoritative parent is said to be highly involved in a child’s development, offering positive and maximum parental support and encouraging the development of an identity. According to Berk (2009), a child reared by the authoritative parenting style exhibits high self esteem, self control and task persistence. In regards to a child who has high self esteem, positive values and beliefs from the parents are passed on because of their high involvement in the offspring’s life. For example, the importance of these parental beliefs and positive values are adopted from family discussions and family rules and practices. These parents also have an adaptive control technique system which allows the child to make decisions when ready, though they encourage independence. Research has shown that children reared by authoritative parents have great academic success because the parents are highly involved in all aspects of their lives and particularly, their academic achievements. For examples, authoritative parents will praise their children for striving; help them with the difficulties in their school work and encourage them to do their best. Children given this positive and maximum parental support believe that have the competence to succeed in life.
The different areas of a child’s development are interconnected and influence one another. Psychological development, defined by Encyclopedia Britannica, refers to the emotional and social competence and operation of one’s life span. Authoritative parents are demanding thus have high hopes and expectations for their children. Benson & Hiath (2009) postulates that “Children of authoritative parents exhibit low amount of internalizing behaviour such as depression and anxiety and externalizing behaviour such as antisocial behaviour and substance use” (p.290). In essence, offspring of these parents are more socially and instrumentally competent than children reared by other parenting styles. Authoritative parents as defined previously are involved in all aspects of the child’s life thus showing interest in their child’s social life too; knowing about their child’s friends and having keen scrutiny about the friends the child keep. Therefore, their children will be less likely to be antisocial in behaviour because of their high autonomy granting and involvement in the child’s life. It is important to note that though these parents are involved in the child’s social life, they do not dictate the type of friends the child should keep. Instead, they provide good advice and allow the child to make his or her decision. Benson & Hiath further states that, “Children of authoritative parents are better equipped to cope with life stresses and less likely to succumb to peer pressure, due to the competencies authoritative parents have instilled” (p.290). Based on research presented, it can be concluded that authoritative parenting has a positive impact on a child’s complete development.
On the other hand, a child’s cognitive and psychological developments are also influenced by uninvolved parenting. Unlike the authoritative parent, Benson & Hiath (2009) believes “the indifferent parent is not dedicated to parenting roles and is disinterested in helping foster optimal development of the child” (p.283). The uninvolved parent is said to have little or no involvement in their child’s development thus the child is likely to have less interest in his or her own development. These parents have either despised their children or probably do not have the time or energy to take care of them because they have their own life problems and stress to deal with. In contrast to authoritative parenting, children reared by the uninvolved parenting style display poor emotional control and low self-esteem. The child of these parents is likely to have low self – esteem as well as poor school performance because he or she feels unloved and unwanted by their parents due to their low acceptance and involvement in child’s life, losing confidence in him or herself. For example, a parent who is parentally stressed and shows no interest in the child’s academic achievement will not encourage the child to develop academically. Hence, when given home work and need the parent’s guidance and support, there is none thus resulting in poor academic performance. Additionally, the child is likely to have difficulties making decisions and expressing views effectively because the uninvolved parents are indifferent to the child’s decision making and perspective.
Uninvolved parents are undemanding – showing little control. A child who feels neglected by his or her parents is likely to have a deficit in his or her psychological development. The child of an uninvolved parent may have behavioural problem such as antisocial behaviours and substance use. This is so because the parent – child relationship is poor and so the child is emotionally detached and withdrawn. Due to the lack of positive guidance – no parental values, beliefs and expectations – the child may be lead by the wrong type of friends and as a result find him or herself in a destructive path. For example, a parent who is uninvolved in their child’s social life, sets no expectations has allowed their child to do as they please and search for affection and attention in the wrong place. Studies have also shown that uninvolved parenting, unlike authoritative parenting, has a negative impact on a child’s holistic development.
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From a biblical perspective, a parent should train up a child in the way he or she should go, so when he is old he or she will not depart from it. Many research have concluded that parenting plays a minor role in the development of a child – that their impact are overshadowed by the effects of genetic make up and peer culture. Despite such claims it is revealed that parenting styles, though not the only influence, wield great effect on a child’s development. Based on previous studies, it is believed that authoritative parenting has the most positive influence on a child’s entire development while uninvolved parenting has the most negative impact. It is believed that some parents use more than one parenting style in the upbringing of there child, therefore it would be a great idea for uninvolved parents to strive to adapt some values of authoritative to allow the child to develop autonomy, confidence and maturity.
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