Theories Influencing Parental Involvement

Published: 2019-09-13 22:13:21
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It is of essence for parents to be actively involved in bringing up their children. This is because they are closer to their children, and by fully involving themselves with their children, they are able to understand the challenges these children face; hence they can guide them through. Consequently, there are several advanced perspectives, which have been used to examine the parental involvement, in their childrens lives. These include; the ecological perspective (Fletcher 2006) the separation theory perspective (Powell, 1991), the overlapping spheres perspective and parenting styles perspective (Baumrind, 1978).

The ecological theory advocates that the school and family are interrelated and that parents represent the natural link to the community and that the action of one impacts the action of the other. Separation theory advocates that each entity, family, school, and community have separate roles and responsibilities in the development of children. In this perspective, teachers are regarded as experts, and parents are seen as non-experts (Powell, 1991). The Overlapping Spheres Theory advocates an overlap between family and school depending on the demographic characteristics of the child, the level academic attainment at the time of the inquiry and the background experience and philosophy of the family. In 1992, Epstein added a third sphere, community, to the theory. The parenting styles theory advocates that in parenting a child, parents adopt a certain style or combination of styles that determine the interaction between the parenting and the child (Baumrind, 1971). These styles depend on whether the parents are more or less demanding and more or less responsive to their children. Baumrind (1971).

Subsequently, there are three main parenting styles, namely authoritative, authoritarian and permissive. The authoritative parents are compassionate and open and considerate of their childrens thoughts and feelings and as a result provide the necessary guidance, direction. They also provide support to their children and they are characterized by high demands and great warmth. Authoritarian parents are insensitive and tough. They usually expect total obedience from their children and are characterized by high demands and low warmth; Permissive parents fail to wrest discipline and are receptive to their childrens demands. Their children make their own decisions in social undertakings (Baumrind, 1971). They are described by low demands and high warmth. Parenting styles theory is renowned for its significance in understanding childrens development. Gfroerer, Kern, & Curlette, 2004) argues that in 1967 Baumrind examined 124 preschool and older children in Berkeley, California in 1967 and found seven parenting styles including authoritative, democratic, authoritarian, directive, nondirective, unengaged, and good enough which resulted in an aggregation of three main patterns of interaction between the parent and the child; authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive (Ang & Goh, 2006; Baumrind, 1970, 1971). In her later studies, Baurmind explored and added a fourth pattern of parenting - , neglectful parenting (Baumrind, 1991) also referred to as uninvolved parenting (Maccoby and Martin, 1983). The basis of parenting styles according to Baumrind (1991) focused on two dimensions parental demandingness and parental responsiveness.

(Baumrind 1991) describes parental responsiveness as the level of parents emotional response to their childrens needs. Sometimes the response is seen as supportive, full of warmth, and acceptance. On the other hand, (Baumrind 1991), describes parental demandingness as the parents expectation of more mature and responsible behavior from their children, sometimes seen as control of the child (Rohner, 1998). Demandingness and responsiveness are positive constructs. If parents are not responsive to their children they may feel misunderstood and rejected. If there is no good parent response, children may do as they please, become indiscipline and do not learn the skills of self-direction and self-management that are critical to economic success in the contemporary post-industrial context. The relationship between the two dimensions and the four parenting styles are represented graphically in Figure 2.1

Figure 2.1 Responsiveness and Demandingness


Researchers argue that Baumrind typology of parenting style was developed based on her own western orientation is, therefore, best suited for studies conducted in western countries like the United States of America (Banghdaserians, 2010). However, researchers worldwide have also employed Baumrind typology Assadi et al. (2007), Dwairy (2010, 2008, 2006a), Greenspan, 2006, Hoeve et al, (2009) and Zarnaghash and Samani (2010).in their studies on parenting styles. The researcher, therefore, suggests that Baumrinds parenting style typology is suitable for describing parenting styles beyond western cultures and is, therefore, the suitable typology for the theoretical foundation for the study of parenting styles in Trinidad and Tobago. Baumrind`s work is important to the current study because her approach has directed much of the scholastic thought on the link between parenting and child outcomes. The next sections will elaborate on these descriptions.

4.1 Authoritative Parenting Style

This section will describe authoritative parenting style which according to Greenspan (2006) is a hybrid of the most significant elements of the authoritarian parenting style (high control) with the most significant elements of the permissive parenting style (high warmth) The qualities of the authoritative parenting style are responsive, supportive, demanding and guidance (Baumrind, 1966, 1971).

Parents with an authoritative parenting style show high support and high control toward their children (Baumrind, 1996). They are sensitive to their feelings and guide them through self- regulation. They collaborate and participate in their childrens activities that help them to build the requisite problem-solving skills (Baumrind, 1966). Darling and Steinberg (1993) theorize that these parents display warmth, responsiveness, and are emotionally supportive of their children with reciprocity in communication which in turn creates satisfying interactions between the parent and the child. The authoritative parent expects a lot from their child, demand respect but is willing to compromise and negotiate to meet the needs of the child (Flannery, 2006). The Authoritative parent inspires his child towards independence and self-identity but provides rules and boundaries for their children which according to Timpano et al., 2010, the children follow consistently follow. These rules and boundaries are clearly communicated to the child and are set consistent with the developmental stage of the child. The authoritative parent openly discusses problems with their children (Baumrind, 1978; 1991) and treats them with respect advancing reasons for reward as well as punishment. This means that although children are punished for inappropriate behaviors that authoritative parents use of supportive rather than punitive methods while maintaining assertiveness.

Authoritative parents are eager to see their children perform well socially and academically. Therefore, these parents invest their time and attention to attend to these needs (Moonie 2005). In turn, these children internalize the rules, limitations and the values set by their parents not out of fear and anxiety but out of sense and judgment. Children of authoritative parents are self-regulating, self-confident and conscientious. They make responsible decisions. They are adept and demonstrate age appropriate social competence. The children of authoritative parents are well-balanced and self-assured and are less likely than children raised under different parenting styles to be rebellious at adolescence (Douglas, 2004). They respect their peers, and are better able to cope with the anxieties of adolescence and participate in less risky behavior.

Recent researches have showed that positive behavior outcomes manifest themselves when children are nurtured by the authoritative parent (Furnham & Cheng, 2000) found that the stresses experienced by children tend to decrease under the guidance of an authoritative parent as children are likely to feel more respected and appreciated. Taken together, the research regarding parenting style suggests that an authoritative parenting style which combines warmth and support elements is mostly likely to fulfill a childs developmental needs and to develop psychological wellness among children (Slicker,1998). Baumrind (1996) found that the positive influences of authoritative parenting exist across gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family structure and time. Baumrind (1991) argues that the authoritative parenting style is the style most likely to guide the child towards a happy, successful and well-adjusted life and that the ideal parent lies somewhere at the crossroads of being responsive and demanding.

4.2 Authoritarian Parenting Style

This section will describe authoritarian parenting styles. Hoeve et al. (2009) and Couchenour & Christman, 2011 suggested that authoritarian parents show low responsiveness and warmth but high control toward their children. They are obedience-oriented. According to Baumrind (1966, 1971), authoritarian parents attempt to shape, control and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of their children according to a set of principles they provide. The parents tend to be conservative and strict. The children are given little choice and have to follow parents orders (Gfroerer et al., 2004). Parents have expectations, and children are not allowed to disobey their parents (Kim & Rohner, 2002; Takeuchi & Takeuchi, 2008).

Authoritarian parents make all the decisions for their children without advancing any reasons for their decision making (Crosser, 2005). They believe that they know what is best for the child and considers their views to be superior to that of the child (Lao, 2008). They lack flexibility and are therefore unable to determine the needs of one child over the other (Moonie, 2005. The interactions between authoritarian parents and their children are one-sided, with children responding to the demands of the parents. Communication is also one-way in the form of instructions handed down from parent to child (Crosser, 2005). This one-way communication does not give children freedom to express their needs and understand the reasons for the parents expectations. When children of authoritarian children attempt to make decisions for themselves they are often discouraged and are encouraged to make decisions consistent with the values and beliefs of the parents.

Authoritarian parents use punishment and use it frequently, to exact obedience from their children (Kay 2006). They are restraining, strict and punitive. Crosser, 2005 describes the consequences for disobeying the authoritarian parent is harsh and children obey rules out of fear of punishment (Douglas, 2004). Punishment may be either physical or emotional. (Marsiglia et al. 2007). Additionally, children of authoritarian parents mostly hide their peer relationships from their parents. Consequently, parents do not know who their friends are and therefore are unable to know the way the child actually behaves outside the home. Authoritarian parents monitor their children as an attempt to manage or control their behavior (Barber, 1996). This is what makes authoritarian parents involve themselves in making the decisions for their children and this involvement tends...


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