Parents play a very critical role when it comes to socializing the children to what they become in future. The earliest form agent of socialization is the family and this is also the most influential. The family starts socializing the child from birth, when the child has not developed any form of socialization. The child internalizes the information they come across within the family environment through interactions with parents, role modeling and also reinforcement of behaviors that are desirable through parental approval and disapproval. Parental socialization is very important because it is the foundation of all civil behavior because it is in the family where children learn behaviors like language, body and emotional control, rules of public conduct and moral values. Besides a person’s future self esteem, emotional health and personality are shaped early enough by parents.
Parenting Style and Its Correlates
The article focuses on the two critical elements of parenting which are parental responsiveness and demanandigness (Darling, 1999). According to her, since the turn of the 20th century developmental psychologists have been interested in how the children’s social and instrumental development has been influenced by parents. She explores different parenting styles which she has categorized on whether parents belong to the low or high level range when it comes to parental responsiveness and demandingness. These four types of parenting styles include indulgent, authoritarian, authoritative and uninvolved (2).
Darling defines parenting as a complex activity whereby different behavior patterns work together to influence how a child will be in future. Thus, it is not possible to look at a specific child’s behavior in isolation as influencing a child’s overall well being. Responsiveness as a parental style has to do with those parents who are warm and supportive and shows the extent through which parents deliberately foster individual development, self –assertion and self-regulation of their children by attuning, supporting and being acquiescent to the special needs and demands of their children (Erikson, 1985). On the other hand, parental demandingness has to do with controlling the behavior of the children to make them integrate in the family through supervision, disciplinary efforts, demanding them to be mature and confronting the children when they disobey (Barber, 1996).
The different parenting styles are as a result of patterns of parental and practices values that occur naturally and a balance of the responsiveness and demandingness. Indulgent parents are those who are permissive or nondirective and their way of parenting is more responsive. Their approach to parenting is nontraditional and lenient mature behavior is not required and it focuses more on self-regulation and a conscientious committed approach to the children. On the other hand, authoritarian parents approach to parenting is highly demanding and directive and is not responsive (Klein, 1984). To them, they expect their children to be obedient and expect them to obey rules without explanation. There are clearly stated rules some of these parents’ ways of parenting can border intrusive and autocratic, while others are less authoritative. Authoritative parents use an approach that is demanding and responsive. They monitor their children’s conduct and impart standards that are clear. Their approach is more assertive and less intrusive and they apply disciplinary methods that are more supportive and less castigatory. Finally, uninvolved parents are low when it comes to responsiveness and demandingness. Their style in most extreme cases might include parents who reject and neglect their children, but most parents in this category seem to fall within the normal range.
She concludes that each type of parenting styles leads to different outcomes in children. How a child develops social competence, academic skills and psychosocial development is highly correlated to how they were parented. For example, children of parents who are authoritative grow up to develop better social and instrumental competencies as compared to those parents whose approach is not authoritative. Also, children who grow up with parents who are uninvolved perform poorly in most areas of their life.
My parents’ style of parenting was authoritarian. They expected us children to obey the rules they had set without asking questions. For example, it was mandatory that after school, we finish all our homework before doing anything else like going out to play. Not doing that would lead to strict punishment and being grounded. They were very strict on the kind of people we related with and did not want us to socialize with other children whom they thought would be bad influences to our character. This type of parenting played a key role in how we were socialized in our family. As I grew up, I came to appreciate the importance of discipline in everyday life. However, I had difficulties during my adolescence since the kind of parenting did not impart me with effective communication skills and had problems interacting with my fellow teens. Nonetheless, I was able to overcome with time.
The type of parenting styles in families serves an effective way of predicting how a child will grow up and behave in future. Parental socialization is very important because it is it enables children to develop certain competencies that have a big bearing on their future lives. Each type of parenting serves an important role in a child’s life, whether it is responsiveness or demandngness. Thus, the important thing is how to find the balance that will enable a child to grow up and become a better socialized person in future.
Barber, B. (1996). Parental psychological control: Revisiting a neglected construct. Child Development, 67(5), 3297-3318.
Darling, N (1999). Parenting Style and Its Correlates. Chicago: ERIC Publications.
Erikson, E. (1985). Childhood and society. 35th anniversary ed. New York: W.W. Norto
Klein, M. (1984). The Psychoanalysis of Children. London: Hogarth