What are parenting styles

Definition of parenting styles and their effects

The birth of a child confronts parents with a major task, usually for a lifetime, because at the latest then mother and father reflect on their own childhood, exchange memories and often determine what they consider “good” or “bad” in their upbringing their own parents and the environment felt in retrospect. There is often talk of so-called “strict upbringing” or, in contrast, the somewhat more casual upbringing, often also referred to as “anti-authoritarian”.

But on what situations and on what circumstances are these opinions based? Were there approaches of different styles of upbringing that were mixed up with one another, or was it brought up exclusively according to one pattern? Who was responsible for it anyway and how can we best do it?

For many parents, the question arises early on as to when the child's upbringing should actually begin and which methods are best suited for this. The following guide is intended to provide an overview.

What is upbringing?

The term “education” is defined similarly in many works.
The True Foreign Word Dictionary says:

"Upbringing is the planned and targeted influence on young people in order to shape them mentally, morally and physically with all their abilities and powers and to train them to become responsible personalities with a solid character." Source: Wahrig, Fremdwörterbuch 2009

It should be noted here that upbringing is not only carried out by parents, but also by other educational institutions. These include day-care centers, schools, other social institutions of various providers (church parishes, sports clubs, etc.), but also relatives and friends of the family shape a child through various activities and influences.

Nevertheless, no connections between “good” and “correct” upbringing and their “successes” can be established at this point. Upbringing and its goals are always to be viewed as individual, based on the experience, knowledge and skills of the parent and educated person.

What is the parenting style?

Research on parenting styles is considered a branch of socialization research. Parenting styles contain characteristic bundles of basic behavioral patterns and attitudes that the parenting child reveals during the parenting process. For each and every parent, these attitudes are rated as quite stable.

In this way, different behavioral patterns can be recognized within the parenting styles. The upbringing can therefore be demanding or undemanding, consistent or indulgent, skeptical or optimistic, aggressive or friendly, self-centered or emphatic as well as rejecting or responsive and conveys basic educational attitudes. Behind this, for example, is an authoritarian, pampering, authoritative, permissive or neglecting upbringing.

Parenting styles should also be the main topic of this guide.

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What is an educational concept?

However, parenting styles must be clearly distinguished from parenting concepts. Educational concepts are also known as educational philosophies and contain intentional elements such as educational models and ideals as well as norms and goals. Among other things, education in the Christian, Marxist or anti-authoritarian sense is one of the educational concepts.

"Relationship related to parenting"

Depending on the relationship between the educator and the child and what personality structures they have, on the one hand the style of upbringing and on the other hand its effects are influenced accordingly. The relationship that a child has with a person or group of people largely determines what effects their parenting behavior has on the child. On the other hand, the parenting behavior of the educating person is in turn influenced by the network of relationships in which they find themselves. In particular, the lifestyle and the experiences of the educators play a decisive role. It has been proven that the style of upbringing experienced in the family of origin has an impact on the later, individual style of upbringing.

In addition to the role model effect of one's own family members and experiences in daycare and school with specific educational goals, the class affiliation of the family, the individual social environment, the family constellation and the overall social and cultural situation in which the child to be brought up find themselves play an essential role in Application and impact of parenting style.

What are the parenting styles?

In the history of parenting style research, a distinction is made between two types of parenting styles: On the one hand, there are typological concepts (including from Lewin, Spranger and Baumrind) and dimensioned concepts (including exchange / exchange).

Typological concepts

Styles according to Lewin

The social psychologist Kurt Lewin is considered to be the founder of research on the style of parenting. In the 1930s, together with Ronald Lippit and Ralph White in the United States of America, he developed a typological concept with the help of some field experiments regarding the effects of different leadership styles on the performance behavior of young people. This gave rise to a tradition of typological concepts that served as the basis for classifying styles of upbringing and was regarded as the standard until the 1970s.

Lewin distinguishes between three leadership styles:

1. Authoritarian behaviors
The group leader alone determines all activities of a group. About sixty percent of his / her job consists of giving commands and orders. He / she maintains a great distance from the group, his / her behavior is characterized by impersonality, he / she is not particularly affectionate and friendly, and often praises and criticizes personally. Negative measures are part of everyday life;especially threats, punishments and intimidation play a large part here.

2. Democratic behaviors
The group leaderdiscusses goals and decisions with the group regarding the activities. He / she supports, motivates and encourages all group members, brings praise and criticism in a factual and constructive way, with praise predominating. Problems are discussed objectively, the group leader offers several possible solutions and lets the group decide.

3. Laissez-faire behavior
A group leader often does not appear. If so, thenhe / she does not participate in group decisions. Such groups often seem haphazard and not very ambitious. When problems arise, irritability and aggression arise, which are often discharged in other group members. The group leader is friendly, but largely neutral. A corresponding upbringing runs according to the motto: "Let the child do it."

Styles after tree bark

On the basis of the so-called "rock studies", the AmericanDevelopmental psychologist Diana Baumrind carried out extensive work on the analysis of child-parent interaction. This work, as well as categorizations of parenting styles, influenced later research to a great extent.

It distinguishes between three characteristic types:

1. Authoritarian
In the authoritarian style of upbringing, the primary focus is on the child's obedience. Punishment in any form is seen as the preferred means of education. A verbal exchange rarely or not at all takes place and is more likely to be avoided. The child's autonomy can be severely restricted. A loving, worried, as well as a negligent relationship between parent and child is possible.

2. Authoritative
With this style, parents value the child's autonomy and also take into account the child's will and interests. Even so, decisions are made by the parents after they have been discussed.

Many scientists refer to this type as "the golden mean“Between authoritarian and permissive upbringing, as the child is met with a high degree of acceptance, willingness to communicate and emotional warmth. A leading position of the parents as well as rules and norms, but also high demands with the supervision of the parents determine the everyday life here.

3. Permissive
The permissive style is similar to the laissez-faire style because, although it takes into account the child's autonomy, it does not actively support the educational control of behavioral development. The behavior of a child is accepted. Here, too, both loving, caring and neglecting behavior can be observed.

Dimensioned concepts

From a scientific point of view, it happened again and again in the 1970sCriticism of the typological concepts, as they only provide information about the behavior, but not about the dimensions, the effects, the respective style of upbringing.

The American is considered to be the pioneerSocial psychologist Earl S. Schaeferwho used scales for this purpose that were taken up and expanded by the German psychologist Anne-Marie Tausch and the psychologist Reinhard Tausch.

Styles after swap / swap

Barter and Barter followed Schaefer's assumption and developed the theory that many behaviors did not appear separately from one another, but were related. They differentiate between a steering dimension (control and authority) and an emotional dimension (warmth, affection and appreciation).

Parental styles of parenting

There are seven methods of parental upbringing that are distinguished from one anotherGlen H. Elder On the basis of Lewin's parenting styles in 1962, four more styles were added. This categorization is still used today as the basis for differentiating between parenting styles.

1. Autocratic parenting style
With this style it is assumed that there is a need to be authoritarian towards the child. The child's initiative is suppressed and the child's opinion is not questioned.

2. Authoritarian style
Authoritarian upbringing is about unconditional obedience and psychological control, but not about control of the course of action. Failure to comply with rules and norms will result in massive physical punishment. Respect for parental authority and compliance with rules and norms are considered to be an independent value here. The climate in such a family is dominated by coldness and hostility.

3. Democratic style
The democratic upbringing style gives a child desirability and a feeling of security, since the child is perceived and treated as a serious personality.The parents consider help and support to be essential, but leave the child enough space to act independently and responsibly.

4. egalitarian parenting style
In this parenting style, parents and child are on an equal footing.The child's opinion is given the same level as that of the parents, so that decisions are made together. In addition, parents and children each have the same rights and obligations.

5. Permissive style
Parents are very reluctant to take this upbringing method.When it comes to personal decisions, the child has to make them alone.

6. Laissez-faire style
Here the child is left to its own devices. There are neither binding rules nor norms, which means that parents have little interest in the child's development. When making decisions, the parents' wishes can be taken into account, but do not have to be.

7. Negative style
This is a style that parents show no interest at all in the child's development and therefore do not affect upbringing at all.

What is the “best” parenting style?

Styles of upbringing in social structures

These clearly defined parenting styles are rarely found in their pure form in everyday life. Differences in the interaction between parent and child can exist not only between cultures, but also within a culture. One possible influencing factor is mentioned again and again in the sociological literature: class membership.The hierarchical division of societies into different layers therefore also dictates the different styles of upbringing. Parental upbringing behavior is strongly influenced by the surrounding social structure and this is not always the same for different families.

Many empirical studies show that, due to various factors, especially in theLower class an environment for interaction is created that hinders the development of basic qualifications.The studies show that within these families a strict, sometimes neglecting style of upbringing is predominant. Within these families, a strict division of labor can often be observed, a lack of environmental openness, a low willingness to conflict, and a lack of socialization on the part of the father. It is accepted that these factors have a negative impact on children's independence.

In the middle and upper classes, the relationship between parent and child is often characterized by interest in the child's steady development, whereby the control attitude of parents with higher education increases. It can then be described as accepting and egalitarian, but not as authoritarian.

In the frequency of disciplinary measures in the form of corporal punishment, however, the parents of the different classes do not differ. In this context, however, it is interesting that a punishment differs significantly in the type of occasion. While the parents of the lower class punish the immediate consequences of an act, it is with the parents of the middle and upper class rather the evaluations of the intent of the perpetrator that ultimately lead to a punishment.

The most common effects of parenting styles

Although upbringing does not take place exclusively in the family, but also in day care centers, schools and other social institutions, there are differences in the frequency of upbringing behavior.

The authoritarian behavior

Parents who prefer this style constantly control and regulate their children. They behave less sensitive and child-centered, often restrict freedom of expression and rarely behave sensitively. The children are subject to rigid, strict rules and norms and are punished for non-compliance, including corporal punishment. In addition, they often only receive a few suggestions from suitable toys. Often there is a rough, aggressive mood, there is a lot of shouting, orders and threats.Parents who prefer this style find punishment an effective means of restraining a child's will and do not enter into any discussion of the correctness of the standards in these procedures.

Children from these families are often anxious, show a low tolerance for frustration outside of the family, which leads to increased behavioral problems, poor school performance and poor social skills.

The permissive (indulgent) behavior

Parents with permissive behaviors are child-centered, sensitive, and accepting.They support the individuality and independence of the child, communicate with him and ask for opinions on upcoming decisions. Often the parents submit to the wishes of the child.

However, within these families little value is placed on learning and adhering to meaningful rulesso that these children often find it difficult to apply, comply with, and accept rules and norms in communities other than the family. As a result, these children do not show any age-appropriate development in terms of language and social skills and also show little willingness to perform or often only pursue personal inclinations and interests.

The negligent behavior

The negligent behavior by parents is characterized by negative, insensitive and uninterested behavior towards the child.These parents do not challenge, encourage or control the child's development. Children from these families often have poor school performance, low self-esteem and are prone to behavioral problems and aggression. This often results in delinquency, but also drug and alcohol abuse and criminal behavior.

The authoritative behavior

Authoritative behavior is characterized by sensitivity, acceptance, demand, control and child-centeredness.Parents behave in a loving and interested manner towards the child, listen, allow the child's opinions, but set rules and norms and also sanction them if necessary. Procedures and measures are explained, discussed and justified.

This behavior promotes better school performance, less anxiety and depression, fewer behavioral problems and a high degree of independence in children. Even in pre-school, these children show better language and social skills.

This behavior pattern is often found in families of the middle and upper class and is very common in Germany (with approaches from other educational styles).