In today’s society, the development of adolescence is a significant matter. In previous generations, self-discipline and strict obedience was critical; “The style of parenting practiced in the past was seen as critical to provide children with the self-discipline required by societies in which strict obedience to authority was expected from citizens,” (Holloway, 2003, p. 314). Authoritarian parenting style was the most common. According to Holloway, 2003, the parenting style is highly influential to an adolescent’s behaviour, in the new generation.
There are three basic styles of parenting; authoritative, authoritarian and permissive style. These styles have positive and negative aspects. Authoritative parenting is viewed to be a well-balanced style, “characterized by warmth, support, acceptance, and indirect positive control of the children,” (Holloway, 2003, p. 321). However, authoritarian style is more parental control and uses punishments. It is still a common form of parenting used in today’s generation. It is distinguished by harsh discipline, rigidity, and perfectionism, which rather continues to affect the children adversely.
In contrast, permissive parenting is a very negligent style. The parents do not take a big role in the child’s life. Children raised by permissive parents tend to be more irresponsible, impulsive, and immature. All of these three parenting styles may have negative impacts on adolescence, and “they can all cause problematic behaviours,” (Ambert, 2007). Of the three styles, authoritarian parenting is the most ineffective method of child rearing because it creates problematic behaviours such as rebellion, aggression, and low self-esteem in adolescents. Dr.
Anne-Marie Ambert, 2007, carefully analyzed different problematic behaviours during certain periods of a lifetime. She remarked that there’s been a gradual increase in the number of adolescents exhibiting problematic behaviours. Such behaviours leave a big impact on the families and the society, but ironically, it is also the reverse. The causes of problematic behaviours, such as rebellion, are the parental controls of these adolescents. Rebellion goes under the category of negative and disruptive acts and traits. Low impulse control, lying, temper tantrums, talking back, poor academic performances, are examples of rebellion.
Adolescence is a stage of child development growing into adulthood. In this stage, the child experiences biological, cognitive, and emotional changes. Their development of identity is governed by the question of “who am I? ” In the minds of these adolescents, the respect and discipline is not encouraged, and rather they want to be independent and separated from any authority figures. It is the parents’ role to guide and support the child’s development effectively. However, excessive parental control may misguide the child’s development and the child may create negative feelings against the parent or any authority figures.
These negative feelings gradually build up, and as more pressure is applied, it leads to rebellion. The adolescents desire independence, self-control and individuation. Parental control ranges from excessive to insufficient control, and researches have been made throughout the past to distinguish the different forms. Steinberg, 1990, stated that the primary distinctions are between psychological control and behavioral control. Psychological control negatively affects children’s psychological world through the parents’ attempts to control the children. The psychological control undermines psychosocial development by interfering with children’s ability to become independent and develop a healthy sense of self and personal identity,” (Steinberg, 1990). In contrast, behavioral control refers to the rules, regulations, and restrictions that parents have for their children. Diana Baumrid described the different parenting styles and state that authoritative parents, who have firm rules for their children’s behavior, use a great deal of behavioral control but little psychological control.
In contrast, authoritarian parents use both. This proves that authoritarian parenting use excessive control which could lead to excessive rebellion of the child. Severe rebellion would lead to the next following category of problematic behaviours, aggression. Aggression is the second level of problematic behaviours. Ambert, 2007, observed the aggressive acts, such as fighting, which leads to intimidation, harassment and delinquency, such as sexual assaults, murder, drugs, shoplifting, use of alcohol, etc. These problematic behaviours also negatively affect the society.
Its impact would be much more extreme than those of rebellion. Adolescents may tend to express their anger through aggression, resulting from the stress they receive from their parents. This is a form of displacement and/or projection, as described in Sigmund Freud’s theory of defense mechanism. ‘Overly harsh parenting, often leads to aggressive behavior in children, leading children to join antisocial peer groups, further heightening their aggressiveness. This, in turn, may provoke harsher parenting, leading to further aggressiveness in the child, and so on,” (Steinberg, 1990).
As the adolescents portray these certain behaviours, the authoritarian parents would force physical punishments, which may also be a form of aggression. Such punishments would strongly influence adolescents to be aggressive as well. “In a study, Duman & Margolin (2007) analyze children’s interpretation of their parents’ interpersonal perspective, principally their parents’ aggression. Historically, there is the suggestion that parent’s aggression can affect the children’s own social problem-solving proficiency,” (Lamprecht, 2007). This is a partial reason to why physical punishment is not recommended in today’s North American society.
Aggression should not be used as the form of a conflict resolution. Adolescents do not exhibit aggressive problematic behaviours because they’re not aware of the disciplines; they do so because they use it as a form of rebellion towards their parents, and a displacement of their stress and anger from their parents. “Research has shown that aspects of children’s behavior and psychological development are linked to the style of parenting with which they have been raised,” (Steinberg, 1990). Low self-esteem is another impact of authoritarian parenting. Children who experience this type of parenting feel rejected by their parents. Children raised by authoritarian parents tend to have more problems with psychological adjustment,” (Holloway, 2003). In other words, adolescents feel neglected by their parents. “Most definitions of self-esteem share a common theme of self-evaluation, and indeed many researchers define self-esteem as evaluative beliefs about one’s self,” (Gecas, 1971; 1972; Kawash, Kerr, & Clewes, 1985; Openshaw, Thomas, & Rollins, 1981). Adolescence is a critical stage in which a child develops their identity.
They need the well-balanced support and the ability to be independent. Authoritarian parents rather forces punishment on their child, leaving the child to feel insecure and self-critical, and weaken their self-confidence. This would result in difficult adaptation to the society. Parents and family is one of the agents of socialization, and it is the important factor in the stage of adolescence. Moderate discipline promotes self-esteem, whereas “many argue that excessive parental control (discipline) is linked to low self-esteem,” (Litovsky & Dusek, 1986; Openshaw et al. 1984). In conclusion, adolescence is the most important and difficult stage of parenting, and their roles are significant in the child’s development. It is the stage on child development, marking the turning point in the parent-child relationship. Also, it is the most important stage to develop one’s identity. “Of the many different relationships we form over the course of the life span, the relationship between parent and child is among the most important,” (Steinberg, 1990). How does the parent-child relationship change during adolescence?
Which types of discipline are most effective? These are some of the questions that theorists and researchers examine in child development. As mentioned before, of the three types of parenting styles, authoritarian is the most ineffective. “Research shows that over time, adolescents who have been reared authoritatively continue to show more success in school, better psychological development, and fewer behavior problems than their counterparts from other types of homes,” (Steinberg, 1990).
It is very important that parents meet the child’s desires under certain limits in order to maintain a good parent-child relationship. Parents must understand that their child is going through the phase of identifying themselves and gradually go through adolescence into the adulthood. Parents should assist their children in their development, with the awareness of their children’s cognitive and emotional changes, rather than forcing and demanding them to meet the parents’ expectations.