Respond to the following questions:

1) How would you define family?

2) Identify and explain Diana Baumrind’s four parenting styles. Which parenting style is most effective for raising children in today’s society?


Introduction to Parenting Issues

When individuals become parents their lives change forever. They will never think of themselves in the same light again. Ellen Galinsky has proposed a theory of parenting which involves six stages. The first stage begins with pregnancy and is called the image-making stage. In this stage, the parents-to-be prepare for the changes in themselves and in their relationships to others. Module 1 begins by raising some of the issues considered by parents in the image-making stage. The other stages in Galinsky’s theory of parenting will be discussed in module 2. The readings in this module provide you the opportunity to develop an approach to child rearing that is based on theory and research. As part of the preparation for parenthood, it is important to reflect on parenting styles, and the effects the various styles have on child behavior. Module 1 continues by looking at the very important question of discipline and investigating the nature of discipline, various methods of discipline, and the controversy concerning physical punishment. The module concludes with a discussion of how to parent children so that they can grow and thrive in a diverse world.

Child Development

In module 2 we continue to examine parenting through Galinsky’s six developmental stages of parenthood. Galinsky’s parenting stages give us a general description of the parent’s tasks throughout the parent-child relationship. Stages two through six include nurturing, authoritative, interpretive, interdependent, and departure stages and each of these stages has a major task for the parent. As we study the parent’s tasks we immediately realize that one cannot accurately understand the parent’s tasks unless one understands the child. This understanding includes the child’s development from the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive perspectives. This module will focus on child development and link it with the major parenting tasks.

Introduction: From Beliefs to Evidence

Read chapter 1 in Parenting: A Dynamic Perspective for an introduction to parenting beliefs from philosophers, psychologists, and physicians throughout history.…

Theoretical Perpectives on Parenting

Read chapter 2 in Parenting: A Dynamic Perspective for an introduction to the various theories of parenting and see which ones you agree with.

The Six Stages of Parenthood

Ellen Galinsky is president and co-founder of Families and Work Institute (FWI) and author of over forty books on child development. In this excerpt from her interviews with the parents of 396 children, Galinsky identifies common threads and stages in the life of a parent related to the stages in life of the children. Galinsky identifies the six stages of parenting as:

  • 1-Image-Making
  • 2-Nurturing
  • 3-Authority
  • 4-Interpretive
  • 5-Interdependent
  • 6-Departure

As you read Galinsky’s article, consider not only the six stages of parenting that she identifies, but the stages of the children.

4 Different Parenting Styles and their Effects on Children

Dimensions of Parenting

  • Parental warmth – The degree to which parents are accepting, responsive, and compassionate with their children.
  • Parental control – The degree to which parents set limits, enforce rules, and maintain discipline with children.

Four styles of parenting
(Baumrind, 1973, 1991; Maccoby & Martin, 1983)

  • Authoritarian parents – Exert firm control but are rejecting or unresponsive to their children.
  • Warmth: Low
  • Control: High

1st Parenting Style:

  • Parent:
  • Expect children to follow strict rules
  • Does not explain why rules should be obeyed
  • Punish children who disobey rules
  • Are controlling/power-oriented
  • Use verbal threats or spanking

1st Parenting Style:

  • Effects of Parenting Style on Child:
  • Obedient
  • Proficient (good at what they do)
  • may view parent as enemy
  • May be confused about what is right/wrong
  • Have ê levels happiness & self-esteem compared to children who do not have authoritarian parents

Authoritarian Style:
Limits without Freedom.

  • Parents’ word is law, parents have absolute control.
  • Misconduct is punished
  • Affection and praise are rarely give
  • Parents try to control children’s’ behavior and attitudes
  • They value unquestioned obedience
  • Children are told what to do, how to do it, and where to do it, and when to do it.

Outcomes of Authoritarian Style

  • Blindly Obedient
  • Distrustful
  • Withdrawn
  • Unhappy
  • Hostile
  • Not High Achievers
  • Passive

Children from authoritarian homes are so strictly controlled that they are often prevented from making their own decisions

Four styles of parenting
(Baumrind, 1973, 1991; Maccoby & Martin, 1983)

  • Permissive parents – Warm but have little control over their children.
  • Warmth: High
  • Control: Low

2nd Parenting Style:

  • Parent:
  • Has no firm rules, lenient
  • Accepts child as he/she is
  • Disciplines through love, praise and affection
  • Child can do no wrong
  • Communicates and nurtures child
  • Acts more like a friend than parent

2nd Parenting Style:

  • Effects of Parenting Style on Child:
  • Dependent
  • Irresponsible / lack self-control
  • Immature
  • Experiences problems with authority
  • Experiences problems in school (i.e. completing projects)

Permissive Style:
Freedom without limits

  • Parents allow their children to do their own thing.
  • Little respect for order and routine.
  • Parents make few demands on children.
  • Discipline is lax: rarely punish
  • Non controlling, non-demanding
  • Usually warm, indulgent
  • Children walk all over the parents

Outcome of Permissive Parenting

  • Aggressive
  • Least self-reliant
  • Least self-controlled
  • Least exploratory
  • Most unhappy

Children from permissive homes often get used to having what they want, but without guidance; they can be spoiled, aimless, anxious, insecure, rebellious

Four styles of parenting
(Baumrind, 1973, 1991; Maccoby & Martin, 1983)

  • Rejecting/neglecting parents – Don’t set limits and are unresponsive to their children’s needs.
  • Warmth: Low
  • Control: Low

3rd Parenting Style:

  • Parent:
  • Makes few demands
  • Low responsiveness to child
  • Detached from child, but fulfills his/her basic needs
  • In extreme cases parents REJECT or NEGLECT needs of child

3rd Parenting Style:

  • Effects of Parenting Style on Child:
  • Feel neglected / abandoned, have ê self-esteem
  • Lack self-control


  • Children raised by rejecting/neglecting parents fare the worst of all.
  • Compared to other children, they show higher rates of delinquency, alcohol and drug use, and early sexual activities.
  • They perform more poorly in school and show other disruptions in peer relations and cognitive development (Park & Buriel, 1998).

Four styles of parenting
(Baumrind, 1973, 1991; Maccoby & Martin, 1983)

  • Authoritative parents – Are warm and exert firm control.
  • Warmth: High
  • Control: High

4th Parenting Style:
DEMOCRATIC or Authoritative

  • Parent:
  • Responsive
  • Supportive of child’s decisions
  • Guides and shows by example
  • Willing to discuss choices they or their child makes and the reasoning behind these choices
  • Disciplinary methods are nurturing & forgiving ≠ punitive
  • Want child to be socially responsible, self-regulated, cooperative

4th Parenting Style:
DEMOCRATIC or Authoritative

  • Effects of Parenting Style on Child:
  • Good decision makers
  • Independent, but seek help when needed
  • Happy
  • Capable
  • Successful

Democratic (Authoritative):
Freedom within limits

  • Middle ground
  • Parents set reasonable limits and enforce rules
  • Willing to listen receptively to child’s requests interests, and questions.
  • Children contribute to discussion of issues and make some of their own decisions
  • Exert firm control when necessary, but explain reasoning behind it.
  • Loving, consistent, demanding
  • Combine control with encouragement

Outcomes of Democratic Style

  • Happy
  • Mostly self-reliant
  • Friendly, generous
  • Cooperative
  • High-achiever’
  • Less likely to be disruptive or delinquent

Children whose parents expect them to perform well, to fulfill commitments, and to participate actively in family duties, experience the satisfaction that comes from meeting responsibilities and achieving success.

Parental Control

  • Psychological control – Attempts at control that affect a child’s psychological and emotional development (Barber, 1996). Includes inducting guilt, withdrawing love, or shaming.
  • Behavioral control – “The claims parents make on children to become integrated into the family whole, by their maturity demands, supervision, disciplinary efforts and willingness to confront the child who disobeys” (Baumrind, 1991, pp. 61-62).

(Darling, 1996)

Ways that parents can build a child’s self-esteem:

Provide more successes than failures for the child.

Give them freedom to fail with acceptance.

Give lots of encouragement.

Give unconditional love.

Allow independence.

Eliminate the negative.

Do not set standards unreasonably high.

Avoid ridicule.

Ways that parents can build a child’s self-esteem:

Be available.

Give your children responsibility

Be a good role model.

Take their ideas, emotions and feelings seriously.

Help your child develop talents

Set Limits

Allow exploration and encourage questions.

Discipline: Spare the Rod and Spare the Child?

  • Discipline – Techniques used to teach children appropriate behavior.
  • Punishment – Techniques used to eliminate or reduce undesirable behavior.
  • Often overemphasize punishment when disciplining children.
  • 84% of American adults state that “it is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a good hard spanking” (Lehman, 1989; Straus, 1994).


Discipline: Spare the Rod and Spare the Child?

  • In the short run, spanking seems to work; however, in the long run, spanking is not effective (Holden, 2002)
  • Models violent behavior
  • Creates fear of parents
  • Focuses on what not to do; does not teach what to do.

Discipline: Spare the Rod and Spare the Child?

  • Children who are spanked are:
  • more physically violent and aggressive;
  • twice as likely to attack their siblings;
  • more likely to steal property, commit assaults, and commit other delinquent acts; and
  • have lower moral standards and lower self-esteem (Straus, 1994; Straus, Sugarman, & Giles-Sims, 1997).
  • Outcomes are related to frequency, severity of spankings. All findings are correlational.

Appropriate Discipline

  • Remember
  • Discipline refers to techniques used to teach children appropriate behaviors; rather than punish.
  • No technique works all the time and right away.


Appropriate Discipline

  • Recommendations
  • Manage the situation
  • Set clear rules and limits
  • Praise good behavior
  • Use explanation and reasoning
  • If you must punish, try removing privileges or using timeouts (a disciplinary technique that involves removing the child from the situation and anything that is encouraging the misbehavior to continue, placing the child in a safe and quiet environment).


Mothers and Fathers: Cooperating through Thick and Thin?

  • Raising children puts a great strain on most marriages.
  • Vast majority of couples report a significant decline in marital satisfaction in the first year after the births of their first babies.
  • Most parents work outside the home.
  • When children are born, couples tend to move toward more traditional gender roles.
  • Mothers spent 23 hours per week alone with children, whereas fathers spent only 2 hours (Russell & Russell, 1987).

Mothers and Fathers: Cooperating through Thick and Thin?

  • Types of time spent with mothers and fathers is different.
  • Fathers’ play tends to be more physical and rough-and-tumble, while mothers’ play tends to be more toy-oriented and verbal (Park, 1996; Russell & Russell, 1987).
  • Cultural differences.



  • Which parenting style is the most effective?
  • Democratic ✔
  • Uninvolved ✗
  • Permissive ≈
  • Authoritarian ≈
  • What if parents do not share the same parenting style?
  • Need to have complementary parenting styles
  • Authoritarian + Permissive