Parenting Styles

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Parenting Styles (Sears et al)

Sears et al (1957: 

  • Interviewed 379 american mothers of 5 year olds
  • Authoritarian style: parent applies strict rules, frequently uses punishment and gives little choice. Parent is emotionally cold and unaffectionate. 
  • Democratic style: parents gives frequent guidance, explains rules and punishes serious wrongdoing, shares decision making with the child, encourages self-reliance and is emotionally warm. 
  • Permissive style: parent is emotionally warm but gives little guidance or control - often allows the child to do what they want. The parent either does not apply the rules or applies them inconsistently. 
  • Results: Children of permissive parents were often highly aggressive, whilst the children of authoritarian parents only used aggression to get what they want. Children of democratic parents were least aggressive. It was a correlational study and the data was collected by interview only. 

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Parenting styles (Baumrind)

Baumrind (1967, 1971) 

  • Carried out a similar study of 134 children and thier parents. 
  • She used observation as well as interview.
  • It was a longitudinal study as she followed up the children years later. 
  • Observed a wider range of behaviours. 
  • Authoritarian: parents tended to have children who were fearful,moody, easily annoyed, sulky and hostile.
  • Authoritative: parents tended to have children who were self-reliant, self-controlled, cheerful, cooperative and motivated to do well.
  • Permissive: tended to have children who were rebellious, low in self-reliance, low in self-control, impulsive, aggressive and low in achievement motivation. 
  • In the follow up study Baumrind found that the children of authoritative parents scored highest in cognitive ability.
  • Was a correlational study. 
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