Academic journal article College Student Journal

The Relationship between Parenting Styles, General Deviance, Academic Dishonesty, and Infidelity

Academic journal article College Student Journal

The Relationship between Parenting Styles, General Deviance, Academic Dishonesty, and Infidelity

Article excerpt

There are four identified styles of parenting described by Baumrind and Maccoby and Martin (as cited in Baumrind, 2005): authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful. These four styles lie along two continua --one characterized by warmth, and the other by strictness. High warmth and high strictness define the authoritative parenting style; low warmth and high strictness, the authoritarian style; high warmth and low strictness, the permissive style; and low warmth and low strictness, the neglectful style. Most of this research demonstrates that authoritative parenting is related to positive developmental outcomes for children. For example, Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, and Dornbusch (1991) found that adolescents who rated their parents as more authoritative scored significantly higher on measures of psychosocial development and academic competence and significantly lower on measures of problem behavior compared to adolescents who rated their parents as authoritarian, permissive, or neglectful. In addition. Adalbjarnardottir and Hafsteinsson (2001) found that adolescents who rated their parents as authoritative reported significantly lower rates of experimentation with alcohol and illicit drugs, as well as significantly lower rates of alcohol abuse. Slicker (1998) found that adolescents who rated their parents as authoritative scored significantly lower on measures of problem behavior, prompting Slicker to conclude, "Clearly, authoritative ... parenting [is] associated with the most beneficial adjustment" (Slicker, 1998, p. 361).

Previous research (e.g., Slicker, 1998; Adalbjarnardottir & Hafsteinsson, 2001) has shown that authoritative parenting is associated with lower levels of general deviance in children (i.e., a general pattern of behavior characterized by deviant activities, such as theft and substance abuse; Blankenship & Whitley, 2000). Social learning (i.e., learning through observation of, and instruction by, engaging models; Bandura, 1977) may explain why authoritative parenting deters deviant behavior in children. For example, social learning may serve as a vehicle through which authoritative parents may transmit prosocial values to their children (i.e., values that promote such social virtues as self-control, honesty, caring, helpfulness, and politeness; Simons et al., 1991). In addition, authoritative parenting's combination of high warmth and high strictness may foster children's identification with their parents. Children who identify more closely with their parents may be more observant of their parents' behaviors and more likely to adopt their parents' values. As Estep and Olson (in press) note, "The high degree of warmth and involvement, coupled with the high degree of strictness and supervision characteristic of authoritative parenting may encourage children to identify with their parents, thereby facilitating the transmission of authoritative parents' prosocial values" (p. 2).

Indeed, Simons et al. (1991) suggest that a parent-child relationship characterized by high warmth, such as is found in the authoritative parenting style, may promote children's identification with parents. The tendency to identify with parental figures may then promote children's adoption of authoritative parents' prosocial values and inhibit children's engagement in deviant behavior and association with deviant peer groups. Simons et al. found that children who identified with their parents (i.e., children who reported respecting their parents and enjoying being with them) scored significantly lower on measures of engagement with deviant peer groups. In addition, these children scored significantly higher on measures of prosocial values and significantly lower on measures of problems in school. In contrast, children whose parents exhibited inept parenting behaviors (i.e., rejecting the child, nagging the child) scored significantly higher on measures of coercive interpersonal styles. These children also scored significantly higher on measures of problems at school, engagement in deviant peer groups, and delinquent behavior. …

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