Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Positive Parenting: Meaning and Methods

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Positive Parenting: Meaning and Methods

Article excerpt

Parenting is a process associated with social interaction and progeny having great survival value. The interest in parenting is as old as the existence of animals, birds and human beings on this earth.

It was more than a century ago, when the research on variables directly or indirectly related to parenting started, but it became a serious focus for psychologists in 1950's with a series of famous experiments conducted by Harlow (1958) and the parenting styles given by Roe (1957). With an increased competition amongst children having higher levels of ambitions, and higher expectations about achieving higher grades and marks; the changing family structures e.g. from extended to joint and then nuclear; the mothers being working and having less time and attention to pay to their children; the so called raised living standards; requirement of having high technology gadgets and such other economic factors etc. the parenting has become a little too difficult for many and may not be as fulfilling a process as it used to be earlier i.e. three or four decades ago.

The very meaning of parenting is a 'self fulfilling prophecy' in itself. Majority of those who get married enjoy the feelings of being parents, and plan their parenthood. The word and its very meaning are full of pride, strength and rejoice and is thus very positive. But due to the above mentioned psychological, social and economic causes there is a need to look for the 'positive styles' of parenting. The parenting has now become a complex process/activity, but is very important because it includes the specific behaviors of the mother and the father which influence child outcome, e.g. their behaviour, development, personality, success, happiness and well being etc.

Parenting refers to a privilege or responsibility of mother and father, together or independently to prepare the child for society and culture which provides ample opportunity to child to find roots, continuity and sense of belonging. It serves as an effective agent of socialization. The way these responsibilities are carried out is the parenting pattern or style.

Parenting practices are defined as specific behaviors that parents use to socialize their children (Darling & Steinbeig, 1993). For example, when socializing their children to succeed in school, parents might enact certain practices such as doing homework with their children, providing their children with time to read, and attending their children's school functions. In contrast, Darling and Steinberg (1993) define a parenting style as the emotional climate in which parents raise their children. Parenting styles have been characterized by dimensions of parental responsiveness and demandingness (Baumrind, 1991).

According to Maccoby and Martin (1983), parenting style captures two important elements of parenting: Parental responsiveness and Parental demandingness. Parental responsiveness is also referred to as parental warmth or supportiveness. It represents " the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self regulation, and selfassertion by being attuned, supportive, and acquiescent to children's special needs and demands" (Baumrind, 1991). Parental demandingness, also understood as behavioral control refers to "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). In other words, these parents usually set high performance goals/ standards and expect a high level of maturity from their children. Baumrind proposed mainly three types of Parenting i.e. Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive.

Authoritarian Parents, as the name indicates, are high on demandingness, strict and rigid in their expectations and maintain a tight control on their children being highly unresponsive and are emotionally distant. They are not free and frank with their children. …

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