Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Effects of Parenting Styles on Behavioral Problems in Primary School Children: A Cross-Cultural Review

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Effects of Parenting Styles on Behavioral Problems in Primary School Children: A Cross-Cultural Review

Article excerpt


This review examines the literature regarding the effects of parenting styles on children's behavioural problems in different cultures. An initial literature search yielded 941 articles. Subsequent screening of titles and abstracts identified 86 potentially relevant studies. These were stored in full text for additional checks in order to further verify if they corresponded to the purposes of the review. Inclusion criteria yielded 21 studies from the following twelve countries: USA, Canada, UK, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Finland, Croatia, Iran, China, Taiwan and Pakistan. Results indicate that parenting styles have an impact on children's behavioural problems. Specifically, children from parents showing contributory factors such as "involvement with the child", "monitoring the child" and other positive dimensions tended to have low levels of behaviour problems. Based on the literature review we conclude that this impact of parenting styles may vary across societies. However, a number of methodological limitations were noted which may have contributed towards some inconsistency of the findings. Further cross-cultural research is needed in order to be able to compare the effect of parenting styles more reliably.

Keywords: behavioural problems, cultural context, parenting styles

1. Introduction

Parental strategy in rearing children has a significant impact on children's developmental outcomes. Theoretically, it could be expected that negative parenting characteristics, including strictness, neglect, control, punishment, and lack of support will potentially lead to subsequent child behavioural problems such as emotional problems and misconduct at school.

The findings of a number of studies reveal an association between the quality of parenting styles and children's behavioural problems (Anthony et al., 2005; Aunola & Kurmi, 2005; Chang, Schwartz, Dodge, & McBride-Chang, 2003; Hart, Nelson, Robinson, Olsen, & McNeilly-Choque, 1998; Henderson, Dakof, Schwartz, & Liddle, 2006; Mulvaney & Mebert, 2007; Raboteg-Saric, Rijavec & Brajsa-Zganec, 2001; Russell, Hart, Robinson & Olsen, 2003; Stevens, Vollebergh, Pels, & Crijnen, 2007). More specifically, Barnes and Farrell (1992) found that parenting styles were significant predictors of behavioural problems, suggesting that positive parenting techniques such as high level of parental support and monitoring tended to have children who were less likely to exhibit drink problems, drug use, misconduct at school and deviant behaviour in general.

However, the presence of negative parenting techniques such as poor supervision, inconsistent discipline and corporal punishment as described by (Shelton, Frick, & Wootton, 1996) may contribute to children displaying negative behaviour (Essau, Sasagawa, & Frick, 2006), which in turn is linked to poor academic achievement (Adams, Snowling, Hennessy, & Kind, 1999; Gutman & Vorhaus, 2012). In addition, Gámez-Guadix, Straus, Carrobles, Muñoz-Rivas and Almendros (2010) found that parents using corporal punishment significantly increased the probability of their children expressing antisocial traits or negative behaviours. Further, Mulvaney and Mebert (2007) showed a significant correlation between corporal punishment and negative behavioural adjustment among children. In addition, Van As and Janssens (2012) also proposed that the poor quality of parent-child interaction and the lack of parental support are related to children's behavioural problems. Broadly speaking, an empirical body of literature has established that corporal punishment, characterized by screaming, yelling, shouting, slapping, and hitting a child, was found to be related to children's behavioural problems. Overall, the findings emerging from the above studies point to the conclusion that negative parent-child rearing practices are associated with children's behavioural problems.

Nevertheless, there is much debate and controversy within the literature of the relative impact of parenting styles and cultural effects. …

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