Relationships of Parents' Perceived Actions toward Their Children

By Necessary, James R.; Parish, Thomas S. | Adolescence, Spring 1995 | Go to article overview

Relationships of Parents' Perceived Actions toward Their Children


Necessary, James R., Parish, Thomas S., Adolescence


Research in the area of parent-child relationships has generally supported the notion that parents' actions affect children in various ways (Amaro, 1986; Baumrind, 1968). This view is in accordance with the parenting model proposed by Becker (1964) who suggested that parents' attitudes and practices largely predispose children to develop in certain ways. While this notion has been widely adopted by educators and researchers, not everyone has followed suit. For instance, Bell (1968) proposed a child-effect model, which suggests that children and adolescents basically mold parents' behaviors in an attempt to adjust to their children's behaviors. Thus, as described by Bell (1968), parents are not really in control, but merely react to the actions of their children. Subsequently, Parish (1980) reported that college students who had rated their parents along two continua (i.e., restrictive-permissive; warm-hostile), demonstrated strong support for the Bell mode] since parents were generally found to parent very much like one another.

That parents act like each other certainly seems to lend support for Bell's "child-effect" model. But are they really like each other in all respects, or do they go their separate ways in certain areas in order to maintain some consistency with themselves and their beliefs? If so, then the notion that parents are formed, or molded, by their children's actions may be called into question. This issue is the focus of the present study.

METHOD

A total of 104 college students (67 males and 37 females), enrolled in an introduction to business education class at a large midwestern university, voluntarily participated. As in the Parish (1980) and the Parish and Scanlan (1992) studies, these students were presented with two seven-point grids ranging from restrictive to permissive on one, and warm to hostile on the other. Students simply indicated how they were raised by each parent on each grid. After the students had completed this task they were asked to provide some demographic information.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A series of Pearson product-moment correlations were used to analyze the data. They indicated that parenting practices by both fathers and mothers (according to their adult children's perceptions) are not nearly so similar to one another. Specifically, relatively modest (though significant) correlations were found between fathers' and mothers' restrictiveness-permissiveness scores (r = .27, p [less than] . …

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