Relationship between Parenting Styles and Self Compassion in Young Adults

By Ahmed, Nimrah; Bhutto, Zainab Hussain | Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research, Winter 2016 | Go to article overview

Relationship between Parenting Styles and Self Compassion in Young Adults


Ahmed, Nimrah, Bhutto, Zainab Hussain, Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research


Parenting style is "a combination of attitudes toward the child that are communicated to the child and create an emotional climate in which the parents' behaviors are expressed and the child's behavior is influenced" (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). Therefore, parental attitude is not a single element, rather a multifaceted dimension which has a significant influence on a child. Baumrind (1971), after extensive field work with parents and children, put forward an elaborate theory shedding light upon parenting styles. In her Parenting Styles Model (1971), she emphasized two major divisions of child rearing styles namely responsiveness and demandingness. Interaction between these two basic divisions results in one of the three popular parenting styles namely permissive, authoritarian and authoritative. Operational definition for parenting styles model (Baumrind, 1971) is rooted in the two major divisions of demandingness and responsiveness. Permissive style is high on responsiveness but low on demandingness. An authoritarian style of parenting is low on responsiveness but high on demandingness. And lastly an authoritative style is high on responsiveness and also on demandingness.

Researchers have shown that parenting styles have a considerable impact on the functioning of a child. Erden and Uredi (2008) found that eighth graders who came from authoritative parenting homes adopted learning strategies that were 'self regulated'. Heaven and Ciarrochi (2008) researched on self esteem of high school students. They discovered that students who received an authoritative parenting style had higher self esteem and those who received an authoritarian parenting style had lower self esteem. Schier (2008) mentions that the authoritative parenting style has been said to result in the healthiest outcomes.

The construct of parenting styles has been researched upon extensively, the reason being that it exerts considerable influence on an individual (Huta, 2011). However, only a handful of studies have explored its relationship with self compassion.

Self compassion might seem new, but it is approximately 2500 years old (Lopez, 2009). The concept has been utilized by Buddhism, to be kind and accepting to others and to the self (Gilbert, 2010). Selfcompassion is defined in terms of more general definition of compassion, itself. According to this definition when individual feels compassion for others they are touched by another's experience of suffering and it leads to the spontaneous feelings of kindness and care for the person's welfare. When compassion feelings arise for someone who made mistake or performed a misdeed, an open-minded, nonjudgmental attitude towards the individual as opposed to have harsh criticism or severe judgment, is taken (Neff, Hsieh, & Dejitterat, 2005).

In the same way, self compassion towards oneself is to be open and aware of one's own suffering, offer kindness and understanding towards oneself, desire of self s well-being, to take a nonjudgmental attitude towards one's inadequacies and failures, and frame one's own experience in light of the common human experience (Neff, 2003a).

Alongside parenting styles, the degree of self compassion practiced by individuals when faced with an emotional turmoil was explored by the current study. Being kind to others is a well understood and acknowledged phenomenon. When an individual's sufferings are met with a sense of consideration, understanding and concern from others, the concept can be defined as compassion (Gilbert, 2005).

Neff s operational definition of self compassion involves polar opposite components namely self kindness against self judgment, common humanity against isolation and mindfulness against overidentification (Neff & Germer, 2012).

The social mentality theory put forward by Gilbert (1989) highlights the theoretical framework of self compassion (Grey, 2009). Gilbert and Irons (2005), state that a self-self relationship is developed when an infant receives warmth and care from the primary caregiver. …

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