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The Relationship Between Parenting Styles Education Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 5409 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The best gift that parents can give their children is good education. It is believed that education is the most reliable key to success. Although children grow up in different families, in every family parents play an important role in giving support and stimulating children’s academic achievement and attitude towards school (Santrock, 2009, p.80). Parents have great influence over their children and basically the duty of shaping, molding them into adults lies in their hands. The type of discipline they place on the children has great impact. Before the child is exposed to the world the first socialization is obtained from parents. The child learns the first language from parents. According to Santrock (2009, p.80) the value that parents places on education of their children determines the performance of the child in school. Parents do not only influence children’s in school achievement, but also make decisions about children’s out-of-school activities.

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David Clarke in his book, Parenting Isn’t for Super Heroes, said that after interviewing many parents, he found that many parents feel powerless and insignificant. Many believe that they have virtually no influence on the lives of their children. This feeling of helplessness has caused them to abandon the role that God trusted then of leading, motivating, shaping, and

guiding their children (Clarke 2003, p.20). In agreement with Clark, Andrew Murray in his book How to raise children for Christ says that raising children is parents’ duty and privilege. They do not know that God has given them power. Mostly, parents imagine that they honor God by thinking their religion of their children is dependent on God’s will apart from their instrumentality (Murray 1975, p.92). Therefore this research will examine the relationship between parenting styles and children’s classroom performance

Problem Statement

Different researchers have come up with different ways of raising children. This is an indication that there are assorted techniques of bringing up children. Different families have different ways of bringing up their children according to their culture, financial status, and religion. Also families differ on the things that they value, some value education, while others do value business or religion. This gives us a reason why children perform differently in classroom assessments. This research is aimed at finding out if there is a relationship between parenting styles and children’s classroom performance.


Researchers have found out that family management practices are positively related to student’s grades and self-responsibility, and negatively to school-related problems (Santrock 2009, p.80). This shows that the role of helping a child to boost self-esteem lies in the hands of parents. Mothers are more responsible for the behavior of their children than their fathers. Clarke (2003, p.15) said that parenting has not only moments of wonder, excitement, and enrichment but also broken up by long stretches of exasperation, total chaos, and suffering. There is a need for parents to decide the quality of family life they will have and then use the

necessary disciplines to accomplish it, Otherwise life will push the family in diverse directions and they will be problems rather than discipline (William Sears, 1982, p.237).

Douglas in his thesis says that parent’s involvement with their children’s schooling has been shown to affect student’s academic achievement (Douglas 2011, p.1). Different parenting styles have been studied by child psychologists for many years but really got attention in the 1970s and 80s. There have been a few psychologists who have come up with names and theories for different parenting styles, but in general, psychologists have agreed on four basic styles of parenting, which are; authoritarian, authoritative, indulgent or permissive, and neglectful (Wentzel &Russell, 2003, p.3). Despite the discovery of these parenting styles the right parenting style is the one that uplifts high classroom performance of a child.

There are four main types of parenting styles, authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive which was later split into permissive indulgent and permissive indifferent or neglectful (Starr, 2011, pp.1-2). In this study the two permissive of parenting will be grouped together. Livinia Lorena Ribeiro in her thesis says that Baumrind in 1971 suggested that her three parenting styles, authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive were representative of the styles parents used in the socialization of children based on high and low nurturing, maturity demands, communication and control of the child’s behavior( 2009, p. 17)

According to Honors thesis paper 266 by Witterborn, Minty (2002, p. 4) research has identified variables outcomes for children raised in the three different parenting environments. Minty said that Lamborn, Mounts, Sternberg, and Donbussh (1991) found out that adolescent who characterized their parents as authoritative reported “significantly higher academic

competence, lower levels of problem behavior, and higher levels of problem behavior, and higher levels of psychosocial development” adolescents raised in authoritarian homes were

similar to those in authoritative homes . He further wrote that Lamborn et al. (1991) said that however, they did not show as much “self reliance and social competence, but adolescents in permissive homes reported the lowest levels in all the categories (Minty, 2002, p. 4).

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to critically assess whether or not there is a relationship between parenting styles and children’s classroom performance in order to identify factors that contribute to high performance of students at Chankhanga community day secondary school. This will help the parents to look after their children in a proper way and provide all the necessities that can help the learners to improve their classroom performance; also will help the teachers to devise good teaching techniques that best suits children from diverse parenting styles.

Theoretical Framework

This research shall be driven by the theory of Baumrind’s Typology of parenting style by Diana Baumrind who conducted extensive observations of parents interacting with their children in their homes and concluded four dimensional of parent-child interactions reflecting types of responsiveness and control predict reliably children’s social, emotional, and cognitive functioning (Wentzel and Russell, 2003). Baumrind and other researchers created four parenting styles which are Authoritarian, Authoritative, permissive and Neglectful (Douglas, 2011 p.1).

Significance of Study

This study will be of great importance to Malawian parents in the way that it will provide knowledge to parents on how to choose the right parenting style which will help their children to boost their classroom performance. Also, the study will help the parents to demonstrate love to their spouses as children coming from homes whose parents quarrel each day become emotionally sick hence fail to perform well in classroom assessments. This study would help parents to focus on how to build their children’s self-esteem and confidence. Also the study would be beneficial to individuals and publishing houses that provide parenting views to parents and the nation; this will help the nation to employ the parenting styles that are effective. In addition to that this study will help the teacher to handle children exposed to different parenting styles in classroom situations in the right manner.

Research Questions

This research was directed by the following questions:

RQ 1. What are the roles of parents on the class performance of the child at Chankhanga School?

RQ 2. In what way are different parenting styles important in the education of the child at

Chankhanga Community Secondary School?


Parents using authoritative style of parenting contribute positively to their children’s classroom performance.

Limitations of Study

The researcher predicts that this study will have the following limitations. The first limitation is that of time constraint. The researcher is conducting this study in amidst of studying other subjects. The second limitation is that of financial constraints. The researcher who is a student will personally fund the study. The third limitation would be the reading level of the children would be limiting the study in a way that they may not understand the concepts being communicated to them. The forth limitation would be the selection of the participants. This study does not address categories like those of learners with learning difficulties, like the visual impaired nor those who are mentally retarded. The other limitation will be fear that children may be afraid to express how they are being handled by their parents at home and teachers at school.

Operational Definitions

Parenting Styles. Parenting Style refers to the normative patterns of behavior and tactics that parents use to socialize and control their children (Wentzel and Russell, 2003, p2).

Authoritarian Parenting. “This is a type of parenting where by parents are very strict and punitive. (Clarke, 2003.p.40).

Authoritative Parenting. “This is a positive parenting style that encourages children to be independent but it still places limits and control over their actions (Santrock, 2009. p.80).

Permissive Parenting. “This is a parenting style where by parents are highly involved with their children but few limits and restrictions are placed on their behavior” (Clarke, 2003, p.320).



The following section will present a literature review on the roles of parents on the class performance of the child, the ways in which the parenting styles thus authoritarian, authoritative and permissive parenting are in important and how they are related to children’s classroom performance.

Roles of parents on the education of their children

Parents have a great role on the upbringing of their children. One role is to be involved in all activities that take place in the development of their children, including their education. Anyikwa and Obidike(2012, pp. 59-66) in conjunction with Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, conducted a study about mothers’ construction of their roles in the literacy education of their children. The purpose of the study was to explore strategies parents employ as resources for their children’s education. Anyikwa and Obidike (2012) categorized parental involvement into two forms, thus “parent’s involvement in support of the child at home and school (pp. 66).” To come up with how parents get involved in the education of their children they employed the six types of parental involvement identified by Epstein(1996) which officially accepts the work that parents perform in the home and school supporting their children’s education( Anyikwa and Obidike, 2012, pp. 59-66). The six typology are:

Parenting: Families establishing good environment that can help to support children.

Communicating: Designing good forms of communication about school programs and children’s progress.

Volunteering: Recruiting and organising parents to lender help and support to the learners.

Learning at home: Parents help their children at home with home work.

Decision making: parents getting involved in school decisions.

Collaborating with Community: Looking for resources from the community that can strengthen school programs and activities.

The study was conducted in Onisha north of local government area in Anambra, State South East of Nigeria with a purpose of using concrete examples of parents’ practices in relation to their children’s literacy education in order to come up with a flame work for examining parents involvement and bring forward strategies that parents serve as intellectual resources for their children learning. Onyikwa and Obidike selected ten women living in a middle- income neighborhood whose children attended public schools in that area. They chose mothers only because according to Gadsden (2002), ” mothers are regarded as the default category in parent-child studies.” Data for the study was collected through semi-structured interviews. The main purpose of the interviews was to find out specific and in-depth information from a representative of Nigerian mothers on what they think and go through when raising own children and their literacy education, both in school and out of school( Anyikwa & Obidike, 2012,p. 62).

Anyikwa and Obidike(2012) found out that some of the ways the mothers were involved in their children’s literacy education might not fit ” schoolcetric” definitions of parental involvement given that the ten mothers interviewed were highly involved in the education of their children. Again, these researchers found out that the aspirations that the mothers had on the future of their children made them play an advocacy role in the education of their children(Anyikwa &Obidike, 2012.p 62)

Upon looking at this study, the researcher thinks it is important to further carry on more studies on the roles of parents on children’s classroom performance. This study was only conducted on ten mothers’ which means there was poor representations of results rather the findings did not represent the all mothers in the country. Also this study took place in Nigeria, so to find real work on the ground the researcher think it is important to conduct the research in Malawi context due to culture and economical status back grounds. The results will help the stakeholders to come up with ways and devise some strategies of encouraging parents to take part in the education of their children as this is one of their roles on the upbringing of their children.

Parenting styles

Kathryn Elizabeth Cramer conducted a research in 2002 to find out the influence of parenting styles on children’s classroom motivation. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between families’ processes, parenting styles in particular and children’s classroom motivation using families with young elementary aged children. The parenting styles to be examined against children’s classroom motivation as measured by children and teachers interviews were authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive (Crammer, 2002, p.2) This study was conducted to fulfil her requirement for her degree in master of science in the school of Human Ecology at Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.

The researcher requested people to take part in the study from the school boards of two school district of a middle-size southern City, selected private schools and University laboratory schools. Children and families from 18 of the public schools and one university took part in the study. The researcher mailed the survey to 431 families and two hundred seventy families responded to the survey which represented a rate of 63% ( Cramer, 2002, p.18)

Cramer collected the data using three separate instruments, thus the primary caregivers practices report, child scale, and teachers scale. The results were analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPPS). The researcher used age, race, education, income, employment and parent marital status, child’ gender and child’s house hold size as her demographic variables.

Cramer’s results of her study was not in support with her expectations that authoritative parenting style would be positively related to intrinsic motivation of the children and authoritarian and permissive parenting styles would be negatively related to the intrinsic motivation. Mothers authoritative was found out to be positively correlated with the learners mastery motivation from the first grade and authoritarian mothers were found to be correlated with the third grades( Cramer, 2002, p.49). The results of the study was inconclusive and difficult to interpret due to a mixture of expected and unexpected results and few significant relationship between parenting styles and children’s classroom motivation was established( Cramer, 2002,p.51).

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Having looked at Cramer’s results, there is a need to further investigate the relationship between parenting styles and children’s classroom performance. Most of the studies that were done were in developed countries hence there is a need to doing it here in Malawi due to cultural differences, religious beliefs and background information. The researcher think it is important to conduct this study in her own home district in order to find if there is a relationship and devise ways of encouraging the parents to find a good style of parenting that help their children achieve good grades in classroom work.

How each parenting style affect the performance of the child

Zahari et al.(2002) in their research described that parenting style captures two important

Elements of parenting these are parental responsiveness and parental demandingness. Parental

responsiveness is similar to parental warmth or supportiveness refers to the extent to which

parents intentionally foster individuality, self -regulation and self- assertion by being attuned,

supportive to children’s special needs and demand. Parental demandingness emphasizes

behavior control . It refers to claims parents make on children to become integrated into the

family as a whole, by their maturity demands, supervisions, disciplinary efforts and willingness

confront the child who disobeys. (Zahari et.al. 2002.p.1)


Santrock explains that this type of parenting is restrictive and punitive. He said that authoritarian parents exhort to follow their directions and respect them. Parents place firm limits and controls on their children and allow little verbal exchange (Santrock, 2009, p.80).

The author of Education Portals agrees with Santrock that authoritarian parents are extremely strict, controlling, demanding and unforgiving. He further says that authoritarian parents will give the child a swift and severe punishment without even trying to listen for an explanation (Education Portals, 2003.p2). According to Dr. Sal Severe the purpose of punishment is to teach children to behave better in the future, not to get even. He continues to say that sometimes children can make parents become angry, but this is not the time to hand out punishment. Punishment is most effective when it is predetermined and planned. Punishment does not work well as an impulsive reaction (Severe, 2000.p.125).

Wentzel and Russell adds that children exposed to authoritarian parenting style is moody, anxious, and well-behaved, and the child is an average to good student, and is a follower (Wentzel & Russell,2003). In agreement with Education Portal the child exposed to this type of parenting follows the rules at school better (Education-Portal, 2003).

In addition, Clark says that the Bible is not silent on authoritarian parenting. God has

provided some points and helpful words for those parents falling under the style. God reveals the damage authoritarianism causes in children and how to correct it. Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 are the words addressed to fathers. The message to mothers is addressed in Proverbs 1:8; 6:20. Scriptures clearly teaches that mothers are vital part of the parenting (Clark, 2003.p.43).


Santrock (2009, p.80) writes that children whose parents are authoritative often behave in socially competent ways. They tend to be self- reliant, delay gratification, get along with their peers and show high self-esteem. Shammi Sukh (2007) agrees with Santrock that good parenting is not just about raising one’s children and making them fit for a profession. It is about developing a wholesome personality bestowed with wisdom and intellect so that the child, instead of learning to merely count, learns about what counts in life (Sukh, 2007.p18). Children exposes to this type of parenting style are happy, responsible and furthermore, they are good at problem solving, they are self-motivated and confident and cooperative. They are usually excellent students and leaders (Wentzel and Russell, 2003, p6).

In agreeing with Santrock on the matter, Christenson and Peterson quotes Dornbusch who says that authoritative parenting which is characterized by establishing clear, enforcing rules, and encouraging discussion and joint decision making, is positively associated with students’ achievement for elementary and secondary students. They continuous to say that parental discipline characterized by setting clear standards, enforcing rules, and encouraging discussions, negotiations and independence is associated with positive academic outcomes (Christenson &Peterson,2011.p3).

Sean Douglas adds on the matter through his research he conducted in which he shows that parent’ involvement with the children’s schooling has been shown to effect student’s academic achievements. Using the construct of parenting styles authoritative parenting has been found to result in optional academic achievement among Caucasian students but research on parenting styles among African American and Latino students yielded mixed results(Douglas,2011.p3).

In agreeing with Douglas, Christenson and Peterson quotes Gonzalen as saying that parent’s involvement is even more likely to benefit students’ school success when it occurs within the authoritative parenting style. Douglas quotes Steinberg et, al. that “parenting accounted for variations in the overall positive effects of parental involvement. From that premise, families where parent involvement led to greater adolescent school achievement, the effectiveness of parent involvement was greater than families practicing authoritative parenting than those who were not.”He continues to say that academic achievement is attributed to the students’ perception of their parent’s educational expectations (Douglas 2011, p4).

Sonia Mital in her study confirmed that children expressed that their mothers exhibit higher levels of the authoritative parenting style, they were more likely to endorse mastery goals and display a greater personal interest in school (Mital, 2003, p.5) Wentel and Russell continue to agree by saying that the benefits of authoritative parenting have been documented mostly in samples of middle-class families in industrialized Western societies. However, some evidence indicates that parenting in working class and low socio-economic status families tends to be more authoritarian, with fathers using power assertive discipline more often than mothers. Children raised in more communal and extended family networks such as those found in Native American cultures, tend to be treated more permissively than European American children. Chinese mothers tend to demonstrate more controlling, authoritarian parenting practices than their European American counterparts. They further adds that research on age-related differences suggests that as children get older, outward displays of warmth and affection and direct disciplinary encounters by parents lessen, as verbal communication and discussion increase. Parents also tend to provide greater opportunities for autonomy and self-regulation as children enter adolescence and early adulthood (Wentel & Russell, 2003.p7)


Kendra Cherry says parents who exhibit permissive parenting style make relative few

demands upon their children because these parents have low expectations for self-control and

maturity, they rarely discipline their children Cherry quotes Baumrind who says that permissive

parents are more responsive that they are demanding. They are non traditional and lenient, do

not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation

(Cherry, 2012.p.1).

Santrock agrees with Cherry that indulgent is a parenting style in which parents are highly involved with their children but place few limits or restrictions on their behavior. These parents often let their children do what they want and get their way because they believe the combination of nurturing support and lack of restraints will produce a creative confident child. The result is that these children usually don’t learn to control their own behavior. These parents do not take into account the development of the whole child (Santrock, 2009, p.82).

Diana Baumrind concurs with Santrock as he says that Indulgent parenting is also referred to as permissive or nondirective parenting style. The inconsistency of the permissive style often leaves devoted parents grieving for their parenting mistakes. Permissive parents have the belief that really showing their child love and feeling their love in return is their ultimate goal in parenting. She further says that these parents do love their ultimate goal in parenting. They do love their ultimate goal in parenting. They do love their children and are highly bonded to them. But their relationship is one of equals rather than as parents to children (Baumrind, 1991, as cited in Cherry 2012, p.1). Baumrind says that to gain compliance from their children they will often to fight giving and even out right bribery rather than setting boundaries and expecting obedience. Permissive means to be lenient liberal, lax, and hands off (Baumrind, 1991, as cited in Cherry 2012, p.1). According to Baumrind, the Hallmarks of a permissive parenting style are as follows: the parent is responsible but understanding. The parent is accepting and affirmative of the child but makes few demands for responsibility or conduct. The permissive parent thus to take a tolerant accepting attitude toward the child’s wants and impulses, including sexual and aggressive impulses (Baumrind, 1991, www.consitent-parenting-advice.com).

Furthermore, Baumrind (1991) continues by saying that permissive parents have trouble saying no and setting boundaries and to avoid asserting authority or imposing controls or restrictions or indeed any confrontation wherever possible. She continues to say that findings for the permissive parenting style show that it appears to have more negative than positive effects with children often being impulsive, aggressive and lacking in independence and in personal responsibility. It is insecurity because of the lack of boundaries also creates problems which leave parents feeling perplexed after they have poured so much love into their children(extracted from www. Consistent -parenting-advice.com).

Baumrind says that a permissive parenting style often creates children who are demanding and selfish rather than loving and supportive in their approach to others. She further says that permissive homes because of the high responsiveness form parents have good self-esteem and better social skills. However they are also more likely to be involved in problem behavior and be less motivated in school through not having been held accountable for their own behavior. (Baumrind, 1991, extracted from www.constitent-parenting-advice.com).

Website of health practitioner agrees with Cherry and Baumrind that indulgent parents are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation. Indulgent parents may be further divided into two types: democratic parents, who, though lenient, are more conscientious, engaged, and committed to the child, and nondirective parents. (www.atheath practioners.com). The educational portal adds by saying that indulgent parents fail to set any standard for behavior, are tolerant of all behavior and give in to their child’s desires (Educational Portal, 2003, p 6). Graeme Paton concurs with the other authors by saying that over indulgent middle-class parents are fuelling a rise in bad behavior bad behavior in the classroom by failing to set boundaries for their children (Paton, 2012, p.1).

Wentzel and Russell adds on the matter by saying that children exposed from this parenting style are demanding and whiny, easily frustrated they lack kindness and empathy and usually poor to average students and are a follower (Wentzel & Russell, 2003.p.4). In greement with this, Cherry further says that permissive parenting involves a lack of demands and expectations, children raised by parents with this style tend to grow up without a strong sense of self- discipline. They may be more unruly in school due to lack of boundaries in the home and maybe less academically motivated than many of their peers (Cherry, 2012.p1).

Gwen Dewar agrees with Cherry that in a research conducted by Susie Lamborn found that students raised by permissive parents achieve less at school. They also had higher rates of school misconduct and substance abuse (Dewar, 2010.p.2).In the research Dewer suggests that permissiveness isn’t the best approach to parenting–at least not in places like the United States. But much as parents who let their kids disrupt other people’s lives, it’s not clear that everyone labelled as “permissive” is doing their children–or their neighbors–a disservice. As you might expect, it depends on how you define “permissive.” Being warm and emotionally responsive to children doesn’t make you “permissive.” And it certainly doesn’t make you a bad parent (Dewar, 2010.p.2).

The other form of permissive type of parenting style is that parents are not involved in their children’s lives (Santrock, 2009, p. 80). Clarke adds by saying that many parents do not realize the incredible value and importance of raising their children. Parenting gets in their way of what they really want to do in their lives. Their personal life is the priority and their kids get left-over (Clarke, 2003, p).

Sukh agrees with Santrock and Clarke that many parents think that giving time to their children will hamper their growth or make them rather meek, fussy or whatever. But the availability on the part of parents gives children a strong sense of worth, creating in them feeling of being wanted (2007, p.18). Cherry also says that neglectful parents are low in both responsiveness and demandingness. In extreme cases, this parenting style might encompass both rejecting-neglecting and neglectful parents, although most parents of this type fall within the normal range (2012, p.1).

Santrock agrees by saying that children of neglectful parents often behave in socially incompetent ways. They tend to have poor self -control, they do not handle independence well and they are not achievement motivated (2009 p.81). According to Wentzel and Russell who said that children exposed to this type of parenting are clucky and needy, inappropriate and rude. They are likely to get into trouble; usually they are poor student and followers (Wentzel & Russell (2003 p.3).

Upon looking at all what other researchers found out on the parenting styles and their effects on children’s behaviour and achievements, this researcher think it is important to go on the ground to find out if those things stated really exist. Most of the things were conducted on desk so there is a need for going to the real world and find out what really is there.


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