This paper seeks to undertake a research on different parenting styles and how they affect growth and development of adolescent children. The purpose of this research is to indicate aspects relating to parenting and their subsequent impact on behavior in adolescents.
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Parenting is both an art and a science as it seeks to offer emotional and physical support to an infant from the onset of childhood until their maturity into adulthood. These infants are dependent on their parents until they reach a stage where they are self reliant and self sufficient (Harper, 2012). Parenting is a key aspect in the family life as it engages nurturing young child to be adults based on pre-determined norms and values.
There is no particular formula for good parenting as it entails acquisition of a variety of skills ranging from flexibility, perceptiveness, patience and high levels of personal discipline. These skills are vital to ensure that as an adolescent child undergoes behavioral changes, the parent is in a position to anticipate and control the adolescent’s behavior.
Significance of the study
The adolescent period of development refers to a stage that every human being has to undergo. However, adolescent children undergo a variety of developmental changes that require parents to understand their behavior to easily accommodate them. Some of the changes which the children go through revolve around emotional, biological, mental and social changes, which require them to adapt to changing situations.
The purpose of this research is to enable parents understand how to apply the right kind of parenting style on children undergoing adolescence. It further seeks to highlight and discuss different parenting styles to facilitate smooth relationships between parents and their children during this period of their lives.
The literature review highlights previous insights that have been advanced by scholars in the past relating to parenting. Parenting styles refer to approaches regarding childbearing based on aspects of control (degree of parental control) and responsiveness (often referred to as parental warmth).
This section analyzes the major types of parenting styles and further looks into suggested styles that have been attributed to successful adolescent upbringing. Development in adolescent children is influenced by a variety of factors, mainly parenting (Rankin, 2005).
The major types of parenting styles include authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved parenting. Different stages of child development demand for a style of parenting that is appropriate to that situation. Furthermore, different cultural and ethnic settings impact the kind of style applied by parents.
More often than not, past experience (relating to how parents were raised) may negatively or positively impact how parents raise their adolescent children. Below is a discussion of the types of parenting.
Authoritative parents generally exercise a level of parental warmth despite eliciting strictness. They encourage their children to become self reliant and independent. They are willing to engage in dialogue with their children to determine the best way forward for both parties.
Despite allowing children to contribute to decision making, parents are clear on their boundaries and children understand that the overarching responsibility of discipline lies on their parents (Sigelman and Rider, 2011).
Adolescent children from such families are socially empowered and are in a better decision to develop social relationships better. Furthermore they are more competent as they exercise a level of independence and responsibility. Adolescent children from this style have the notion that their parents value their emotions. This makes authoritative parenting a democratic style of parenting (Sigelman and Rider, 2011).
Authoritarian parents demonstrate a lot of parental control, however their warmth towards their children is demanding. They invoke a feeling of ‘I am the boss’ around their children due to the fact that whatever they say goes and should not be discussed. They set their own standards and expect their children to strictly adhere to them without question or referral.
This is however not the best style of parenting to be applied on adolescents as such children may end up being rebellious as they desire to be independent. The disadvantage of this style of parenting is that it over-estimates the value of discipline and forgets to highlight the importance of independence and self reliance, which is vital for maturity of an adolescent child (Bjorklund and Blasi, 2011).
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Permissive parents are passive; they are gullible to their adolescent children’s demands. They fear disappointing their children and end up saying yes to all their demands. They do not view themselves as major contributors towards decisions made by adolescent children. They sit back and allow nature to take its course.
As a result, adolescents growing up in such settings are not used to disciplinary action and lack respect for rules and regulations. Adolescent children in such families have issues with exercising self control and are usually used to having their way. The result is depression and anxiety in the event that things do not work their way (Schaffer and Kipp, 2009).
This is one of the most unfortunate types of parenting. The word is simple, the parents are uninvolved. They make no contributions to decision making on matters that influence adolescent children’s lives. They basically have an ‘I do not care attitude’ that allows children to do whatever they want. They neither exercise any form of control nor display any kind of affection towards their children.
In this case, parents do not spend quality time with their children and this negatively impacts children at the adolescent stage. Most parents involved in this style of parenting have misplaced priorities and are usually pre-occupied in other activities which they hold in high regard at the expense of their children. Some of the activities that such parents may be involved in include drug abuse, crime and addictions to alcohol.
Adolescent children in this kind of setting end up being very reserved and have problems establishing social relations. Communication is also a challenge and they have impulsive behaviors (Brooks, 2000).
Previous research on parenting styles
A proper balance between the degree of control and warmth (or responsiveness) should be established to raise a child properly. Different stages in child development call for the application of a different style of parenting.
Among the listed parenting styles highlighted above, developmental psychologists have cited that the authoritative style of parenting is the best for raising adolescent children in a manner that ensures wholeness and desired positive development. This is due to the fact that such children end up understanding the importance of self reliance and are nurtured towards being independent.
Despite the adherence to standards and rules, such children understand the importance of these rules and the relevance of the same. They do not simply follow regulations blindly; rather, they understand the rationale behind existence of standards. However, psychologists have equally cited that an adolescent’s behavior may determine the kind of parenting style applied by parents.
If the child is responsive, obedient and accommodative, parents are likely to exercise authoritative parenting. Irresponsible, de-motivated and uncooperative adolescents may end up having parents who are either uninvolved or authoritarian and usually have poor self esteem. As a result, they engage in drugs and are often suicidal (Mruk, 2006).
Research questions and hypothesis
Research questions are the guiding principles of the research. They seek to provide answers to objectives of the research. The research question to be employed in this study is:
What is the impact of parental styles to adolescent behavior?
The variables that are under study comprise of independent and dependent variables. The dependent variables are behavior, growth and development of an adolescent child. The independent variable is the parenting style applied.
Parental styles have no significant impact on adolescent behavior.
Parental styles have a significant impact on adolescent behavior.
For this kind of research, a quantitative method will be applied and hypothesis used to test the validity of the research. The use of quantitative research supports the establishment of a relationship between one variable (independent) and another variable (dependent).
It requires numerical analysis to understand underlying motives and provide objective evidence to describe patterns in elements comprising the population. Quantitative research supports inquiry into a specified problem and thereby goes on to use statistical techniques to provide meaning to the data collected (Prunckun, 2010).
Reasons for use of quantitative research
The research will incorporate the use of quantitative research due to the fact that the research will be more objective and logical. The aim of this research is to develop generalizations to enable the researcher understand cause and effect including occurrence of phenomena.
The method to be applied is experimental which will entail true experiments characterized by random assignment of population elements to different situations. This is because raising adolescents occurs in a variety of different environments hence the need to test each of the reactions based on the parenting style being applied.
A research design is a detailed plan of how the research will be conducted according to the nature of data required in order to investigate the research hypotheses or questions in an economic manner. The research design presents the determination and approach for the study. It entails defining the population, sampling, procedures, measures, ethical protection of participants and tests of validity (Kothari, 2007).
The population forms a group of people or objects which are similar in one or more ways and which form the subject of study. From the population, the sample will be selected. For the purposes of accuracy, speed, depth of information and costs involved, a sample will be drawn from the population residing in neighborhoods in Boston.
Having identified the target population as families in Boston, inferences will be made from the findings that will equally be used as a reference to other enterprises. According to Kothari (2007), a sampling frame is the list of a group or a cluster which forms the basis of the sampling processes where a representative sample is drawn for the purpose of research.
The sample frame defines the units from which the sample will be drawn. The sampling technique employed was random stratified sampling. In as the elements had a known chance of being selected for the purpose of research.
This section highlights the treatments, conditions and interventions. For this particular research, the treatment will be the specific situations in which the group or elements under study are exposed to. In this case, the elements are in a family setting and observation expects to highlight day to day activities and how the respondents relate to each other.
For this research, introducing a condition will imply putting the parent and child in a position where they are required to make a decision to demonstrate their level of control and demand. Introducing a need for decision making affects behavior and parenting style applied.
Interventions are defined to assist in keeping the research back on track. In the event of issues like failure to communicate effectively, the intervention would be instrumental in encouraging the use of proper communication channels to facilitate interaction between the elements. This reiterates the importance of communication (Devore, 2006).
To measure degree of control, the research intends to use defined scales. The scale is designed in a manner that defines levels in terms of total or full control, medium control, minimal control or no control at all.
This will be observed through decisions made, chores assigned and feedback given by adolescent children under study. This scale is specific to this particular study. Temperament levels among adolescents will be measured to examine how they react to situations when dealing with their parents.
Validity of the research
The validity of the research determines the extent of acquisition of accurate results. The questionnaires must be tested for reliability and validity on a small sample before being administered in the field. The questionnaire is tested for biasness and the leading questions are identified and eliminated or rephrased.
The researcher should emphasize the purpose of the research to the respondents. Validity is equally raised on matters relating to sample size. The sample size must be representative to allow making of generalizations which are inclusive. If the sample is inappropriate, the results of the findings will be inaccurate.
Role of the researcher
The researcher will be actively involved in administration of the questionnaire. This is to facilitate clarifications in the event of ambiguous questions which the respondent is challenged. The questionnaire will be designed in a way that eliminates the possibility of leading questions, therefore bias will not occur.
The role of the researcher will be to continuously answer queries and provide guidance to respondents in the event that they encounter challenges. The researcher must possess problem solving skills and have a good grasp of the knowledge area under study.
The researcher should uphold objectivity and always rely on factual evidence to reach to conclusions. The researcher is responsible for providing the findings of the research without concealing any information.
The sample size intended for the study is a total of 150 elements due to the fact that the sample needs to be sufficient and representative. This is due to the fact that the sample is homogenous in terms of age and practices hence making it all inclusive. The choice of this sample was influenced by restrictions on time and cost which negated the possibility of a larger sample.
Sample and Context
The sample will take into consideration certain characteristics of the population. The age of adolescent children being observed will be between the ages of 13 to 19. The genders to be examined include both male and female. Ethnic background will include American and Black American settings. Educational levels will incorporate all levels of education to facilitate an inclusive sample.
The choice of sampling method implies that the division into strata was to be based on area of residence. To further advance this technique, convenience sampling due to the advantage of human choice will be used.
The research attempts to obtain a sample of convenient elements having determined their ethnic differences. The researcher will interact with the respondents based on house visits and observation of parental routines. Door to door visits in random neighborhoods will be conducted.
Data type and Collection
The method to be employed by this research to collect data from the samples is questionnaires and observation. Primary data will be collected using a structured questionnaire that will seek to answer questions on demographics. The reason for choosing the use of a questionnaire was due to the fact that it is cost effective. They are also easy to analyze in terms of data entry and tabulation despite its familiarity to most people.
Furthermore, the researchers own opinions do not influence the respondents answers as there are no verbal and visual clues hence making them unbiased. The experiment will use the observation method. The reason behind choosing observation is due to the fact that the researcher has no influence on the behavior of the variables (Haslam and McGarty, 2003).
The questionnaires will be analyzed together with the interviews to determine the variability of the data collected. Data will be analyzed and consolidated to analyze deviance among the variables. The information gained about the interdependencies can be used later to reduce the set of variables in a dataset.
Data will be evaluated and represented by use of bar charts and pie charts to represent influences of parental styles on adolescent behavior. The data will be represented in the form of pie charts, graphs and tabulations showing ratios.
The analyzed data will provide ratios that determine the validity of the null and alternative hypothesis. Observation of the elements will be undertaken by a research assistant and thereby provide summaries based on checklists which will be consolidated into graphs and charts to determine correlations between the dependent and the independent variables.
Ethical protection of participants
Parents and adolescents that form part of sampling elements under study may be unwilling to disclose information regarding their relations with their parents. One major consideration is to make the results of the findings known to these parents as well as make public the recommendations without bias and exposure of respondents. Respondents’ contributions should be treated in confidentiality.
Furthermore, the purpose of the research should be revealed to the respondents. Respondents will be assured that the information they provide will be strictly used for the basis of research and not be provided to third parties. Lastly, the results of the findings must be communicated to the respondents appropriately and made public to interested stakeholders.
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Haslam, A. S., & McGarty, C. (2003).Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
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Mruk, C. (2006). Self-Esteem, Research, Theory and Practice. New York, USA: Springer Publishing Company.
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Sigelman, C.K., & Rider, E.A. (2011). Life Span Human Development. California. USA: Cengage Learning.