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Parenting Styles of Young Adults Research Paper



The authoritative parenting style has positive effects on the psychological well-being and academic performance of young adults. It creates self-efficacy that encourages young adults to put more effort into their studies. The authoritarian parenting style encourages better academic performance using extrinsic motivation in some ethnic/ racial groups. It is more effective than the permissive style in reducing the possibility of teenagers using restricted substances.

The permissive parenting style is associated with high levels of creativity among students than the other parenting styles. The authoritative parenting style is associated with warmth, responsiveness, and making demands. The authoritarian style is expressed through high-handedness and denying children a chance to give their views. Permissive parents allow self-regulation as they rarely enforce their restrictions (Turner, Chandler, & Heffer, 2009). Parenting is not the mediating factor between better performance and young adults because there are other factors that directly affect academic performance.


The paper is derived from articles that analyze surveys about the outcome of parenting style on the youth. The findings of the articles form the main points in the document. The paper focuses on three parenting styles that have different effects on the development of young adults.


The authoritative parenting style has been linked positively with the academic performance of college students. Turner, Chandler, & Heffer (2009) elaborate through their research on college students that the authoritative parenting style may influence self-efficacy in college students. Self-efficacy is associated with better performance in college students. Self-efficacy is developed from childhood and sustained through adulthood in an authoritative parenting style environment.

Self-efficacy is associated with increased student effort measured by hours spent on reading books. It also increases success rates in other life activities, such as business and sports (Turner, Chandler, Heffer, 2009). The authoritative parenting style helps develop self-efficacy in children who are able to grow with it to adulthood. Self-efficacy is low in environments where parents show a higher level of control over children.

The authoritative style enhances factors that contribute to better academic performance. Chan & Koo (2010) conducted research among teenagers in the UK that showed that the authoritative parenting style influences better academic results compared with the other two parenting styles. Students with parents using authoritative parenting had higher GCSE exam results and were likely to remain with higher scores in tertiary education. However, Chan & Koo (2010) give caution that parenting style is not the only factor that affects academic performance. As a result, it cannot be the mediating factor between youths and better academic performance. Parenting style enhances other factors that help students to perform well at school.

The authoritative parenting style has been linked to positive academic performance in college students (Rothrauff, Cooney, & An, 2009). The authoritarian parenting style may have positive effects in some ethnicities. Turner, Chandler, Heffer (2009) discuss that students from Asian American parents using authoritarian style had better performance than their counterparts. It shows that the authoritarian parenting style may have positive academic performance depending on the ethnic/ racial background of the student.

Students that had a good performance in their childhood may be encouraged to put more effort than those who had lower scores. Turner, Chandler, Heffer (2009) explain that good performance reinforces itself. Once students start to perform better academically, they are more likely to engage in actions that enhance their performance. Parents who support the better performance of their children may have a lasting influence on their performance as young adults.

The authoritative parenting style has its effect on creating intrinsic motivation in early childhood that is sustained through adulthood. Turner, Chandler, Heffer (2009) explain that intrinsic motivation is developed from an internal drive to make an achievement. Enjoyment is created by engaging in the activity. Extrinsic motivation relies on external factors that are associated with achievement. A reward and fame are examples of extrinsic motivators. The authoritative parenting style generates intrinsic motivation in students, which enables them to have better academic performance.

Different studies have indicated that better academic performance is not confined to the authoritative parenting style. The authoritarian parenting style may also encourage better academic performance using extrinsic motivation (Turner, Chandler, Heffer, 2009). Some of the students may perform better academically in order to please their parents. The need to please their parents is extrinsic motivation. Parents using the authoritarian parenting style may issue rewards to encourage their children to perform well.

Exposure to different parenting styles may have an effect on the level of creativity exhibited by high-ability and high-achieving students. Miller, Lambert, & Neumeister (2012) conducted research that found out that there is a negative relationship between the authoritarian parenting style and creativity. The permissive parenting style showed a positive relationship with the level of creativity in high-ability students. The study focused on college students and the level of creativity measured through problem-solving abilities.

The effects of the permissive parenting style and the authoritarian style on creativity are opposite to each other because the characteristics of the two styles are exactly opposite. The permissive parenting style has high levels of responsiveness that increase creativity (Miller, Lambert, & Neumeister, 2012). High acceptance levels found in the permissive style reduce socially prescribed perfectionism and self-oriented perfectionism that have negative effects on creativity. The authoritarian style has the opposite characteristics. It has high ‘demandingness’ that increases the types of perfectionisms that inhibit creativity. It has low levels of acceptance that also increase perfectionism.

Perfectionism is an attribute that has been linked with inhibiting creativity. Environments controlled by the authoritarian style have the ability to create self-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism. Miller, Lambert, & Neumeister (2012) discuss three types of perfectionism. Self-oriented perfectionism occurs when an individual set to achieve personal goals that are not realistic. Socially prescribed perfectionism is when an individual thinks that other people have set unrealistic goals for them to achieve. Other-oriented perfectionism is when one sets high standards for others that they are unlikely to achieve (Miller, Lambert, & Neumeister, 2012). The conditional acceptance found in the authoritarian style is associated with high levels of perfectionism that lowers the level of creativity in college students.

Lower creativity level in college students is derived from low self-efficacy. Low self-efficacy is developed through exposure to environments controlled by the authoritarian parenting style. Miller, Lambert, & Neumeister (2012) discuss that the frequency of criticism and judgment found in authoritarian parenting has an effect of making children feel they are poor in most of the activities they do. As a result, children grow up doubting their abilities. It leads to lower creativity levels in college students.

The authoritative parenting style has a weak effect on the level of creativity shown by college students. The effect of the authoritative parenting style did not reach a significant level in influencing creativity in high-ability students (Miller, Lambert, & Neumeister, 2012). The authoritative style tends to have aspects of the authoritarian and permissive parenting styles that make it have a weak influence on creativity.

The effect of the attributes found in the parenting styles can be studied in isolation. Skinner, Johnson, & Snyder (2005) divide the attributes of parenting into six categories to allow for an effective study of their effects. In the six categories, three are associated with positive parenting. The other three are their opposites. The three constructs associated with positive parenting include warmth, structure, and autonomy support. Warmth means expressing love and care.

Structure refers to the ability to give information that enables one to make the right choices and have consistent discipline. Autonomy support allows children to express their feelings and to make personal choices (Skinner, Johnson, & Snyder, 2005). The other three categories include coercion, chaos, and hostility/ rejection. Different parenting styles may consist of a combination of these categories. Chaos and warmth are a combination that forms the permissive parenting style.

Support had the strongest effect in creating independence, self-worth, and overall competence. It influenced young adults to avoid substance use and problematic behavior. Chaos is a state of uncontrolled and inconsistent discipline. It is associated with reduced commitment to school activities and poor academic performance. Coercion is also linked with poor academic performance and commitment to school activities. Rejection, chaos, and coercion had higher positive correlation coefficients for unwanted behaviors on young adults (Skinner, Johnson, & Snyder, 2005). Coercion and structure are a combination associated with the authoritarian style.

Warmth contributes to most of the positive effects of good parenting. In their research, Skinner, Johnson, & Snyder (2005) found out that warmth, structure, and autonomy support had a positive relationship with academic performance, commitment to school activities, positive social behavior, independence of problem-solving, decision-making, and self-worth. Warmth had a higher positive correlation with academic performance, school commitment, and competent social behavior. It also had a higher negative correlation between substance use and problematic behaviors.

Warmth has many positive effects, which makes it be regarded as the most important attribute. Skinner, Johnson, & Snyder (2005) explain that the authoritative parenting style is a better parenting style because it consists of combinations of the best categories. It is likely to create an environment that creates independence, positive social behavior, less substance use, and self-worth. A parent will have to combine warmth with structure or autonomy support for her to exhibit the authoritative parenting style. The end effect of the authoritative parenting style is better than the separate effect of individual categories.

Warmth may be important to solve the behavioral problems that are associated with children under kin caregivers. Kin caregivers are relatives who have taken over from the real parents in taking care of the child. Richardson & Gleeson (2012) found out that family functioning is affected by the parenting style of the caregiver. If the family is functioning properly, the teenager under a kin caregiver will not have behavioral problems. Good family functioning is shown by behavior control and a good distribution of roles played by members of the family. Richardson and Gleeson (2012) emphasize the use of warmth to help children under a kin caregiver to develop positive social behavior.

Children respond to the different styles by either exposing their behavioral problems or internalizing them. Williams et al. (2009) conducted research that found that internalizing behavioral problems increases in the authoritarian parenting style as the child matures. It means that young adults learn through time to hide their social problems. Young adults in the authoritative parenting environment change less over time about internalizing their problems and inhibiting their behavior.

However, the study indicates that the authoritarian style may have greater externalizing of problems in school for younger children in preschool stage compared with authoritative parenting (William et al., 2009). It changes over time to favor children under authoritative parenting environments as they become older. Internalizing of problems is associated with negative effects, such as depression and anxiety.

Children who inhibit and internalize their problems are associated with difficulty in making and sustaining social relationships. Williams et al (2009) elaborate that the problems developed in childhood intensify as the child reaches adolescence. Permissive parenting style is not related to behavior inhibition in adolescents. Rothrauff, Cooney, & An (2009) found out that there is no significant difference in the outcome of permissive parenting and authoritative parenting in the psychological well-being of young adults. Parents may respond to problematic child behavior by becoming more authoritarian.

Youths raised in an authoritative setting have a higher ability of regulating their emotion towards changes in the external environment. Williams, Ciarrochi, & Heaven (2012) conducted a study among Australian students that shows that students with authoritative parents are more psychologically flexible to their external environment than those from the authoritarian setting. The psychological flexibility and self-regulated emotions experienced in adolescent are sustained to early adulthood. Psychological flexibility refers to the ability of the young adult to respond positively to changes in the social and external environment.

Someone would expect the youths from permissive parenting to be happier than those from the authoritative parenting. Chan & Koo (2010) discuss that youth from the permissive and authoritarian environments are more likely to be sad than those from the authoritative parenting environment. Children raised by permissive parents may lack the habit of making informed choices, which may result in increased instances of sadness.

Permissive parents lack the informed structure discussed by Skinner, Johnson, & Snyder (2005). In the authoritarian setting, children may be forced to engage in activities that they dislike, which are not essential to their development. Authoritarian parents do not support autonomy as discussed by Skinner, Johnson, & Snyder (2005). As a result of weakness in the combination of attributes displayed by their parents, youths from permissive and authoritarian environments have an increased chance of feeling unhappy.

Parents should be more authoritative with girls than they are with boys, considering that girls are easily worried. Chan & Koo (2010) found out that girls have a higher chance of feeling worried and sad than boys. The study also indicates that girls have a high chance of feeling less valued by their parents than boys. The finding indicates that parents may need to be more authoritative with girls than boys. Girls are unlikely to engage in risky behavior compared with boys of a similar age group. Risky behavior includes activities such as use of drugs and engaging in fights. Parents may respond to girls’ good behavior by becoming more authoritative than they are with boys in the same family.

The authoritative parenting style reduces the chance that the youth will ever use restricted substances. Chan & Koo (2010) found out that the rate of using substances increases five times among youths with permissive parents than those with authoritative parents. When the authoritative and authoritarian settings are compared, youths have an 89 percent chance of using substances in the authoritarian setting than the authoritative (Chan & Koo, 2010).

Someone would expect the authoritarian parenting style to create fear for using restricted substances. However, frequent discussion between the child and parents is more effective than the authoritarian parenting style. The authoritative style also discourages youths from having friends who abuse drugs (DeVore & Ginsburg, 2005). Having friends who use restricted substances may increase the chance of youths succumbing to peer pressure. Permissive parents create an environment that encourages consumption of restricted substances.

The authoritative parenting style reduces the chance of engaging in sexual acts among teenagers. DeVore and Ginsburg (2005) discuss that girls with authoritative mothers were unlikely to engage in sex prematurely or get pregnant in their teen age. Authoritative parenting creates an environment of externalizing problems that enables parents to prevent the occurrence of an unwanted situation by providing facts and options.

The frequency of using different parenting styles varies across races and ethnicities. Their effect on the youth may also change depending on racial/ ethnic background (Rothrauff, Cooney, & An, 2009). In some ethnicities, youths expect their parents to be authoritarian, such as in Asian American families. Varela et al. (2004) discusses that Mexican American parents may be more authoritarian than the Caucasian non-Hispanic parents.

Turner, Chandler, & Heffer (2009) discuss that the authoritarian parenting style may have positive effects on Asian American academic performance. Among Whites, young adults are more likely to be depressed under the authoritarian setting compared with other races. Parents may choose a parenting style depending on their ethnic/ racial background provided it does not affect the psychological development of the child.


The authoritarian parenting style may inhibit the psychological development of adolescents, which may affect their psychological regulation as young adults. The authoritative parenting style has more positive effects on young adults than other parenting styles. It is associated with better academic performance, high self-efficacy levels, psychological well-being, and less involvement in risky behavior among young adults. However, it does not show a significant positive relationship with creativity among youths. The permissive parenting style increases the likelihood of encouraging creativity among young adults than the other parenting styles. The permissive style also has a high chance of encouraging young adults to engage in risky behavior, such as substance use.


Parents should be encouraged to use the authoritative parenting style because it has more positive effects on academic performance and the psychological well-being of young adults. Parents should not expect the authoritative parenting style to produce better academic performance by itself because better performance relies on other factors that directly affect academic performance. The authoritative style enhances those factors that directly affect better academic performance, such self-efficacy and commitment to school activities. On one hand, the permissive parenting style increases creativity. On the other hand, it is associated with an increased chance of encouraging the use of restricted substances among young adults than those in the authoritative and authoritarian setting.

Research indicates that the permissive parenting style does not result in happier young adults compared with the authoritative style. Young adults raised in the permissive setting may lack guidance that enables them to make informed decisions, which may be the cause of their sadness. The authoritarian parenting style does not prevent young adults from engaging in risky behavior better than the authoritative style. Apart from creating anxiety and depression, the authoritarian style also increases the likelihood of using restricted substances among the youth. The authoritative style has more positive effects than the other parenting styles.


Chan, T., & Koo, A. (2010). Parenting style and youth outcomes in the UK. European Sociological Review, 27, 385-399.

DeVore, E., & Ginsburg, K. (2005). The protective effects of good parenting on adolescents. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 17, 460-465.

Miller, L. A., Lambert, A. D., & Neumeister, K. L. (2012). Perfectionism, and creativity in high-ability and high-achieving young adults. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 35, 344-365.

Richardson, R. C., & Gleeson, J. P. (2012). Family functioning, parenting style, and child behavior in kin foster care. The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 93, 11-122.

Rothrauff, T., Cooney, T., & An, J. (2009). Remembered parenting styles and adjustment in middle and late adulthood. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 64, 137-146.

Skinner, E., Johnson, S., & Snyder, T. (2005). Six dimensions of parenting: a motivational model. Parenting: Science and Practice, 5, 175-236.

Turner, E., Chandler, M., & Heffer, R. (2009). The influence of parenting styles, achievement motivation, and self-efficacy on academic performance in college students. Journal of College Student Development, 50, 337-346.

Varela, R., Vernberg, E., Sanchez-Sosa, J., Riveros, A., Mitchell, M., & Mashunkashey, J. (2004). Parenting style of Mexican, Mexican American, and Caucasian Non- Hispanic families: social context and cultural influences. Journal of Family Psychology, 18, 651-657.

Williams, L., Degnan, K., Perez-Edgar, K., Henderson, H., Rubin, K., Pine, D., & Steinberg, L. (2009). Impact of behavioral inhibition and parenting style on internalizing and externalizing problems from early childhood through adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 1063-1075.

Williams, K., Ciarrochi, J., & Heaven, P. (2012). Inflexible parents, inflexible kids: A 6- year longitudinal study of parenting style and the development of psychological flexibility in adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 1053-1066.

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