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         Families form the first
and most important social and emotional context in the development of a child.  Consequently, the family structure and function
are integral to the psychological development of the child. Psychological
development is the development of human beings’ cognitive,
emotional, intellectual and social capabilities and functioning over the course
of the life span, from infancy through old age (
In raising a child, families use different parenting and disciplinary styles depending
on their belief and expectations for the child. Therefore, discipline, involves
different methods parents use to prevent the occurrence of future behavioural problems.
This might involve the use of reasonable force or reasonable punishments to
educate or train the child. On the other hand, parenting styles can be defined
as a psychological construct, which represents the standard strategy parents
utilize in raising their children.

          There are four different types of parenting
style. First, authoritarian style where the parents make the rules and do not
consider the feelings and opinions of the child. Second, the authoritative
style, parent’s makes rules and breaking those rules comes with consequences;
however, consideration is given to the feelings and opinions of the child.
Third, the permissive parents set rules but hardly enforce them. Their mantra
is always ‘kids will be kids’ (Morin, 2018). Fourth, the uninvolved parenting
style where there are no rules, less nurturing and less guidance. According to
Berger (2015), “authoritarian parents raise children who are obedient, quiet
but not overly happy, permissive parents, children who lack self-control,
especially in give or take relationships, authoritative parents, children who
are successful articulate , happy etc. and neglectful parents immature, sad , lonely
and at risk or abuse or injury” (p. 325).  

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           There are number of factors such as culture,
maladaptive parenting strategies, circumstance-surrounding conception etc., which
determines the type of parenting style or disciplinary style parent’s use as
well as the effects on the child.  This
has given rise to ongoing debates on the best form of parenting style and
disciplinary measures because while some cultures utilize child discipline and
punishment, others do not. Additionally, arguments have pointed out that while
some parenting styles influences the development of a child positively, others
contribute to some psychological impairments in the child.

          Cultural beliefs and variations differ
amongst parents especially on the best type of parenting style. United States
parents of Chinese, Caribbean or African heritage are stricter than those of European
background are, but their children develop better than other (Berger, 2015 p.
326). This is a result of cultural beliefs and norm surrounding the family
therefore having less negative impact on the children. Seay, Jahrom, Umaña-Taylor
and Updegraf (2015) suggested that maladaptive parenting practices are
transmitted across generations and that exposure to these maladaptive practices
is associated with children’s developmental outcomes. Although externalizing
problems is viewed as a norm and developmental milestone in childhood, Seay et
al (2015) argued that children who exhibit problem behaviors would continue to
do so even when they enter school. Additionally, in a context of high stress
family, externalizing problems will endure if especially the mother uses harsh

          Researchers Sorkhabi and Mandara (2013)
have offered a compelling argument in favour of the authoritative parenting
style noting that the culture and social context of families can affect the
outcome of any parental style. In their research on the cultural differences in
parental style, they argued that European-American children are more competent,
better adjusted emotionally and highly overachieving and unlikely to use illicit
drugs or get involved in maladaptive behaviours because their parents use the
authoritative parenting style.  Therefore,
comparing African American to European American parents, Sorkhabi and Mandara (2013)
observed that African American parents used high enforcement of rules and did
not encourage individuality in their pre-school age girls than their European
American counterparts.

          However, with the scientific data
presented, it was surprising to note that contrary to the parenting style received
by the African American girls, they grew to be more assertive and showed more
independence than the European American girls show. The reason for this assertive
behaviour is that the African American girls did not view the authoritarian
parenting style they received as restrictive or less nurturing, they however,
identified with their strong mothers to emulate them (Sorkhabi & Mandara,
2013).  In line with this, authoritative
parenting style can be associated with a high level of mental health, fewer behavioural
problems and associated with a child’s self-regulation skills and better behavioural
ratings from teachers (Sorkhabi & Mandara, 2013 p. 126).   

          Olson, Tardif, Miller, Felt, Grabell,
Kessler, Wang, Karasawa, Hirabayashi (2011) suggested that parents behavioral
strategies is related to the development of good or bad self-regulation skills
in children. This idea was coined from a study conducted investigating the cross-cultural
effects of high emotional and physical punitive measures on levels of problem
externalization and self-regulation among children. The study, which included four-year-old
boys and girl’s participants, growing up in the United States, the Peoples
Republic of China, and Japan showed significant differences in culture and
externalizing problems in children. Additionally, the research showed that in
all three countries, harsh discipline showed a significant contribution to
child externalizing problems (Olson et al, 2011). Comparing the research conducted
by Sorkhabi and Mandara (2013) which suggested that African American girls showed
high assertive behavior with an authoritarian parenting style, Olson et al
(2011) reasoned that individual differences might be a reason why some children
show positive behavioral outcomes when harsh discipline is used.  Moreover, other variables such as child’s temperament,
parent’s personality and social context (Berger 2015 p. 326) can affect the
outcome of parenting strategies.

          Many parents believe that the use of
punishments or authoritarian style of parenting will make children behave according
to their dictates or desist from repeating the negative behavior. Fear, pain
and to such parents, is one-thing children do not like associating with hence
the prevalence of punishments. Contrary to this belief, spanking children can
make them more likely and not less to behave because at a point, it becomes a
norm for them and yields no positive result when used. Berger (2015) pointed
out that although authoritarian parents raise children who become obedient,
conscientious etc., they are not especially happy. These children tend to feel
guilty and depressed, blaming themselves when things go wrong and consequently becoming
rebels in adolescents (p. 325).

          With considerable literature
suggesting the association between parenting styles and its effect on the psychological
development of a child, Zarra-Nezhad, Kiuru, Aunola, Zarra-Nezhad, Ahonen, Poikkeus,
and Nurmi (2014) examined the joint effects of children’s social withdrawal and
mothers’ and fathers’ parenting styles on children’s socioemotional development.
Social withdrawal is a consistent display of solitary behavior when
encountering familiar or unfamiliar peers across situations and over time
(Zarra-Nezhad et al, 2014). In terms of parenting styles, dimensions such as affection
or warmth, behavioural control and psychological control was identified to be
associated with children’s socioemotional development. Thus, according to
Zarra-Nezhad (2014), a warm and responsive parent promotes the development of a
positive emotional regulation and social skill is developed (p.1261). A parent,
who is consistent in discipline, setting limits and demanding maturity,
promotes adaptive child development and low levels of externalizing problem behaviour. Finally, when there is a high level of psychological
control, issues such as internalizing problems, depression and anxiety develops.

          Del Toro, Scholar and Morgan (n.d.), in
a research study on the effects of parenting style and conflict management techniques,
using harsh punishment and negotiations as a paradigm for conflict management techniques
suggests that the use of psychological or physical maltreatment in conflict
management tactic can negatively affect the development of a child. Using harsh
punishments for children can lead to the forms of aggression and other anti-social
behaviors such as bullying because these children may learn to resolve
conflicts with aggression or violence and possibly cause harm to others.  On the other hand, if parents utilize negotiation
strategies, which has been shown to have positive effects and aids in
parent-child bonding, children learn to utilize positive behaviors when
resolving conflicts. In the words of Del Tor et al (n.d.), ‘negotiation
techniques implemented by both parent and child are crucial to a healthy and
supportive relationship within the family’. Furthermore, the development of a
low self-esteem has been linked to the type of parenting style a child receives.
Children who experience harsh disciple, especially by the mothers often become depressed
adolescents and significant levels of low self-esteem.




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