Lessons in Learning - December 13, 2007
Series: Lessons in Learning
Authors: Canadian Council on Learning (CCL)
Collection: Research Materials
This paper summarizes recent research on parenting styles and highlights a number of programs aimed at helping parents improve their skills.
The authors explain that parenting styles can be defined along two dimensions: responsiveness, which measures how well the parent is attuned to the child; and control, or how much the parent supervises and disciplines the child and requires obedience and self-control. Those two dimensions determine whether a parent is authoritative, demonstrating high levels of both control and responsiveness; authoritarian, demonstrating a high level of control and a low level of responsiveness; permissive, demonstrating a low level of control and a high level of responsiveness; or neglectful, demonstrating low levels of both control and responsiveness.
As the child grows, authoritative parenting is linked to greater social and emotional competence, with the children of authoritative parents being good at making friends in their early years, less likely to use drugs in their teens, and emotionally stable as young adults.
Recent research suggests that parenting is not necessarily a natural skill and most parents would benefit from some degree of instruction, the authors note. In Canada, there are a number of parent-support and parent-training programs designed to help parents develop positive parenting styles and skills. More high-quality research is needed to determine how effective parenting programs are for Canadian parents in Canadian settings.