Many parents may wonder, "what effect does parenting style have on children in school?" Psychologists have identified four distinct parenting styles, and many have performed studies around the world to investigate the effects of parenting styles on child behavior, emotional health, and educational outcomes.
Four Types of Parents
Psychologist Diana Baumrind studied more than 100 children and families and established the popularly-accepted theory of parenting styles. By watching the children and their parents interact, as well as having them complete questionnaires, Baumrind identified three distinct parenting styles based on how demanding the parents were and how responsive they were to their children's needs. A fourth style was later added to the list:
- Permissive parents are highly responsive to their children, but place few demands or expectations for behavior.
- Authoritarian parents showed quite the opposite behavior, placing high demands on their children but offering little nurturing or responsiveness.
- Authoritative parents were both highly responsive and highly demanding of their children.
- Uninvolved parents demonstrated both low responsiveness and low levels of demands for their children.
What Effect Does Parenting Style Have on Children in School?
Parenting style can affect multiple aspects of a child's life. Common areas studied include:
- Self-discipline and motivation
Each parenting style correlates with different findings in these areas, and each of these areas has a distinct impact on overall educational outcomes. What effect does parenting style have on children in school? To answer that question, a look at how each parenting style affects the other aspects of the child is very informative.
Permissive parents are often warm and nurturing, but may have few expectations of their children as far as behavior goes. In general, Diana Baumrind identified the following qualities of children raised by permissive parents:
- Poor regulation of emotions
- Defiant when someone challenges their behavior
- May give up easily when things get difficult
- May display antisocial behaviors
Children who display these behaviors may have difficulty accepting educational challenges, and they may struggle with authority as represented by teachers and administration. They may also have trouble adapting socially with their peers while in school.
Authoritarian parents may be seen as autocratic. They often have extremely high expectations of their children, and may display little warmth or response to their children's needs. Children raised in authoritarian households may have the following traits:
- Being anxious or unhappy
- They don't handle frustration well
- They typically do quite well in school
- They are unlikely to engage in risk-taking behaviors
Because there is such an emphasis on achievement and accomplishment, children raised in authoritarian homes often do well in school because they are afraid to rock the boat at home. Likewise, they are unlikely to take drugs or alcohol; however, they may also have difficulty socially because of their level of anxiety, and if things don't go well for them in school, they may react with angry outbursts.
Authoritative parents teach their children to have high expectations of themselves, and they apply logical consequences when their kids don't meet reasonable standards of behavior. Children raised in this environment often display the following characteristics:
- Pleasant or happy disposition
- Strong belief in their own personal abilities
- Good sense of self-control, self-discipline, and motivation
- Well-developed social skills
With their high level of adjustment and self-motivation, children raised in authoritative homes typically do well in school, accepting challenges openly and showing the motivation and discipline to carry through with tasks. They often develop good friendships and display appropriate respect for authority.
Not originally one of Baumrind's original parenting styles, psychologists later added uninvolved parents to the parenting styles rubric. Children from homes with uninvolved parents may:
- Form poor attachments
- Have low self-esteem
- Have low socialization skills
- Sometimes be self-sufficient
- Sometimes exhibit aggressiveness or problem behaviors
Children from uninvolved homes often do poorly in school, both academically and socially. While they have developed some level of self-sufficiency, it is typically with regards to survival skills and not often lead to high-level positive educational outcomes. They may also display behavioral problems in school, as well as have difficulty accepting authority.
Parenting does have an effect on how children respond out in the world, whether in school, socially, or later in life as functioning adults. To learn more about helping your children thrive by adapting a positive parenting style, consider taking parenting classes; these courses can provide benefits to every member of the family.