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Parenting Style and Child Development

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Parental control differs from family to family. Clinical psychologist, Diana Baumrind, contributed to the empirical study of types of parenting and its effects on child and adolescent development (Gfrerer, Kern, Curlette, White, & Jonyniene, 2011). Her longitudinal research composed a model of three specific styles: permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative (Gfroerer et al., 2011). Characteristics observed throughout a child’s development can predict behavior in early adulthood. Generally, individuals can experience bullying as the perpetrator or the victim. Bully perpetration refers to the intent to harm others, whereas victimization refers to being targeted by someone seeking superiority and power. In terms of substance abuse, findings suggest that low self-esteem is a characteristic of this type of addictive behavior (Luk et al., 2016).

Parenting style is responsible for a child’s development. The specific style used influences the susceptibility of experiencing bullying and their subsequent alcohol abuse. Parents that fall under the authoritarian category are highly directive, demanding, and value complete and utter obedience. When this obedience is broken, the parental figure will use punitive methods in order to control the child’s behavior. In the parent-child relationship, the parent is usually less approachable and discourages verbal openness and expression.

Within Baumrind’s model, the permissive and authoritarian style are opposites in means of control. The permissive style of parenting involves little interaction and communication. Parents make few demands on the child, are non-controlling, and use minimal discipline. The authoritarian style values high control and the permissive values low control. Baumrind’s model suggests that the authoritative style is the most beneficial to an adolescent’s development. The authoritative style as the center between permissive and authoritarian parenting. This style encourages open communication and prosocial responses. Clear and firm direction and rules are made while providing moderate and reasonable punishment. As a result, the child develops a sense to reason autonomously, think independently, and respect those in authority.

In order to support the findings of Baumrind, recent studies have been conducted. One of these studies uses BASIS-A Inventories and the Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ). The PAQ is used to measure the perception of Baumrind’s three parenting styles: permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. This study consists of two questionnaires aimed at the mother and father individually. The PAQ fields six continuous scores ranging from ten to fifty. The six fields scored are mother permissiveness, mother authoritarianism, mother authoritativeness, father permissiveness, father authoritarianism, and father authoritativeness. The field that scores the highest is suggested to be the style in which the parent displays. In order to determine the correlation in child development, the PAQ is paired with a BASIS-A Inventory. This inventory consists of sixty-five-point scale items that measure the lifestyle and personality attributes of an individual. The personality descriptors include belonging/social interest, going along, taking charge, wanting recognition, being cautious, harshness, entitlement, liked by all, striving for perfection, and softness.

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The data obtained from this study strongly supports Baumrind’s theory. Authoritative parenting is perceived as democratic and reasonable and as expected, positive correlations were found between the belong/social interest and liked by all field. Children of authoritative parents have a higher tendency to feel a sense of belonging and connection to others. As predicted, the study also found that the fields of taking charge, wanting recognition, and harshness are most likely developed under the control of an authoritarian parent. This continues to support the theories as authoritarian parents are described as unaffectionate, demanding, and ignorant of the child’s personal feelings. The child will continually seek to please the parents’ unreasonable standards. Finally, adolescents who perceived their parents as permissive show an inverse relation to belong/social interest and a positive correlation to wanting recognition, liked by all and striving for perfection. A child of permissive parenting feels a lack of belonging and seeks attention as the parent does not provide warmth or interest in the child’s activities. This study suggests negative effects from permissive and authoritarian parenting in contrast to the positive effects of authoritative parenting on child and adolescent behavior (Gfroerer et al., 2011).

An additional study was conducted in order to determine a correlation between child development and the susceptibility to bullying and successive substance abuse. The data was collected from 646 university student, both male and female, who were later restricted to only students who drink alcoholic beverages. The final sample yielded 419 students with an average age of 20 years old.

Data was collected using handwritten questionnaires with an anonymous drop box to ensure participant anonymity. This study proposed that parenting styles and self-esteem are precursors of bullying perpetration, victimization and substance abuse. Evidence gathered indicates that the authoritative parenting of a mother and father is directly correlated to high self-esteem and lower levels of bullying. Students showed a greater toolset in order to adopt a more adaptive response style to victimization from bullying rather than a passive response. Nonetheless, findings also suggest that permissive and authoritarian parenting is linked to increased instances of bullying perpetration, victimization, and the belongingness hypothesis (Luk et al., 2016). This hypothesis suggests that without positive social attachments in early life, a child may be linked to meagre social adjustment (Luk et al., 2016). Therefore, parental permissiveness and authoritarianism may provide a poor socialization context for children and elevate the risk of bullying and co-occurrence of bullying and victimization (Walton et al., 2016). Bully perpetration occurs when an individual feels the need to be superior as a lack of their own self-esteem. Whereas bully victimization results in the victim lacking self-esteem caused by the oppression of another. This inability to accept and be content with oneself leaves the child feeling vulnerable and more susceptible to risky behavior. Alcohol is a substance distorts reality and falsely boost one’s self-esteem. Therefore, one can gather that there is an indirect link between parenting style and subsequent alcohol abuse. Children who develop higher self-esteem are associated with lower levels of bullying predation, victimization and alcohol abuse (Walton et al., 2016).

Multiple studies have been conducted to improve the reliability and realism of Baumrind’s model. Through the pairing of the Parental Authority Questionnaire and the BASIS-A Inventory and the study conducted using university students, correlations are found. Permissive and authoritarian parenting has the tendency to cause the child to develop negative behaviors and attributes as a result of having too much or too little control. The negative effects of permissive and authoritarian parenting can include the higher susception of bullying and excessive alcohol use as a result. Therefore, authoritative is highly suggested in being the best means of parenting as it allows the child to develop higher self-esteem thus protecting them from bully predation, victimization, and the use of alcohol in later life.

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Parenting Style and Child Development. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Parenting Style and Child Development.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
Parenting Style and Child Development. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Parenting Style and Child Development [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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