Research: Authoritative Parenting

Building on earlier studies of white, middle- class youths, recent research shows a connection between parental autoritativeness and teen maturity. Seeing that 10,000 youths from diverse backgrounds were surveyed, this research "trancends ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and family structure." "Authoritative leadership in the home is not to be confused with "authoritarianism." Authoritative parenting corresponds to three factors: (1) Acceptance and involvement pertains to the teen's perception of parental love and responsiveness. A sample test item: "How often does your family do something fun together?" (2) Firm Control assesses parental monitoring and rules. Questions like "How much do your parents try to know where you go at night?" indicate intentional limit-setting and concern. (3) Psychological autonomy points to non-coercive, democratic discipline; it encourages adolescents to express their individuality in the family. The negativity-stated questions include: "How often do your parents answer your by saying something like 'You'll know better when you grow up'?" and "When you get a poor grade in school, do your parents try to make your life miserable?" The payoffs? Researchers claim four : higher grades, more self-restraint, less worry and depression, and reduced tendency toward delinquent behavior. ("Journal of Research on Adolescence", vol.1, no.1, 1991)

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