Collectivist versus Individualist Cultures associated with child outcomes:
Culture moulds an individual’s values and beliefs. Previous studies have revealed that specific attitudes and values are generally different between individualistic and collectivist societies (Triandis, 2001). An individualistic culture tends to emphasise on independence and the pursuit of individual achievement. On the contrary, a collectivist culture places more priority on the individual contributing to the well-being of the family and community (Darling & Steinberg, 1993).
Consequently, these values and beliefs will naturally mould parents and influence their interaction with their children and their parenting style. Parents in collectivist countries are inclined to promote values such as independence, helpfulness, and conformity within their family unit (Darling & Sternberg, 1993). Child outcomes are also likely to be affected as a result of the difference in goals and expectations upheld by each culture of their citizens and the children will be socialized under these differentiated conditions. Thus, an effective parenting style in the United States, the authoritative parenting style, may not be as effective in other cultures. In the authoritarian parenting style, a clear hierarchy is established within the family unit and the child’s own needs or wishes are not emphasised as a priority. Individuality amongst the children is not a focus while respect for parents is pivotal. Hence, in accordance to the outcomes valued in collectivist societies, authoritarian parenting may be more appropriate in comparison to other parenting styles.
Authoritarian Parenting in Different Cultures and Outcomes:
It has often been argued that Baumrind had approached her earlier work on parenting styles and the descriptions behind each of them from an ethnocentric approach (Chao, 1994). In other words, the manner in which individualists define words by attaching meaning to them may be contrary in comparison to someone who originates from a collectivist culture background. For example, while authoritarian parents’ may be defined and categorised as caring and concerned parents in Asia, they might appear highly controlling and dominating to European Americans. Hence, association of words like “restrictive” or “authoritarian” might not weigh as much relevance for other cultures as monitoring by parents and some degrees of strictness may be viewed and perceived as signs of parental concern and involvement (Chao, 1994). Likewise, the control over behaviour tends to have a direct relation to positive developmental outcomes for Korean adolescents who uphold a belief that this behavior portrays parental warmth and acceptance of the individual. While on the contrary, behavioral domination or control is quite often perceived as a negative characteristic of parenting among adolescents in European America (Kim, 2005).
To help rectify these discrepancies, Chao (1994) introduced the notion of “training” that incorporates parental control and weighs heavy on the magnitude of parent-child interactions, concern, support and physical proximity. It emphasizes self – discipline, obedience and the need to do well in school. The notion of training stands as evidence against the negative outlook on authoritarian parenting and may explain why this style has a positive influence on Asian children development (Dornbusch, et. al., 1987).
Influence of Gender and Ethinic/Racial Differences on Child Outcomes United States of America:
A differing result in the academically oriented achievements is observed among the minority population families in the United Sates. Dornbusch, et al. (1987) had requested students to categorise their parental figures into one among the three different parenting styles i.e. authoritative, authoritarian and permissive. It was observed that the Asian-American students were significantly more likely to suggest that their parents were categorised abiding by the laid parameters of the authoritarian discipline. However, despite the consistent and unvarying findings in an earlier work which suggested that authoritative parenting was associated with higher academic achievement, the Asian-American students scored highest in terms of GPA. Park and Bauer (2002) profoundly unleashed that the relationship between authoritative parenting style and its associated academic achievement only pertained within the European American jurisdiction. Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans failed to showcase an inclination to this correlation.
The connotations given to parental support may also vary across racial lines. Black adolescents uphold a different interpretation and meaning placed upon the amount of encouragement, interest and parental support they receive, contradictory to the views of White adolescents (Mboya, 1995). Consequently, the effects that various forms of parental engagement have on a child will likely vary depending on their race or ethnicity. In terms of self-concepts, Mboya (1995) showed that Black adolescents possess a greater scale of dependency on family interaction than White adolescents.
The potential contradictions in socio-economic status among these ethnic groups and its consequences must also be considered while evaluating the procured outcomes of negative behaviour among children upon the implementation of the authoritarian parenting discipline. In relation, the lower socioeconomic status (SES) predicts results of harsh parenting practices, that then aids the externalisation of negative behaviors (Meteyer & Jenkins, 2009). Lack of education and lower economic status is also suggested to have a correlation with the authoritarian parenting style, and it is also a common possibility that the parents take control of the decisions and set aspiring targets and goals with high expectations in the families for their children that may be different from the goals of the child themselves. (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). For instance, some parents may not value and prioritise academics as much as parents practising the authoritarian discipline style and therefore tend to weigh heavy emphasis on obedience and discipline as a more important factor in the child’s overall personality development as an individual.
As a matter of fact, although authoritarian parenting is measured in a general environment, it has diverse effects and varied negative child outcomes on gender differences. In the case of females, circumstances are severe in the absence of parental support (Lease & Dahlbeck, 2009), leading to appalling outcomes such as clinical depression, social refrain (development of an introvert personality) and fear of the child’s parental figures. While on the other hand, males are negatively effected upon the absence of demandingness (Hart, et. al, 2007), leading to entailing outcomes such as excessive aggression, involvement in unethical activities and juvenile violence, lack of self discipline and poor academic performance as a result of the absence of expectations.