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Parenting styles and academic achievement: A cross-cultural study
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly , Apr 1998 by Leung, Kwok, Lau, Sing, Lam, Wai-Lim
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The relationships between four parenting styles and academic achievement in school children were investigated in Hong Kong, the United States, and Australia. Results indicated that Australian parents were lower than both Chinese and American parents in academic authoritarianism. Compared to the two English-speaking groups, Chinese parents were higher in general authoritarianism, but lower in academic and general authoritativeness. In all three cultures, academic achievement was negatively related to academic authoritarianism, but showed no relationship with academic authoritativeness. Finally, academic achievement was positively related to general authoritarianism in Hong Kong and among children from the United States and Australia whose parents did not have any college education. Academic achievement was positively related to general authoritativeness only in the two English-speaking groups.
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In the United States, higher academic achievement is typically associated with lower parental authoritarianism and higher parental authoritativeness (e.g., Dornbusch, Ritter, Leiderman, Roberts, & Fraleigh, 1987; Steinberg, Elmen, & Mounts, 1989). However, empirical relationships obtained in one culture may be a product of its cultural milieu and may not generalize to other cultures (e.g., Van de Vijver & Leung, 1997). Thus, the major purpose of this paper was to examine the cross-cultural generalizability of the relationships between parental styles and academic achievement. Authoritarian Parenting Style and School Performance In a survey of 7,836 adolescents in the San Francisco Bay area, Dornbusch et al. (1987) found that Asian American parents were more authoritarian than European American parents, and that for both European and Asian Americans, the authoritarian parenting style was associated with lower academic grades. The classification of parenting styles used by Dornbusch et al. (1987) was based on the scheme proposed by Baumrind and Black (1967). Authoritarian parents attempt to control their children with absolute standards, and expect obedience, respect for authority, and preservation of order from children. In contrast, authoritative parents expect mature behavior

from their children, set clear standards, enforce rules and standards firmly, use commands and sanctions only when necessary, encourage independence, individuality, and open communication, and recognize the rights of the children. For a review of these two styles, see Maccoby & Martin (1983). The findings of Dornbusch et al. (1987) suggest that Asian Americans should have poorer academic results than European Americans because their parents are more authoritarian. Paradoxically, Asian Americans generally show better academic results than European Americans (Sue & Okazaki, 1990). A few attempts have been made to unravel this anomaly. For instance, Steinberg, Dornbusch, and Brown (1992) have argued that for Asian Americans, parental influence on school performance is not as important as peer influence, and the negative effects of authoritarian parents are outweighed by positive peer influence. A Reconceptualization of Parental Authoritarianism for Asians Recently, Chao and Sue (1996) have proposed a new approach to this paradox. They argued that the current conceptualization of parental authoritarianism ignores the purpose of parental control and fails to capture the essence of the authoritarian behaviors of Asian parents. In support of this view, Chao (1994) found that Chinese mothers, who immigrated from Taiwan to the United States, emphasized the "training" of their children more than did European American mothers. These Chinese mothers believed that children should be trained intensively so that they will behave well and obtain good school results, and that mothers should try their best to train their children. Because Chinese mothers typically emphasize educational attainment and set high standards for their children (e.g., Chao, 1996; Chen & Uttal, 1988), their controlling behavior and emphasis on obedience from their children should actually push their children toward educational success. Chao's (1994) results challenge earlier findings that even for Asian Americans, parental authoritarianism was related to poor school performance (Dornbusch et al., 1987). To resolve this inconsistency, we have scrutinized the concept of parental authoritarianism and discerned two aspects in the items developed to measure parental authoritarianism in the Baumrind and Black (1967) tradition. The first aspect refers to a controlling and domineering style, which is reflected by the following three items used by Dornbusch et al. (1987): (a) parents tell the youth not to argue with adults; (b) children will know better when grown up; and (c) parents are correct and should not be questioned. This type of parental authoritarianism may be termed general authoritarianism. The second aspect is concerned with the overdemanding and nonrewarding behavior of parents with regard to the academic performance of their children, as defined by the following four items used by Dornbusch et al. (1987): As a response to poor grades, (a) the parents get upset, (b) reduce the youth's allowance or "ground" the youth; as a response to good grades, (c) the parents tell the youth to do even better, and (d) note that other grades should be as good. This type may be termed academic authoritarianism.
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The Relationship between Parenting and Academic Achievement
Article by Adam Jeup Description:

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Research found that one of the most important indicators of future academic success is prior academic success. While that is a substantial correlation, it is not a perfect positive correlation, so prior academic success cannot be the only indicator of future success. According to the literature, it is plausible that parenting style plays a role in future academic success. Research shows that parenting style correlates with academic achievement. Specifically, authoritative parenting is most strongly related to higher achievement. Authoritative parenting involves three components which include acceptance (of failures and successes), psychological autonomy (freedom to think what they want), and behavior control (strict rules and supervision). Students reporting high acceptance from parents, high psychological autonomy, and moderate behavior control from parents not only have a higher perceived academic performance, but have higher grade point averages as well. Consequently, not only do the students feel they perform better in school, but they actually do perform better. On the other hand, authoritarian parenting (highly demanding, directive, and disciplinary parenting, but unresponsive to their child’s needs), permissive parenting (overly lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation), and inconsistent parenting (a mixture of different parenting styles) negatively correlated with academic achievement. Children of parents who exhibited these kinds of parenting behaviors also had a low perceived academic success. In other words, children who have parents who are permissive, authoritarian, or inconsistent are more likely to not only feel they perform poorly in school, but actually do perform poorly. Studies have also examined how other variables, such as parental education, per-capita income level, gender, and ethnicity correlate with student achievement. Results showed that parental education was most strongly correlated with academic achievement. More specifically, the higher the parents’ education, the higher their child’s grades were. A possible explanation for this relationship may be explained by parents’ prior knowledge of subjects to help their child on schoolwork. Further research still needs to be conducted in order to support or refute this

hypothesis. Melby & Conger also found that percapita income had a positive correlation with student achievement. This relationship might be explained by access to resources that involve money, such as tutors or studying aids. Finally, neither gender nor ethnicity was found to be significantly correlated with achievement in school. A possible explanation for this is that parenting styles and their effects do not discriminate between males, females, or various races. Research that has closely examined the relationship between parenting style and academic achievement found that psychosocial maturity (expansion of social knowledge and wellbeing) serves to mediate this relationship. In other words, authoritative parenting impacts psychosocial maturity, which in turn, influences how students perform in school. Psychosocial maturity was measured by self-reliance (control over life), work orientation (students work skills & work goals), and self identity (self esteem & life goals). Each of these variables, both separately and collectively, positively correlated with higher grades. Authoritative parenting was also found to correlate with each of these three indicators of psychosocial maturity. Extending these results a step further, it is plausible that acceptance, psychological autonomy, and low behavior control (from parent to child) are important for children to succeed academically, as they likely lead to increased psychosocial maturity, which has been determined to correlate with higher academic achievement. Research has shown that the highest indicator of children’s academic success from one year to the next is prior academic achievement (r = 0.66; citation). These results raise an interesting research question: do parents become authoritarian or permissive because of students’ low grades (i.e., students’ low grades become a stressor for the parent, which cause them to be authoritarian or permissive) or do students have low grades because of parental behaviors (i.e., pre-established parental behaviors dictate how students will perform in school)? Regardless of the answer, it is apparent that authoritarian parenting is positively correlated with academic success. References:
Melby, J.N., & Conger, R.D. (1996). Parental behaviors and

adolescent academic performance: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Research on Adolescents, 6(1), 113-137. Steinberg, L., Elmen, J.D., & Mounts, N.S. (1989). Authoritarianparenting, psychosocial maturity, and academic success among adolescents. Child Development, 60(6), 1424-1436. Bradley, Nikki (2006). Permissive Parenting: An Overview. Retrieved July 9, 2008, from http://parenting.families.com/blog/permissiveparenting-an-overview. Greenberger, E., Josselson, R., Knerr, C. & Knerr, B. (1974). The measurement and structure of psychosocial maturity. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 4(2), 127143. Contact Person: Cindy J Liberton Funding for Academic Year: 2008-09

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