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PERCEPTIONS OF PARENTING STYLES IN SOUTH AFRICA: THE EFFECTS OF

GENDER AND ETHNICITY
Nicolette Vanessa Roman, Thembakazi Makwakwa and Marlies Lacante

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Publisher: Cogent OA
Journal: Cogent Psychology
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311908.2016.1153231

PERCEPTIONS OF PARENTING STYLES IN SOUTH AFRICA: THE EFFECTS OF

Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016

GENDER AND ETHNICITY
Nicolette Vanessa Roman PhD
Department of Social Work
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17
Bellville
7535
South Africa
+27219592277
nroman@uwc.ac.za
skype: nicolette.roman
Thembakazi Makwakwa
Department of Social Work
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17
Bellville
7535
South Africa
romanuwc@gmail.com
Marlies Lacante
Department of Psychology
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Tiensestraat 102 - bus 3716
B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
Office phone: + 32 (0)16 37 77 79
marlies.lacante@ppw.kuleuven.be

Abstract
Parenting style is an area of research which is emerging in South Africa. Previous research
notes significant differences between ethnic groups in terms of parenting. In a country as
diverse as South Africa, which has also evolved from an era of separatism and segregation,

Ethnicity.comparing parenting styles across ethnic groups is an interesting topic. but there were also significant differences between and within groups. but mothers’ parenting styles were not perceived as significantly different. Youth. The final sample consisted of 746 participants with a mean age of 20.48 (SD=1. Keywords: Parenting styles. Fathers’ parenting style was Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 perceived as significantly different in the three ethnic groups.96) years. South Africa We do not have any interests that might be interpreted as influencing the research and APA ethical standards were followed when conducting this study. This is a comparative study using a cross-sectional design. . 36% males and 64% females. The results found maternal authoritative parenting style to be the most prevalent across and within groups. The Parenting Style and Dimension Questionnaire (PSDQ) was used to collect the data.

through disciplinary and supervision methods applied by parents (Baumrind. In particular. authoritarian and permissive parenting styles. The cornerstone of these parenting styles is warmth and control (Maccoby & Martin. 2009. Baumrind (1967) identified three common parenting styles known as authoritative. and behaviours as well as a distinct balance of responsiveness and demandingness presenting different outcomes for children. Baumrind Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 (1966. In her early research. 2012. The "control" element integrates children into the whole family. . Over five decades of parenting research provides vast evidence of different approaches of parents (and the effects of these) in raising their children (Carr & Pike. & Schultz. Yang. control. practices. Children of authoritarian parents are withdrawn. individuality. Williams. Cheah. The "warmth" element aims to foster the self-reliance. 2003). Siegler. 1991). authoritarian parents are low on warmth and high on control. This style does not allow for individuation. Obedience is all-important and imposed with harsh punishment. discontented and distrustful. 1967. There is very little communication between the parent and the child. Hoyle. and self-assertiveness of a child (Hart. In terms of understanding the parenting styles and the effects on children. 1967). and present with maladaptive behaviour (Baumrind. and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of the child in terms of a set of standards. 2012. They attempt to shape. 2012). Leung. Kerr.Introduction Parenting and associated variables have been well documented as a developmental process and socialization tool. Fuemmeler. Tahseen. Newell & Oslen. These parenting styles reflect the patterns of parental values. 1991) identified different parenting styles and the effects these parenting styles have on child behavior and to a certain extent well-being and subsequent adult adjustment. Stattin. 1983). & Ostbye. Costanzo. & Özdemir.

Authoritative parents. Steinberg. independence. 1978. 1991. They use less discipline. They demonstrate autonomy. Lamborn. 1997). are egocentric and demanding. Authoritative parents use both power and reason (Baumrind. Dornbusch. & Darling. are also high on warmth. Permissive parents show more warmth and less control. self-confidence. 2004. Weise. which is further evidenced by a recent systematic review conducted by Davids. research mainly conducted in North America and Europe. research also suggests that gender plays a role in parenting. This form of parenting lacks structure for children and instead portrays more responsiveness and indulgence with their children’s needs and wants without setting proper boundaries. and they appear to be more compliant with the desires and actions of their children. Although parenting has been found to be linked to child outcomes. 1991). 1992). self-will and discipline towards their children. 2002). This parental approach is followed by setting structured guidelines and allowing the child some freedom at the same Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 time as conforming to discipline. The outcomes for children raised by authoritative parents are social responsibility. Thus. and often display problem behaviours (Scaramella & Leve. higher self-esteem and adaptive behavior (Baumrind. Roman and Leach (2015) which found that negative parenting approaches were associated with maladaptive behaviour of children and adolescents. however they are at risk of using drugs and alcohol. Outcomes for children include high self-esteem. For example. in summary the approach of parents has an effect on the child. Children raised by permissive parents show a lack of self-control. and have difficulty in forming relationships (Baumrind. One of the most apparent characteristics is the manner in which discipline is achieved. found that mothers are more authoritative in their parenting than . 1967. while high on control. which allows children to be aware of what they have done wrong in order to amend their behaviors.

Mitchell and . children will have very positive outcomes. Simons and Conger (2007) and McKinney and Renk (2008) found that when both parents adopt an authoritative parenting style. Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 In terms of the predictive aspects of parenting styles. Riveros. Furthermore. and found that maternal permissive parenting and paternal authoritarian parenting significantly predicts externalizing behaviour. 2003) and a meta-analysis in which gender affected the parenting approach of the parents (Hoeve. Hispanic fathers monitor their children less. Roman. Moyo. 2014.. Feder. 2015). externalizing and adaptive behavior in their children. Robinson. 2001. For example. & Lens. et al. 1998). In addition. Hart. Russell. In another study. 2009). in the USA Hofferth (2003) found differences in fathering in Black. Eichelsheim. if one parent is authoritative. This effect was found in a meta-analysis in which same-sex parent-child pairs significantly predicted delinquent behaviour (Hoeve. Research examining and comparing parenting strategies in terms of ethnicity or race highlights the disparities found in different groups. & Palmer. Aloa. Miller. The effects of gender was also present in studies which focused on parent-child dyads. this may act as a buffer for children in problematic homes with the other parent being less optimal in parenting. This was similarly found in research conducted in South Africa (Roman. 2009). indicating that Black children’s fathers exhibit less warmth but monitor their children more. Davids. Dubas. a comparative study of parenting in the USA and Australia (Russell. and both groups exhibit more responsibility for child rearing than White fathers do. while paternal authoritative parenting predicts adaptive behaviours. Van De Laan. Rinaldi and Howe (2012) compared mothers’ and fathers’ unique parenting styles in terms of internalizing. Glover. Hispanic and White groups. Schilder.fathers (Conrade & Ho. & Olsen. Lacante. Vernberg. Sanchez-Sosa. & Gerris. Smeenk. Varela.

2015). 2012). 2010). while an authoritarian parenting style was linked to emotion-focused coping strategies of adolescents (Kritzas & Grobler. 2005. Kritzas & Grobler. Studies. have shown that in early childhood. The South African context of parenting In South Africa. Makwakwa (2011) and Moyo (2012) showed that parents used mainly an authoritative parenting style across ethnic groups. In a study conducted in the UK. which specifically focused on the associational qualities between parenting styles and child outcomes. More recently. 2011) and the goals and aspirations of youth (Moyo. a study comparing different Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 migrant and native ethinic groups in Germany found significant differences in parenting styles with migrant groups using more neglectful and authoritarian parenting styles (Nauck & Lotter. Makwakwa. 2011). The studies conducted by Latouf (2005). An authoritative parenting style was also associated with thoughtful decision-making in young adults (Makwakwa. The studies which focused on parental behavior and its effects on child outcomes. Parents of Mexican descent used more authoritarian parenting than Caucasian-nonHispanic parents. 2005). and found that parents used more authoritative parenting styles in both groups. significant differences in parenting were noted between groups with minority groups reporting harsher parenting approaches than in white groups (Maynard & Harding. research focusing on parenting is limited to parenting styles and parental behaviour and their effects on child outcomes (Latouf. suggest that parental behavioural control. 2007). an authoritative parenting style was associated with acceptable behaviour of children in a sample of five-year-olds (Latouf. 2007.Mashunkashey (2004) compared two-parent families of Mexican descent and Caucasian-nonHispanic parents. monitoring and limit setting predicted high rates of substance abuse . during adolescence authoritative parenting explained the variance in resilience for Black and White adolescents.

with mothers’ overprotection resulting in less independence (Lowe. it would be 1 The term “Coloured” refers to people of mixed race in South Africa. fathers’ overprotection resulted in less intimacy and less assertive conflict resolution/communication. In a country as culturally diverse as South Africa. Barber. and found strong mother-daughter and father-son relationships. and given its socio-political history. . In terms of ethnicity. 2005). In general. Bomester (2012) examined the parent-adolescent relationship in a Coloured community. while mothers’ care resulted in assertive conflict resolution/communication and independence in adult relationships. In addition. In summary. mothers spent more time with the adolescent child than fathers did. separation and segregation but for the past two decades there has been a shift to a more humanitarian and democratic society with new child protection laws and family policy. which is in contrast to international research associating authoritarian parenting and harsh parenting with maladaptive behaviour. These majority groups have been historically socio-politically subjected to violence. the parenting-child behaviour outcomes in South Africa are inconsistent with international research in terms of parenting styles. affection and intimacy. Adolescents had stronger relationships with their mother than with their father. the minority groups presented internationally are the majority in South Africa. & Erickson. gender and ethnicity. For example. Kritzas and Grobler (2005) found that Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 authoritative parenting significantly accounted for the variance in resilience for Black and White adolescents. support. Studies comparing parenting in terms of race found either similar or significantly different results across the race groups. fathers. satisfaction. a paternal authoritarian parenting style was associated with emotion-focused coping strategies in White adolescents. 2006).during adolescence (Amoateng. De Jager (2011) compared White and Coloured1 adolescents’ relationships with their mothers. as indicated by nurturance. best friends and romantic partners.

for paternal parenting styles we had 749 participants. Participants who identified themselves as Indian/Asian (N= 8) and “other” (N= 19).e. and 782 for maternal parenting styles.of interest to examine if international findings of parenting styles are replicated in terms of gender and ethnicity between native ethnic groups in South Africa as the outcomes may have implications for practitioners in South Africa and add to the international body of knowledge on parenting differences in an under reported population. Participants identified their parents as married (54%) or single (46%). Of the remaining 785 participants.4%) and especially the White (40. Black. The university where this sample was located has a predominantly Black student population and this explains the small number of White (n = 22) and the relatively large number of Black participants (n = 531). 232 (29. Among the Black (38.6%) as Coloured.1%) and fewer boys (28. This study therefore compared the parenting styles (i.8%) as White. 531 (67. The final sample of participants who answered both the maternal and paternal parental styles questionnaire consisted of 746 voluntary university students . In the total group of 785 participants.9%). were not included. Coloured. As Table 3 shows. Methods This study is comparative with a cross-sectional research design.6%) identified themselves as Black Africans. authoritarian and permissive) of mothers and fathers in different ethnic groups (i. authoritative..3% female.7% were male and 64. there were relatively more boys than girls. 35. White) in South Africa and proposed that there Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 would be significant differences between groups in terms of fathers’ parenting styles. In the Coloured group there were relatively more girls (71. This may be the first known study to be conducted in South Africa comparing parenting styles across ethnic groups..9%) participants. and 22 (2.e.

.3% Coloured and 2. Table 1 lists the alphas for mothers’ and fathers’ parenting styles in the three ethnic groups and for all three groups combined. 69% Black. . Mandleco. My parent found it difficult to discipline me).g. Participants responded on a 5point Likert scale with 1 = Never and 5 = Always. Gave praise when I was good).96). 28.(36% males and 64% females.48 years (SD= 1. Used physical punishment as a way of disciplining me) and permissive (e. The items measured the (remembered) three parenting styles of fathers and mothers separately: authoritative (e.. the internal consistencies are satisfactory except for the scale "mothers’ permissive parenting style" among Black and Coloured participants. In addition. All participants completed the English 32-item Parenting Style and Dimension Questionnaire (PSDQ) Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 developed by Robinson. Measurements Participants were asked to retrospectively perceive the parenting styles of their father and mother when they were about 16 years old and still living at home.g. As we can see in Table 1. authoritarian (e. Oslen and Hart (2001).g..7% White) with a Meanage of 20. the alphas for Coloured fathers’ authoritative and authoritarian parenting styles are almost similar which could be due to redundancies on certain items possibly based on cultural interpretations.

Data Analysis Means scores on parenting styles were compared using analysis of variance (MANOVA and ANOVA) and within groups using repeated measures analysis of variance.76 .79 .75 . All analyses were done with SPSS version 22.52 Procedure Permission to conduct the study was granted by the University Review Board.80 .85 .54 . The level of significance for all statistics tests was 0.77 .91 . students were informed that their confidentiality and anonymity would be maintained at all times. In addition. Bonferroni correction was applied to account for multiple testing.96 Authoritarian .86 . The study was explained to the participants before the questionnaires were administered.88 .89 Permissive .97 .68 .66 .93 .57 .94 .05.93 .96 .86 .74 . Participants completed consent forms before completing the questionnaire. . and obtained adjusted pvalues.Table 1: Cronbach Alphas for Fathers’ and Mothers’ Parenting Styles Black Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 Mother Coloured White Total Father Mother Father Mother Father Mother Father Authoritative . Students were also informed that they could choose not to participate in the study or withdraw from it at any time during the data collection process.88 .

multivariate ηp2 = . p = . but positively significant.031.28** . 1470] = 1.Results In Table 2. Coloured and White groups as a function of ethnicity and gender.50** .10** .13** authoritative .22** FATHERS permissive . A MANOVA showed a significant main effect of ethnicity (Wiks’ λ = . The correlations were positive and high between the three styles for fathers.33** .18** -. Table 2: Intercorrelations between Maternal and Paternal Parenting Styles MOTHERS FATHERS Permissive Authoritative Authoritarian Permissive Authoritative MOTHERS authoritative . There was no main effect for gender or for the interaction of ethnicity by gender.31** Table 3 provides the mean scores and standard deviations (in parentheses) for the remembered parenting styles of Black African.89. These intercorrelations present similar patterns between the six parenting styles in the three ethnic groups.06 . Table 4 presents the same mean scores as a function of ethnicity.97 F [12. the intercorrelations for the total group are presented.30) significantly positive correlations between the corresponding parenting styles. The correlations between fathers’ and mothers’ parenting styles indicate rather high (around .07* .06 .33** -. . For mothers.60** authoritarian . the correlation was significantly negative between the authoritative and the authoritarian parenting styles and rather low. between the Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 authoritative and permissive parenting styles.09* authoritarian .33** -.015).

76) 3.30 2.72) 3.58 (0.46 (0.19) Boys N=27 9 Girls N=50 3 2.84) White Girls N=12 Total N=21 2.43 (0.79) 13 .52 (0.71) 2.66) 2.54 (0.63 ) 2.98 2.68 ) 2.55 (0.90 (0.93) (0.80 ) Tota N=21 2.40 (0.71 2.81) (0.38 ) 2.85 (0.82) (0.52 (0.33 2.51 (0.98) (0.83 ) 2.29 2.08 (0.86 ) Girls N=13 3.53 (0.95 ) 2.29 (0.36 (0.85) (0.93) (0.71 ) 3.71 3.88 (1.03) e 2.16) (1.91) 2.86) 2.94) (0.66) 2.46 2.51 (0.90 ) Authoritativ (1.33 (0.69) 3.45 2.57 (0.Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample Table 3: Remembered Parental Styles as a Function of Ethnicity and Gender Variables Black Coloured FATHER Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total Boys N=19 N=31 N=51 N=61 N=15 N=21 N=9 9 7 6 1 2 Permissive 2.26 (0.72) 3.73 (0.24 2.51 (0.49 (0.81 2.67 (0.67 ) 3.71 (0.62 (0.68) 2.62 (0.75 (0.66) 2.91 (0.30 2.42 2.75) Authoritativ e 2.77 ) 2.30 (0.81 (0.92) 2.65) 2.68 ) 2.74) 2.36 2.72 (0.17 ) 2.61 ) ) Authoritaria 2.74) 3.71 ) 2.54 ) 2.50 (0.95) 2.25) (1.69) 2.73 (0.21 (0.67) Authoritaria n 2.67 (0.67) 2.65 (1.42 (0.46 n (0.59 (0.07) (1.82 (0.54 (0.54 (0.71 (0.82 ) 2.11 2.74 ) ) MOTHER Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total Boys N= N=32 N=53 N=67 N=16 N=23 N=8 204 6 0 4 1 Permissive 2.70 (0.88 (0.33 (0.68 ) 3.72 ) 3.74) 3.70 2.51 (0.58 (0.84) (0.36 2.31 (0.85 ) Gender Boys Girls N=26 N=48 9 0 2.58 (0.84) (0.00) (1.82 ) 3.85) 3.69) 2.95) 2.69 (0.98) 2.

SD = 0. Table 4 shows that there were significant differences in each group. However. The results suggest that there is a significant main effect of ethnicity for the authoritative parenting style for fathers (F (2. Within each ethnic group. ηp2 =.62. SD = 0.74) for mothers’ authoritative parenting style. ηp2 = . SD = 0.72) for mothers’ authoritarian style.42.62. girls (M = 3.021.021.42.33. p < . two significant main effects of gender were found.79) scored significantly higher (F (1.71.32. the effect of ethnicity was significant (F (2.45. p < .66).46. SD = 0.60.007) than boys (M = 3.16) Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 scoring significantly lower than Whites (M = 3. 776) = 5. ηp2 = . Although the MANOVA was not significant.93) 14 . There were no significant differences between the permissive (M = 2. The score for mothers’ authoritative parenting style (M = 3. p < .79. SD = 0. an ANOVA for repeated measures was conducted to see if there were significant differences between the six perceived parental styles.74) was significantly higher than all other scores.238).77.018) with Black African fathers (M = 2. 748) = 160. SD = 1.032.Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample A follow-up ANOVA with a Bonferroni adjusted alpha level was conducted.82). SD = 0. 743) = 6. p < .67) scored significantly higher (F (1. Based on a posteriori comparison (Bonferroni) the following significant findings were found: In the Black African group (F (1.001. mothers scored significantly higher than fathers for all three parenting styles. 743) = 3. There were no other significant differences. For the paternal authoritarian parenting style. p < .94) scoring significantly lower than White fathers (M = 2. ηp2 = . SD = 0.007) than girls (M = 2. Boys (M = 2. SD = 0.000.009) with Black Africans (M = 2. 776) = 5.24.31.32. ηp2 =. SD = 0.

ηp2 = .82) of fathers was significantly higher than that of fathers with a permissive (M = 2.84) was significantly higher than the permissive and authoritarian parenting styles.Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample and authoritarian (M = 2.69.41. the score for the authoritative parenting (M = 3. SD = 0.86) parenting styles were significantly lower than the score for fathers’ Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 authoritative (M = 2.03) and mothers’ authoritarian parenting styles (M = 2.73). For mothers. For the Coloured group (F (1. The score for fathers’ permissive (M = 2. In the White group (F (1.79. SD = 1.261) the scores for the authoritative parenting style (M = 3.70. SD = 0. p < .03) and the authoritarian parenting style of mothers (M = 2. SD = 0. SD = 0.90. SD = 1.33. SD = 0.90. 15 . the score for mothers’ authoritative parenting style (M = 3.94) parenting styles of fathers but they were both significantly lower than all other parenting styles of both fathers and mothers.67) was significantly lower than that of the authoritative parenting style of fathers (M = 2.68). SD = 0.164).73).97) and authoritarian style of parenting (M = 2.42.73.70) and permissive parenting styles of mothers (M = 2. SD = 0.000.000. SD = 0. SD = 0.73.54. fathers and mothers were not significantly different for each of the three parenting styles.49.46. p < .42. Mothers’ permissive parenting style (M = 2.50.66). SD = 0. In the White group. The score for a paternal authoritative style of parenting (M = 3.17.24. the score for mothers was significantly higher than fathers for each of the three parenting styles.82) was also higher than both the authoritarian (M = 2. In addition. SD = 0. SD = 0. 748) = 41. in this group. ηp2 = .52. SD = 0. SD = 0.84) was significantly higher than all other parenting styles. 748) = 6.82) and authoritarian (M = 2.

41 (0.50 (0. compared to the other two groups.66) B 3.52 (0.164 White (N = 20) 2.73) C Authoritative 3.69) BD 2. In the White group. However. The rank order is almost identical in the Black African and the Coloured groups.42 (0.77 (1.17 p .86) BD Authoritative 2. fathers’ authoritarian parenting style becomes more important and mothers’ less important.67) B Authoritarian 2.60 41.79 (0.68) B 2.24 (0.94) C 2.261 Means with a same letter (column wise) are not significantly different Table 5 rank orders the six parental styles in each ethnic group.000 .69 (0.Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample Table 4 Remembered Parenting Styles in Three Ethnic Groups M (SD) Black (N = 515) Coloured (N = 211) FATHER Permissive 2.70 .63 (0.73 (0.70) B 3.84) A 6.000 .16) D 2.33 (0.84) A F 160.03) C MOTHER Permissive 2.46 (0.000 2 ηp .54 (0. the two highest scores are for fathers’ and mothers’ authoritative parenting style.82) A 2.90 (1.66) B 2.49 (0.238 .93) C 2.82) D Authoritarian 2.97) B 2.33 (0.74) A 3. Table 5 Rank order of the Six Parental Styles in the Three Ethnic Groups Black (N = 515) Coloured (N = 211) White (N = 20) FATHER Permissive 5 6 4 Authoritarian 6 5 3 Authoritative 2 2 2 MOTHER Permissive 4 4 5 Authoritarian 3 3 6 Authoritative 1 1 1 16 .55 (0.42 (0.

2014). the majority of the South African population. Russell et al. It could be that mothers were perceived as being more involved than fathers. Erkanli. 2012. that is Black Africans. only fathers were perceived as significantly different in their parenting styles. as in previous research. Costello. Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 South Africans come from a history of violence steeped in a dominant patriarchal society (Ginwala.e. Ramlagan. However. 2011. Johnson. as there is mention of a lack of parental responsibility.. perceptions of mothers’ authoritative parenting styles were more prevalent than any other 17 . the South African Institute of Race Relations (Holborn & Eddy. 2011. & Phaswana-Mafuya. & Angold. 1990).e. and not mothers. and parents are the focus. continue to live in poverty. a main effect was only found for ethnicity but not for gender nor interaction effects for ethnicity by gender. with the acquisition of new child and family laws as well as the abolition of corporal punishment.Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample Discussion This is the first known study to compare remembered parenting styles (i. authoritative. Coloured. Makwakwa. 2012. Moyo. Historically and currently. there is a covert assumption that parenting should be more positive. 2011. 2006).. These parents could therefore be considered at-risk for harsh and punitive parenting (Brooks. authoritarian and permissive) of mothers and fathers in different ethnic groups (i. 2001. Black. After almost two decades of democracy. 1998). In the current study. 2011) indicates that there are serious problems within the families. Conrade & Ho.. substance abuse and crime (Peltzer. The results of this study suggest that parenting styles of mothers and fathers were perceived as significantly different between and within ethnic groups. and White) as perceived by a non-representative sample of South African university students. Phillips. as suggested in previous research (Bomester. SAHRC & UNICEF. For between groups. with additional social problems such as unemployment. In the present research.

as found in previous research in the USA (Hofferth. In addition. which highlights distinct gendered parenting occurring between a mother and her son and a mother and her daughter (Bomester. 2005. Previous South African research suggests that there are stronger relationships between mothers and their children than between fathers and their children (De Jager. Zaman. 2011. Lipps. boys scored significantly higher than girls for mothers’ authoritarian style. These findings were similarly found in the UK and Germany for minority groups (Nauck & Lotter. Hastings. 1991). Ginwala. Merchant. However.Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample parenting style (Makwakwa. Louw. The differences between fathers of different ethnicity in the present study showed that Black African fathers scored significantly lower on both authoritative and authoritarian parenting styles than Whites. Georgiou. 1990. 2011). girls scored significantly higher than boys for mothers’ authoritative parenting style. Rubin. This finding was consistent within the groups as well. & DeRose. Posel. Black African fathers were less involved with their children. 2003) where less warmth was experienced between Black fathers and their children than Hispanic and White groups. 2008. Fivush. 2012. This Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 significant difference could be due to the fact that historically and culturally. 18 . the parenting style of White parents could be linked to a more a Westernized approach to parenting with more father involvement than in the other ethnic groups. In the present study. Gibson. Furthermore. & Duke. 2007). different relationships exist and different interactions occur based on the gender of the child and the gender of the parent (Bohanek. 2009. 2004). Lambert & Cashwell. This finding is in line with previous research. Lepore. Research suggests that. gender ideologies could be very prevalent. Moyo. Halliday. 1985. possibly due to the experiences of apartheid with fathers working away from their families (Bernstein. as well as a more frequent authoritative parenting style (Brooks-Gunn & Markman. within the family. Morris. 2012). 2015).

Although there were significant differences between and within groups.. the study may have different results if a larger sample size of White and Indian participants had participated. 2009). The intention of the study was to provide significant differences between and within groups. Another limitation of the current study is the focus on young adults who remembered the parenting styles of their parents. The benefits of this sample and retrospective parenting are that the results of this study may be relevant to practitioners who may need to use a cultural perspective in designing or adapting their intentions to address the parent-child relationship. This could mean that different results would emerge if a study was conducted on current parenting styles rather than past parenting styles. et al. The perceptions of current and past experiences of their 19 . mothers seem to use a more authoritative parenting style with their daughters than with sons (see Table 2). This may have implications for the same-sex parent-child relationship (Hoeve. this sample of students also Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 reported their parents’ parenting styles retrospectively.Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample & Clarke. future studies regarding this topic could consider including a more representative sample of participants. Furthermore. In the three groups. The sample is non-representative and therefore the results cannot be generalised to the population at large. In the current study. the small number of White participants is a limitation. and does not offer any causal effects. In addition. but future research may consider either longitudinal studies or ethnographic types of studies. this study only provides a snapshot. 2012). This reporting may pose a challenge for interpreting the results as the students may have a different current relationship with their parents than in the past. As a cross-sectional design. Limitations This study has limitations.

43-88. (2006). Genetic Psychology Monographs. (1967). Child care practices interceding three patterns of preschool behavior. 1. However. Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. it would seem that the role of children’s gender is intertwined with the parenting of mothers and fathers. Barber. South Africa. B. This study also highlights parenting style of fathers in comparison to mothers. 9.1.. Although the study focuses on ethnicity. 239-276. 20 .. A. Acknowledgements We would like to post-humous thank Professor Willy Lens for his input in this paper. Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Cape Town. 7-15. References Amoateng. the current study provides first insights into group differences in a South African context for parenting styles and therefore future research could focus on a longitudinal developmental study in this regard.D. There were significant Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 differences found between and within the different groups even though authoritative parenting of mothers was the most prevalent parenting style across the groups. D. Journal of Youth & Society. & Erickson.K.Y. (1978). 18. 75. Baumrind. We would also like to thank the participants of this study. Family predictors of adolescent substance use: The case of high school students in the Cape Metropolitan Are. Baumrind. Conclusion This is the first known study to compare the parenting styles across different ethnic groups in South Africa and more specifically in post-apartheid South Africa. D. L.Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample parents’ parenting styles may differ.

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that is used more positve parenting approaches. across all the ethnic groups. 27 . We found that mothers were more authoritative. Mothers were the same in all the ethnic groups but fathers parented differently in the different ethnic groups. in South Africa. We wanted to know the parenting styles of the different ethnic groups. Parenting research is limited because it has only been a focus for the past decade in South Africa. Sons and daughters also had different views of their parents. if they are different in their parenting and if the gender of the parent plays a role. parenting was always under threat due to separation of family members during apartheid especially for Black families. than fathers.Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample Public Interest Statement Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 Historically.

She has been a recipient of European Scholarships. Trying to understand parenting is a continuous challenge and is an under researched area in South Africa. She has also recently edited a book on parenting behaviors. is nationally rated as an established researcher in South Africa and currently heads the Child and Family Studies Programme. Professor Roman has published and presented her research both locally and internationally.Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 Bio Professor Nicolette Roman. Photo Professor Nicolette Roman 28 . This paper presents the first comparative information on parenting styles based on ethnicity and gender in South Africa. However this paper adds to the knowledge base in South Africa and internationally provides information on an underreported population. PhD in Psychology. in the Social Work Department at the Uiversity of the Western Cape. received research funding from the National Research Foundation and provides continuous education for social workers and community-based organisations.

Running Head: Parenting youth: A South African sample Funding No funding was provided for this research and publication Downloaded by [University of Western Cape] at 05:07 18 February 2016 Cover image 29 .