Parenting :: Generational changes in parenting styles

A trend in Australia towards a more lenient and democratic child rearing style is reflected in a pilot study published in Swinburne?s latest E-Journal of Applied Psychology (E-JAP).

In a comparison of 31 Greek-Australians and 34 Anglo-Australians about their own parenting style and that of their parents, the study found that both groups tend towards a less authoritarian parenting style than that of the previous generation.

The study was completed by Sophia Zervides as part of her honours degree in Psychology at Swinburne. Of Greek heritage herself, Ms Zervides said she was looking at whether there were changes over time in parenting styles between the two groups

She found that first generation Greek-Australian parents were more authoritarian than their Anglo-Australian counterparts. However, with second generation Greek- Australians and their Anglo-Australian peers there were essentially no differences.

?I found that the variations were not culturally based, but more indicative of societal changes,? said Ms Zervides. ?The study reflects the fundamental changes in views about parenting in our society, but rather than being culturally based, there seems to be a general trend towards a more lenient and democratic style of parenting in Australia.?

For the terms of the study the Greek-Australians were deemed to have come from a traditional collectivist culture, while the Anglo Australians were deemed to have come from a western individualistic culture. Three different styles of parenting were identified:

? Authoritative parents who control their children?s behaviour in an age-appropriate manner and create a warm and affectionate environment where children are encouraged to express their point of view and participate in family decision making.

? Authoritarian parents who exercise firm control over their children, expecting conformity and obedience and allow less room for personal autonomy and independence.

? Permissive parents who exercise minimal control over their children and fail to define appropriate limits and standards of acceptable behaviour.


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