|dc.description||My paper was the first of four in a symposium entitled, “Full house: Global studies on parenting”. Other presenters in the symposium reported on parenting situations in Russia, East Asia, and Israel. While there was minimal feedback on my presentation, it was positive overall, although one person stated he preferred the PARQ measure of Parenting Style by Rohner over the Buri measure I used. I chose the Buri measure over other scales (including the PARQ) because it was designed specifically to assess parenting styles as originally described by Baumrind, it was used by dozens of researchers, and it had good reliability and validity. After the presentations we discussed the differences among the different cultures. For example, divorce still carries a high stigma in Hong Kong, so the overall number of divorces is low and children who live in stepfamilies (even more rare) currently have more behavioural problems than children from married families. However, we wondered whether the situation in Hong Kong is merely catching up to the one in the U.S. and Canada, in which divorce used to carry a strong stigma, but has been becoming more common. Negative effects of divorce and stepparenting have lessened as more people have experienced them. My next step will be to look into publishing my work, perhaps in one of the IARR journals: “Journal of Personal Relationships” or “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships”.
One of the most striking aspects of the conference was the friendliness of the attendees. Some of them were regulars and had been meeting one another at IARR for years, but many were graduate students or new scholars. Regardless of how experienced they were, participants seemed very interested in meeting new people and were extremely friendly and helpful. For example, I was impressed by the woman who bought me a “sabra” from the market so I could taste this quintessential Israeli fruit, by the woman who offered me her hat and plastic shoes for surviving the Dead Sea, the woman who pointed out to me a symposium she thought I would be interested in, and the man who immediately opened his computer at lunch to find out whether any sunrise concerts were being performed when I would be at Masada.
One thing I learned from the IARR conference is how popular the concept of Adult Attachment is. This may be partly because a past president of the association (Phil Shaver) was instrumental in creating the first questionnaire assessing adult attachment (Hazan & Shaver, 1987). The measure has undergone many revisions and is now called the Experiences in Close Relationships Revised scale (ECR-R), which was used by many participants at the conference. The concept is based on the original infant-caregiving attachment patterns observed by Bowlby and Ainsworth, but now tends to refer to the bond between intimate partners. An amazing amount of work has been conducted in this area that has consistently found that adults who have a secure attachment are more healthy than other adults in a number of areas. For example, people who demonstrate an avoidant attachment have been found to be more prejudiced, to have a greater tendency to deny the severity of cancer with which they have been diagnosed, and to be the first to run away from a room that was on fire (I wonder how they obtained ethics approval on that one!).
Although I don’t think I’ll be able to apply adult attachment to my research in the near future, I was intrigued by some of the methods used. Apparently it is possible to prime a particular type of attachment regardless of an individual’s inherent attachment style by having him/her describe a particular type of relationship he/she has experienced. Another set of researchers reviewed online parenting discussion boards to analyze the types of issues that new parents face by studying their responses in a natural environment. To my surprise, the themes that arose were extremely similar to the issues that face-to-face interviews revealed to me during my doctoral dissertation almost 20 years ago. These were things that mothers told me no one talked about. It looks like they still don’t talk about them, as the people who posted found them to be unexpected. Will the use of online discussion boards change this phenomenon in the future? Only time will tell. Perhaps I will be able to find out at the next conference, in Chicago in 2012.||en
|dc.description.abstract||Parenting Style and Adolescent Positive Behaviours
Cheryl Kiera and Ambrose Leungb
Mount Royal University
This study explored the relationships between authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parenting styles and adolescent friendship, community involvement, and financial saving behaviour. Authoritative parenting, a style that combines responsiveness (warmth, explanations for consequences, and child-centredness) with demandingness (setting maturity demands, monitoring the child, following through with consequences), has been found to be the most optimal style for youth in the majority North American culture. In comparison, the authoritarian parenting style is high on demandingness, but relies on harsh discipline rather than explanation. Permissive parents set few boundaries for children’s behavior.
150 university students aged 17 to 24 (54 females) completed questionnaires. It was predicted that those who perceived their parents as showing strong authoritativeness would also have supportive friends, engage in the community, and save money rather than spend it. For females (but not males), the more authoritative they rated their mothers and their fathers, the more involved they were in civic activism. Conversely, for females (but not males) the more authoritarian they described their mothers and their fathers, the less the students were involved in civic activism.
Although correlational, results suggest parents have an indirect influence on their daughters’ behaviour. Feeling supported by parents may translate to a desire to help one’s community. When females are treated callously, their motivation to help others may be diminished. In an era in which concern exists about the limited involvement of young people in political affairs, one strategy may be to encourage nurturant parenting so that youth are inspired to make a difference.||en