Report stresses parental support

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 1994, 12:00am

SETTING out clear rules, encouraging children's independence and adopting open communication would promote children's self-esteem, psychosocial maturity and academic achievement, a recent report pointed out.

The 'Relationship Between Parenting Styles and Adolescents' Behaviour', conducted by the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong, was aimed at finding out the types of parenting styles perceived by adolescents and exploring the relationship between these styles and adolescent behaviour in Hong Kong.

The report categorised four parenting styles, namely authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglectful, based on the results of the survey.

About 2,576 students filled out the questionnaire.

The report defined authoritative parents as those who provided clear standards, encouraged individuality and adopted open communication with their children while authoritarian parents controlled their children with an absolute set of criteria.

Parents who were very tolerant and used little punishment were classified as indulgent parents and neglectful parents were insensitive to their children's needs.

About 27.7 per cent of parents were classified as authoritative, 15.0 per cent authoritarian, 13.4 per cent indulgent and 43.9 per cent neglectful.

Findings revealed parenting style was the most influential factor in building children's self-esteem, psychosocial maturity, academic achievement and social responsibility.

Adolescents from authoritative and indulgent families received the highest scores and in self-esteem, measured by personal attributes, social competence, academic achievement and non-cognitive ability into self-esteem.

Parenting style was found to be the most influential factor affecting adolescents' sense of social responsibility, followed by family status, father's education level and housing type.

The report suggested parents listen to their children and observe their behaviour to learn their type of parenting style.

'Open and frequent communication is a basis for a satisfying parent-child relationship,' it said.

The report suggested that parents should help adolescents acquire independence when they are ready and allow them to experiment and err on the road to maturity. At the same time, it added, parents should provide behavioural rules and principles for their children so that they would have adequate guidelines to follow.