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Influence of Parenting Styles on a Child’s Emotional Stability and Identity

Parenting can take many different styles. Some of the styles in this respect include neglecting, permissive, and authoritarian parenting styles (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). These three distinct styles often have different effects on the emotional stability and identity of a child. Children who are subjected to authoritarian parenting style exhibit some levels of hostility, anxiety and low self-esteem. In addition, Broderick and Blewitt (2015) point out that such children are often short of the necessary social skills. As such, they are likely to develop the feeling of worthlessness before their peers and be prone to bullying by the same peers. The authoritarian style may also be referred to as strict father morality parenting. The strict father model requires that in parenting, the father should subject their children to strict discipline (Wehling & Lakoff, 2012). The major tenets of the model show that it is not in touch with the human mind realities. As Lakoff (2002) notes, there are four conditions that the human behavior and human mind must meet as required by Strict Father morality. The following are the conditions: absolute categorization (everything falls into a category); literality (for rules to be deemed moral, they have to be literal); perfect communication (the meaning intended to be communicated by the speaker is the same that is received by the hearer); and, folk behaviorism (humans tend to act in a manner to avoid punishments while getting rewards).

Compared to authoritarian parents, parents who are permissive are less demanding of their children. Children who are brought up by such parents tend to develop a non-self-reliant behavior. Additionally, they are impulsive in tackling issues and problems (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Given that they often feel “safe” or invulnerable, they often engage in activities that are potentially harmful to them.

The third parenting style is “uninvolved/neglecting” style. Some of the characteristics of children who pass through such parentage are aggressiveness, depression, and low self-esteem (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). As explained by De Young, Kenardy and Cobham (2011), children who get exposed to trauma and/or neglect have high chances of suffering from negative psychological developments throughout their life. However, the detrimental psychological effects are usually at their peak when the children are still fully dependent on their parents. As they grow into adulthood, “neglected” children develop very weak or no skills for coping in life. It is also noteworthy that such children are often not strongly attached to their parents or caregivers. They lack a sense of direction as they try to grapple with the happenings in the world. They have no clear role model and feel free to do anything at will.

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Noteworthy, practices and techniques of child rearing vary in some environments and cultures as far as their meanings are concerned. This implies that their outcomes also vary. Latino parents for instance lay their focus on family interdependence whereby they encourage their children to seek the help of and lend a helping hand to other family members. On the other hand, families of European-American origin emphasize on individualism, egalitarianism, or autonomy (Cote & Bornstein, 2009). The implication of these two examples is that cultural values have great influence on parenting practices and hence styles of parenting.

An example of cultural influence on parenting may be seen from mothers from different cultural groups such as European-American and Puerto Rican cultures. According Cote and Bornstein (2009), mothers from both these groups show warmth and support to their children. However, mothers from the Puerto Rican culture tend to be directive in their parenting. On the contrary, European-American mothers perfect in allowing their children make choices out of a range of many options. They believe in a child being availed with more suggestions than being overly directed. These mothers also tend to allow their children explore and exercise autonomy. Back to Latino mothers, they hold that children should meet their obligations. They further have the belief that children’s actions should be for the common good. As such, they train their children to respect their connections and relationships with other people (Cote & Bornstein, 2009). In terms of identity, a European-American child enjoys more autonomy and independence that a Latino one, given that the latter has less individualism and more interconnectedness. Thus, parenting styles differ and are to some extent influenced by cultures and environments.


Broderick, P. C., &Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals. (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Cote, L. R., & Bornstein, M. H. (2009). Child and mother play in three U.S. cultural groups: Comparisons and associations. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(3), 355-363.

De Young, A. C., Kenardy, J. A., &Cobham, V. E. (2011). Trauma in early childhood: A neglected population. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 14(3), 231-250.

Lakoff, G. (2002). Moral politics: How liberals and conservatives think (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Wehling, E., & Lakoff, G. (2012). The little blue book: the essential guide to thinking and talking democratic (1st ed.). New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

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