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Relationships Between Child-Rearing Styles and Child Behavior Over Time

Robert W. Chamberlin, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1978;132(2):155-160. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1978.02120270053011.
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• We Investigate the hypothesis that "authoritarian" styles of child rearing will lead to more home and school problems than will "accommodative" styles. One hundred thirty-five children have been followed up from age 2 into first grade. Follow-up observations show no significant differences between groups on any of the scores indicating malfunctioning for boys or girls at home or school. However, the home behavior of boys being raised with accommodative styles was described in more positive terms by their mothers than those raised with authoritarian styles. The accommodatively raised girls were described in more positive terms by their first grade teachers. We found no evidence in this study that the permissive style is producing large numbers of "spoiled brats" nor that the authoritarian styles are producing large numbers of overly aggressive or inhibited children. The way parents handle authority relationships is not sufficiently predictive of later problems to warrant any widespread attempts by physicians to change them. The physician should respect individual differences in child-rearing style and only intervene where there is substantial evidence that a particular approach is having a harmful effect.

(Am J Dis Child 132:155-160, 1978)


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