Posts Tagged ‘Authoritative Parenting’

Permissiveness+Neglect+Abuse in Children= Bad Behavioral Contagion!

November 18, 2018

Permissiveness+Neglect+Abuse in Children= Bad Behavioral Contagion!

Many Americans look upon recent developments in American politics in amazement. You can easily hear: America is falling apart! What the hell is going on?! What is happening to us?! Things are spinning out-of-control!

The truth is that all of the social chaos and fearsome anarchy, as well the rise in popularity of Marxist ideals and socialism, have been growing under all of our noses for many years.

A plethora of variables have contributed to the mess that America is now. What we are experiencing is a close approximation to complex cause-effect sociocultural downward spiral that has badly damaged almost all of Western Civilization.

There are a great many influences that singularly and in combination, bring stress and harm to the quality of a population’s behavior patterns. Such influences can be war, petulance, disease, famine, and natural disasters, etc.. Changes of this sort are classified as distress. On the other hand, changes that are considered good, happy or “beneficial” can cause more moderate stress and are known as eustress. Each kind of stress requires adaptation, time and energy to accommodate. 

Then there is a host of stressful advantages and disadvantages that arrive in the form of what may be called “modernization”; namely technological advancements in the area’s of communication, transportation, entertainment, medicine, economics, other time-saving and work-saving advancements. These cultural changes tend to increase faith in mankind and diminishing faith in founding religions as well as other cultural, social, economic and political beliefs and preferences. Many also make life less effortful and rewards more easy to obtain. These cultural changes can contribute to a weakening of motivation and perseverance within a population. Consider the anti-motivational effects of welfare programs and true socialism, for example.

It is important to add, to the previous incomplete list of influences and stresses, the variable of increasing complexity in governments. Governments tend to grow in power, scope and complexity until they become ineffective and moribund. Defunct governments loose legitimacy and increase the likelihood of revolution.

Democratic societies appear to be particularly susceptible to his chain of events, their life-spans are thought by many to typically last around 200 years or so.

It appears, as with individuals, all changes within sociocultures, good or bad, are stressful because they require that a population, political, economic and social agencies change and adapt their behavior patterns in order to meet new challenges.

An important source of change, stressing the entire sociocultural system is what happens to families and the children that they rear. It is important to note that families both affect sociocultural evolution for good or bad and are, in turn, themselves affected by sociocultural evolution, for good or bad. 

This brings us to the matter of Behavioral Contagion, defined as: The spread of particular behavior patterns within a population via scientifically validated Biopsychosocial mechanisms.

It is important to note that changes within populations stress the various social and political agencies that serve them. I call this level of behavioral contagion; Higher Order Behavioral Contagion.

There are many avenues of behavioral contagion. Biological influences include physical damage due to physical injuries, diseases, or inherited characteristics. Social influences include the more’s, folkways, and other behavior patterns among the population to which individuals are exposed. Psychological influences include the mechanisms of behavior change found within the scientific realms of Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Conditioning and Learning Psychology, Behavior Analysis and Applied Behavior Analysis, etc. They also include the perceptual, emotional and belief changes that are influenced within each domain.

Now, please learn about one very important current avenue of bad behavioral contagion in America.

Permissiveness+Neglect+Abuse of Children= Bad Behavioral Contagion!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Health Services Provider in Psychology

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana University South Bend





Permissiveness, Neglect, Abuse Produces Bad Behavior

November 11, 2018

Permissiveness, Neglect, Abuse Produces Bad Behavior 

Permissive parenting styles produce bad behaviors in children,  many of whom grow-up to be emotionally troubled adults. The effects of permissive parenting methods, and others, have been well-researched by psychologists and the following is a summary of findings that have held-up under continued evaluation for decades.

The Authoritative Parenting Style tends to produce the best outcomes in children.

“Authoritative parents have high expectations for achievement and maturity, but they are also warm and responsive. These parents set rules and enforce boundaries by having open discussions and using reasoning. They are affectionate and supportive and encourage independence. This parenting style is also known as Democratic Parenting Style.”

I will add that authoritative parents may incorporate moderate forms of punishment if their more cognitive, informative, logical age-appropriate reasoning and praise fails to correct important problem behaviors. When punishment is needed, these parents are more likely to use timeouts and loss of privileges as consequences for non-compliance to basic rules.

It should be noted that the technical term “punishment”, means only that a consequence for a particular behavior reduces its future frequency of occurrence. The term does not exclusively refer to using physical pain, i.e., spankings, hitting or “whoopings”, to control behavior. Authoritative parents do their best to avoid these methods and if they fail, they are likely to seek professional assistance with the problems. 

Children raised by authoritative parents tend:

  • Appear happy and content.
  • Are more independent.
  • Achieve higher academic success.
  • Develop good self-esteem.
  • Interact with peers using competent social skills.
  • Have better mental health — less depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, delinquency, alcohol and drug use.
  • Exhibit less violent tendencies.

The Authoritarian Parenting Style tends to do poorly.

“Although authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles have similar names, they have several important differences in parenting beliefs. While both parental styles demand high standards, authoritarian parents demand blind obedience using reasons such as “because I said so“. These parents use stern discipline and often employ punishment to control children’s behavior. Authoritarian parents are unresponsive to their children’s needs and are generally not nurturing.”

Parents raised by authoritarian parents tend to:

  • Appear insecure.
  • Possess lower self-esteem.
  • Exhibit more behavioral problems.
  • Perform worse academically.
  • Have poorer social skills.
  • Are more prone to mental issues.

I will add that authoritarian parents tend to use more corporal punishment (spanking, slapping, hitting, and so called “whoopings”) and/or harsh and insulting reprimands. Their discipline methods are often judged to be abusive in nature and merit a report to child protective services. To the list below, I will also add that children so raised are often aggressive/abusive to others and they frequently raise their own children using the same authoritarian style that was used on them.

The Permissive Parenting Styles also tend to do poorly.

“Permissive indulgent parents set very few rules and boundaries and they are reluctant to enforce rules. These parents are warm and indulgent but they do not like to say no or disappoint their children.”

Children of permissive parenting:

  • Cannot follow rules.
  • Have worse self-control.
  • Possess egocentric tendencies.
  • Encounter more problems in relationships and social interactions.

During my 40 years of private practice, I have found that many permissive indulgent parents have been raised that way. I have also observed that many have been raised by abusive authoritarian people and they appear to be over-compensating for that painful experience by being permissive indulgent parents. Psychologists sometimes call this common tendency, an “undoing” or a reaction-formation defense mechanism. 

The Permissive Neglectful Parenting Style tends to do even more poorly than the permissive indulgent style.

“Neglectful parents do not set firm boundaries or high standards. They are indifferent to their children’s needs and uninvolved in their lives. These uninvolved parents tend to have mental issues themselves such as maternal depression, physical abuse or child neglect when they were kids.”

Children of neglectful parents:

  • Are more impulsive.
  • Cannot self-regulate emotion.
  • Encounter more delinquency and addictions problems.
  • Have more mental issues — e.g. suicidal behavior in adolescents.

Please note that the descriptions of parenting styles, within quotation marks, are taken directly from the following short excellent article. The bulleted behavioral descriptions of children raised under each parenting style are also direct quotes from this article.

Also, please understand that I have emphasized the words “tend to” when describing parenting style outcomes for developing children. I did this to accommodate the fact that there are other variables that also contribute a particular child’s development including genetics, diseases and many other broader environmental influences. There will be exceptions to the outcomes described above.

I hope you will take time to read the following short parenting article. It has valuable additional information for you to consider. A firm understanding of this research area will benefit those who are parents, grandparents, or who in other ways are in contact with children.

Finally, not only do children who grow to be adult citizens tend to perpetuate their parent’s parenting styles with their own children. They also interact with other citizens of all ages in ways that either benefit or damage them. 

Given what you have learned about mechanisms of behavioral contagion, you can understand why the parenting style research literature reviewed here is of paramount importants to America’s evolving sociocultural health and viability.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 11/18/18

Health Services Provider in Psychology

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana University South Bend







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