421 word article
The psychologists Baumrind, Maccobyand, and Martin have, between them, identified four main types of parenting styles. These are a) Authoritarian, b) Authoritative, c) Permissive and, d) Uninvolved. In this article, I wish to concentrate on the fourth parenting style – UNINVOLVED, as the research indicates that it is this one that does the greatest damage to the child.
WHAT IS MEANT BY THE TERM ‘UNINVOLVED PARENTS’?
Whilst such parents provide for the child’s basic, physical needs (ie food and shelter), they will typically display the following characteristics :
– lack an emotional connection to their children
– distant and aloof
– frequently attempt to avoid their children
– indifferent to and dismissive of many of the child’s fundamental needs (eg to be shown love and emotional warmth)
– disinterested in important areas of their children’s lives, such as their friends, their interests/hobbies. their schoolwork/behavior at school, how much alcohol they drink etc
– rigid and inflexible
– uncaring about how their child behaves in general, offering no, or, at best, minimal, supervision
– often uninterested in their children due to a preoccupation with their own concerns (eg career ambition, relationship difficulties, etc)
POSSIBLE NEGATIVE OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN OF UNINVOLVED PARENTS :
The research suggests that being the child of uninvolved parents can lead to a large array of problems touching most of the important areas of life. These include :
– a greater proneness to stress and anxiety
– an increased risk of alcohol and/or drug abuse
– more likely to develop problematic behaviours/delinquency
– tend to perform less well academically
– more likely to have difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships (theorized to be due to not learning how to display love, warmth, and affection from parents)
– tend to have poorer social skills
Of course, not all individuals who have been brought up by uninvolved parents will experience the difficulties listed above – the research simply suggests such individuals are likely to be more vulnerable to developing such problems. Also, some individuals who are brought up by uninvolved parents have important, significant, strongly positive, and validating relationships outside of the immediate family which can have a PROTECTIVE EFFECT. It should also be noted that the findings listed above, in the main, derive from correlational studies which do not prove direct cause and effect between parents being uninvolved and their offspring developing the problems listed. Inevitably, other factors will be involved, such as how much emotional support the individual has outside of the family, as alluded to above.
HOW TO DEAL WITH AN EMOTIONALLY DISTANT PARENT:
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).