Diana Baumrind

1 January 2017

Baumrind is a clinical and developmental psychologist that specializes in parenting styles. Baumrind was born on August 23, 1927 in a small Jewish community in New York City; she was the first of two daughters born to Hyman and Mollie Blumberg. Baumrind earned a B. A. in philosophy at Hunter College in 1948. She later received her M. A. and Ph. D. in Psychology at the University of California, Berkley; she studied developmental, clinical, and social psychology.

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Her doctoral dissertation was entitled “Some personality and situational determinants of behavior in a discussion group” Baumrind completed a clinical residency at the Cowell Memorial Hospital/Kaiser Permanente and was a fellow under the NIMH grant investigating therapeutic change, extending her research to families and therapy groups. By 1960 Baumrind was a clinical and developmental psychologist at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley. She is well known for her research on parenting styles and for her critique of deception in psychological research.

Baumrind is a recipient of the G. Stanley Hall Award and an NIMH Research Scientist Award. Baumrind work on research design, socialization, moral development, and professional ethics is unified by her belied that individual’s rights and responsibilities are inextricable and moral action determined “volitionally and consciously” (Kemp, 1997). Diana Baumrind has had a very distinguish career as an academic research and commentator on the role of ethics and understanding of research findings. She has been awarded multiple national grants over a 40-year career devoted to family socialization and parenting research.

Baumrind is the author of 58 articles in journals or as book chapters, as well as three books and monographs. She has also served as an editor and consultant to numerous professional journals and has been an esteemed member of multiple national psychology organizations (Berkley University). Diana Baumrind had many different influences that directed her studies in psychology, including personal influences, historical influences, as well as influences from other psychologist. One personal influence on Baumrind’s research is the fact that she was divorced and a single mother of three daughters.

She chose a research career that was supported by multiple large grants because of the flexible hours help her to balance caring for her daughters, political activism, and scholarship. Also having raising three children alone could cause one to evaluate different parenting styles in the search of trying to do what is best for the children (Kemp, 1997). The historical factor that influenced Baumrind’s research is that when she started graduate school in 1948 there was huge turmoil of the loyalty oath controversy of 1948-1949 that led to the legal battle of Tolman vs.

Underhill. This historical even may had some effect on the focus of Baumrind’s research because Tolman was a senior professor at the University of California and his refusal to sign the oath resulted in a uproar at the time that could have effected many of the students that attended the university but mainly Baumrind because Tolman was in the psychology department. Another influence on Baumrind’s research was Stanley Milgram’s 1963 study of obedience to authority. Milgram’s study had a great effect on Baumrind; she was highly critical of Milgram’s study.

Baumrind challenged Milgram on whether he had properly protected the welfare of the participants. She used direct quotes from Milgram’s original report to illustrate the lack of regard she said was shown to the participants. In particular she noted the detached manner in which Milgram described the emotional turmoil experienced by the volunteers (Baumrind, 1964). In Baumrind’s view, and in the view of numerous others, the levels of anxiety experienced by participants were enough to warrant halting the experiment.

Milgram related his study to the behavior of people who worked in Nazi death camps and suggested that his study illuminated the way that ordinary people living ordinary lives are capable of playing a part in destructive and cruel acts. Baumrind dismissed this justification for the study and suggested there are few, if any, parallels between the behavior in the study and the behavior in the death camps. (Baumrind, 1964). Baumrind went on to publish an influential commentary on research ethics.

Baumrind has continued to address ethical issues in research on humans through consultation with the American Psychological Association and published work. As we can see Milgram’s study greatly influenced Baumrind and she was sure to use ethical measures when performing her own research on humans. Baumrind was also greatly influenced by many teachers and professors, many who were closet Marxist who reinforced her social consciousness and strengthened her philosophical grounding in dialectical materialism.

John Somerville, Bernard Frank Riess, and Otto Klineberg influenced Baumrind. Their research on selective migration and racial stereotypes challenged American racism and eugenics programs greatly influenced her, Klinebergian cross-cultural sensitivity permeates Baumrind’s writing on ethical theory and moral development. These three people influence her my allowing her to engage and intellectual conversation about philosophy and ethical topics that resulted in Baumrind conducting her own studies and becoming a political activist (Baumrind, 1998).

Research from other psychologist also influenced Baumrind. Baumrind was influenced by the research of Theodore Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel Levinson and Nevit Sanford on anti-Semitism and the authoritarian personality. The teaching of Egon Brunswik who impressed upon her the importance of idiographic research also influenced her. The conformity research of Krech and Crutchfield also influenced her (Kurtines, 1992). Each of these different influences can be seen through different research projects and works of Diana Baumrind.

Baumrind utilized something she learned from each of her influences to become the amazing psychologist she is today. Baumrind’s work on parenting styles is probably her most famous and important research. Back in the early 1960s, Baumrind conducted her famous childcare research. In her stuffy she and her research team followed more than 100 middle class children of preschool-age Baumrind’s primary research methods were interviews and observation. The aim of her child parent behavior study was to formulate and evaluate the effect of most typical Western parenting styles.

The three parenting styles studied were the authoritarian parenting style, the permissive parenting style, and the authoritative parenting style. Her findings were ground breaking and the time and have since been subject to both academic acclaim and criticism. In her study Baumrind used two aspects of parenting to evaluate and from her data the 3 parenting styles were defined in relation to those two elements. The two elements that she evaluated were parental responsiveness vs. parental unresponsiveness and parental demandingness vs. parenting undemandingness.

Baumrind describes responsiveness as “the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion by being attuned, supportive, and acquiescent to children’s special needs and demands” (Baumrind, 1991). This is basically how much the parent’s responds to their child’s needs and if they meet their child’s needs. Baumrind described demandingness, as “the claims parents make on children to become integrated into the family whole, by their maturity demands, supervision, disciplinary efforts and willingness to confront the child who disobeys” (Baumrind, 1991).

Demandingness could also be described as the parents control over the child. It is the level of behavior control the parents exercise on their kids based on their expectations of “mature” behavior. The authors investigated the effects of preschool patterns of parental authority on adolescent competence and emotional health and differentiated between confrontive and coercive power-assertive practices, which accounted in part for differential long-term effects of the preschool patterns (Baumrind, 2010).

The objective of the exercise of parental authority is to maintain order in the family and to help with the responsibility of the parents to lead their child from a dependent infant to a independent, self-determining, self-regulated adult. The aim of the study was to investigate how preschool patterns of parental authority contribute to adolescents’ competence and emotional health (Baumrind, 2010). For this experiment the participants were 87 families initially studied when children were preschool students, with outcomes assessed during early adolescence.

Families were drawn from Baumrind’s Family Socialization and Developmental Competence longitudinal program of research. Baumrind used observational and interview data to test hypotheses relating to preschool power-assertive practices and patterns of parental authority to children’s attributes as adolescents (Baumrind, 2010).

The researchers used variable-centered analyses to investigate the differential effects of 5 oercive power-assertive practices that they hypothesized were authoritarian-distinctive and detrimental and 2 confrontive practices, behavioral control and normative spanking, that they hypothesized were neither authoritarian-distinctive nor detrimental (Baumrind, 2010). Diana Baumrind came up with three parenting styles authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. In the authoritarian parenting style, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow the rules set by the parents usually results in some sort of punishment.

Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind the rules set for the children. If asked to explain, the parents might reply, “Because I said so. ” These parents have high demands, but are not responsive to their children. According to Baumrind, these parents are obedience and status-oriented and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation (Baumrind, 1991). Praise and reward are potentially dangerous with this style because of the idea that they may lead to children becoming “too full of themselves” and consequently developing too much autonomy and straying off the “good” path.

This parenting style has a great effect on the child. Children of authoritarian parents quickly learn to adjust to the parents’ expectations. They tend to willingly obey authorities they have accepted that they must follow the rules. These children are not used to making independent choices, taking full responsibility for themselves and they do not experiment with new ways of doing things or alternative ways of thinking. Research suggests that these children are not as socially “skilled” as children from different parenting styles.

These children may also find it difficult to handle frustration and they are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression (Baumrind, 1996). In the authoritative parenting style, the parents establish rules that their children are expected to follow but the parents will explain why the rules are necessary. The parent encourages verbal give and takes and questions from the child. When the child fails to meet the expectations these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing.

Baumrind suggests that these parents “monitor and impact clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible and self-regulated as well as cooperative” (Bower, 1989). This parenting style enforces the parent’s perspective as an adult but also recognizes the child’s individual interest and special ways. This parent affirms the child’s present qualities but also sets standards for future conduct (Baumrind, 1967).

Research suggest that because of the use of positive reinforcement along with logical and fair rules set in a caring manner the child will learn that behaving and following the rules is good and they will receive positive attention. This will help the child to develop social skills and emotional regulation. It is suggested that children from authoritative parents do well in school, are self confident and goal orientated (Baumrind, 1967). In the permissive style of parenting the parents are referred to as indulgent, having very few demands to make of their children.

These parents do not discipline their children because they have low expectations of maturity and self-control. Baumrind suggests that permissive parents “are more responsive then they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation (Baumrind, 1991). Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent. This parent attempt to behave in an acceptant manner towards the child’s impulses, desires, and actions.

The parent is not seen as an active agent responsible for shaping the child’s future behavior. Research suggests that the complete lack of limits, absence of authority figures and no consistent routines may lead to a sense of insecurity in the child. Because of the belief that the world is open to explore without limits the children of permissive parents are found to be more impulsive and involved in “problematic” behavior such as drug and alcohol use. These children may end up with high social skills, high self esteem and low levels of depression (Baumrind, 1966).

Maccoby and Martin later added the neglectful or uninvolved parenting style. This parenting style is both low on responsiveness and low on demandingness and very little communication (Maccoby, 1992). These parents fulfill the child’s basic needs but they are usually detached and emotionally separated from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children. The children of neglectful or uninvolved parents have very low self-esteem. No attention makes them feel unimportant. They are less socially competent and they usually perform poorly in all domains (Maccoby, 1992).

Baumrind’s results showed that adolescents whose parents were classified as directive, democratic, or authoritative when the adolescents were preschool students were competent and well adjusted relative to adolescents whose parents were classified as authoritarian, permissive, or disengaged. Adolescents from authoritarian families were notably incompetent and maladjusted. Variable centered analyses indicated verbal hostility and psychological control were the most detrimental of the authoritarian-distinctive coercive power-assertive practices (Baumrind, 1991).

Severe physical punishment and arbitrary discipline were also authoritarian-distinctive and detrimental. Normal punishment and confrontive discipline were neither. Confrontive discipline and maturity demands contributed to authoritative parenting’s effectiveness, whereas normative physical punishment was neutral in its effects. The findings extend the consistently negative outcomes of authoritarian parenting and positive outcomes of authoritative parenting (Baumrind, 1991). Baumrind has also studied the effect of corporal punishment on children.

She concluded that the mild spanking, in the context of authoritative parenting style, is unlikely to have a significant detrimental effect, if the one is careful to control other variables. Baumrind believes that mild corporal punishment per se does not increase the likelihood of bad outcomes. (Baumrind, 1996). Many of the issues Baumrind researched and the conclusion she made are very controversial. Due to her controversial topics Diana Baumrind research had influenced many other psychologist to look into parenting styles, not only to criticize her work but also to support it.

Baumrind’s research had major influences on other psychologist and the field of psychology as a whole. Baumrind’s research that led to her development of parenting styles resulted in many other psychologist conducting research to further develop her research now we know how each parenting style effects children and how certain parenting styles can be utilized for aggression, academic achievement, attachment, etc. Two psychologist who were influenced by Baumrind are Maccoby and Martin. Baumrind had such a huge effect on these two that the furthered her theory by adding a fourth parenting style.

The neglectful/uninvolved parenting style where the parents had very little demandingness, communication, and responsiveness. This was good discovery for the field of psychology because it allows families that didn’t fit into the other three categories to be placed (Maccoby, 1992). With these four parenting styles psychologist were able to come up with other hypothesis about the parenting styles and other influences in combination with parenting styles such as location, culture, background, etc. Psychologist such as Turiel furthered Baumrind research on the use and miss use of cultural construct.

Turiel went even further by relating this to oppression and morality (Turiel, 1998). Rodriguez also furthered Baumrind studies by researching protective parents in first generation Latinos. Not only did Rodriguez look at it in a cultural since, parenting style was also made more specific to a protective parent. This study was great for the field of psychology because it allow us to see how parenting style varied in a Latino community specifically and it was all influenced by Baumrind previous work (Rodriguez, 2009). Bowlby another psychologist influenced by Baumrind used her studies on parenting style to study attachment.

Bowlby believed that attachment characterized the human personality through out their like. The representations or working models that the child has a relationship are from his or her care giving experience. Hazan and Shaffer went on to explore Bowlby ideas of attachment but in a romantic relationship. They concluded that romantic love is a property of the attachment behavioral system as well as the motivational systems that given rise to care giving and sexuality. Although Baumrind did not have a direct influence on their research, she had an indirect influence (Shaffer, 2005).

Baumrind research has led to many psychological discoveries that are now used to treat patients and to help parents with their style of parenting. In conclusion Diana Baumrind development as a psychologist in addition to her research and finding had lead to many benefits in the field of psychology. Diana Baumrind has identified 3 different ways of parenting and she studied out each style of parenting may effect the child. Her research influenced others to do research concerning parenting styles, which lead to the discovery of the fourth parenting style.

Out of the four parenting styles, authoritarian, permissive, authoritative, and neglectful Baumrind decided that the authoritative was the best form of parent and had the chance of resulting in the most stable and self-regulated child. Baumrind’s findings also influenced other psychologist to research these four parenting styles under specific culture backgrounds. Diana Baumrind has had a major effect on psychology her parenting style are used to help diagnose and treat patients as well as give parenting advice for parents who have their child’s best interest at heart. Diana Baumrind is very important to psychology.

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