The Diet Fix – Extract

Dr Robert Cywes introduced me to the work of Diana Baumrind, a development psychologist. In a ground-breaking article, Baumrind identified three types of behaviour in pre-school children, which were strongly connected to three parenting styles. Baumrind called these parenting styles authoritative, authoritarian and permissive.
  • AuthoritaTIVE parents (‘firm, but fair’) were described by Baumrind as: communicative, demand­ing, nurturing and controlling. I think that these are old-fashioned, 1960s words that could represent the four pillars well: love, discipline, encouragement and control (at an appropriate level for the child). The children of these parents were described as self reli­ant, self-controlled, explorative and content.
  • AuthoritaRIAN parents (‘disciplinarians’) were non-communicative, demanding, non-nurturing and controlling. The children raised in this way exhibited signs of being discontented and distrust­ful, even at pre-school age. That sounds like too much of Pillar 2, insufficient Pillars 1 and 3 and inappropriate Pillar 4.
  • Permissive parents were described by Baumrind as non-controlling. Their children were described as immature and dependent.
Maccoby and Martin developed Baumrind’s ideas by distinguishing between permissive parents who are indulgent with their children and permissive parents who are uninvolved with their children. This split permissive parenting into two variants, giving us four different par­enting styles overall. I think that this is a really useful enhancement. The outcome for a child will be quite dif­ferent depending on whether or not parents are indulgent and lenient, or indifferent and uninvolved.

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