The effect of Ethics and Culture on Parenting

Numerous researches emphasize the vital role of parenting in children’s development (Kuppens & Ceulemans, 2019; Botdorf et al., 2019). Based on Anderson (2011), parenting entails parenting practices that are the “concrete behaviors” and parenting styles which are the stable characteristics that constitute ‘emotional climate’. Barber (1996) had identified two parenting dimensions that reflect on parenting practices: parental control (PC) and parental support (PS). Parental control has been divided into behavioral and psychological control. Behavioral control refers to parental practices that intend to regulate or control child behavior through various disciplinary strategies as punishment or rewards, rules, demands, and supervisory functions (Barber 2002).

But how is parenting related to Ethics and Culture?  Numerous studies had mentioned the effect of ethnicity on parenting practices. For example, Shumow et al. (1998) had shown that African-American parents tend to be less permissive and harsher than white parents are. Moreover, it has been found that authoritative parenting along with positive practices is of significant importance for Latino-Americans and Asian-Americans students in comparison to African-American and European-Americans. In a study of the Mexican population, Calzada et al., (2015) revealed that authoritarian practices were highly associated with children’s internalizing and externalizing behavioral dysfunction at home.

Conversely, European-American students are shown to be more influenced by emotional support than Latino-American and Asian-American (Rosenzweig 2001), this may be reasoned by the fact that Chinese-American parents reported being stricter than European-Americans (Lin and Fu 1990). For instance, respect and duty are fundamental elements of a Mexican family (Lindsey, 2018), and according to Calzada et al, (2015) hierarchy and family loyalty are placed upon an individual’s desires. In other words, Latino parents require deference to adults and obedience which cultivate and develop an authoritarian parenting style (Calzada et al, 2010).

Recent research conducted by Filus et al. (2019) in four different European countries (Norway, Switzerland, Greece, and Poland) with different cultures, living conditions, and values and found that conversely to Norwich, Switzerland, and Polish, granting autonomy and responsiveness of Greeks’ fathers were negatively associated with functional and psychological connectedness. Filus et al. (2019) claims that autonomy granting plays a significant role in adolescents’ individuation.  Individuation is a crucial function for life outcomes and is highly associated with emotional adjustment and academic achievement. In a comparative study conducted in Italy, Greece, and Sweden, Olivari et al (2015) explored the differences and similarities of adolescent perceptions on parenting styles. Findings showed that the dominant style in all the countries was authoritative. Although Italian parents scored higher in authoritarianism, Swedish and Greek adolescents perceived their parents as more permissive than Italian parents.

According to Zervides & Knowles (2007), Greek culture promotes family loyalty, cultivation of relationship harmony within group members, and devotion to group norms. Obedience and conformity to parental rules have been linked with child-rearing austerity.  In addition, Kokkinos and Vlavianou (2019) support that Greek parents are overprotective, and their involvement in children rearing is overmuch. They also underline that Greek culture promotes severe and controlling parenting practices. In a recent study conducted in Greece (Tsela, 2021), findings have shown that authoritative parenting was the strongest predictor for higher school achievement. Moreover, for parenting practices, parental involvement marked the highest positive correlation. Research had shown that when parents follow supporting practices (such as assisting with children’s homework or activities), the outcomes of children’s academic achievements are positive (Ray et al., 2013). Opposing, beating, or criticizing children may cause behavioral problems (aggressiveness, disobedience, etc) that decrease academic performance (Murray-Harvey & Slee, 2007). Moreover, Checa & Abundis-Gutierrez (2017) found a negative relation between academic performance & Coercive Parenting Style.

Garcia & Gracia (2009) supported that the influence of each parental style is a matter of culture and ethnicity and cannot be generalized to all societies. There is a clear boundary between Eastern and Western cultures, for instance, authoritarian parenting does not harm children’s mental health in Arabs or Asian societies as it does to Western societies.  Matejevic & Stojkovic (2012) have also admitted that culture is a dominant aspect between parenting styles and academic achievement. Grolnick (2016) mentions that instead of a strong control of children’s performance, it is of critical importance for parents to focus on the learning process and not to the outcome.

No matter the culture or ethnicity the parent-child bond is built-in love and care. Given the fact that children’s and parents’ perceptions and beliefs differ, parents should stand up and try to eliminate these differences that lead to diverse implications for behavior and motivation. As children’s socialization depended on their parents, being open and maintaining two-way communication channels is a key element of projecting children the proper way of collaboration support.


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