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Impact of Parental Style on Adolescence


The nature vs nurture debate has for a long time remained unresolved. For the proponents of nature, it was traditionally believed that genetics are responsible for the personality traits of the offspring. The proponents of nurture, on the hand, propose that the environment in which the individual grows up influences most of a person’s behavior or personality. While there has been no consensus on which, of the aforementioned perspectives, is superior, a middle ground has been reached by researchers, such as Gao (2005), who claimed that the outcome of a person’s life in terms of behavior, personality traits and other features, results from the combination of nurture and nature factors. Benyamin (2015), who found that the health of an individual is determined 51% by the environment and 49% by genetics, supports this conceptualization. This assertion has a bearing on the current reflection exercise and can be applied in analyzing the applicability of Baumrind’s parenting style theory and the outcome it has on an individual. As a result, Baumrind’s parenting style theory renders itself as a lens through which we can understand the impact of a parental-child interaction on the child’s behavior or personality. The goal of this paper is to determine how parent style impacts the life of a teenage girl at 15 years of age.

Baumrind’s Parental Style Theory

Baumrind’s parental style theory postulates that the type of parenting a child is exposed to will have a bearing or influence on the child’s future relationships, be they social, parenting, or romantic relationships (Baumrind, 1991). This means that a child’s behavior will reflect the type of parenting the child received. Baumrind (1991) identified three types of parenting styles namely authoritarian, authoritative, and indulgent/permissive. First, the authoritarian parenting is a style of parenting where parents demand more of their children but offer little support. This style underscores the need for obedience by children without explanation of the parents’ orders. This environment is characterized by a specific structure with clear rules. Second, the authoritative parenting style is characterized by a scenario where parents, expect highly of their children, communicate clearly, are constituent and reasonable in their expectations, and responsive and warm towards their children. These parents often use reasoning, as opposed to coercion, to guide behavior. Third, the permissive/indulgent parenting style is low on demandingness and high on support. Children of these parents have low self-regulation and are likely to get into trouble often. Children reared in such an environment do not adhere to boundaries or rules. The next section reflects on how I was brought up and the impact on me as a teenage girl of 15 years of age.

Permissive Parenting Style and Teenage Outcomes

I was born in a middle-income home. My family lives in a good neighborhood and my parents work decent jobs. In class, Anna’s performance was poor as a teenager. I would never complete my assignments on time; neither did I have respect for the teachers. I was always engaged in my phone, while in class and did not follow the teacher’s rules. Unlike my friend Megan, who had to look after her younger siblings after school, while her parents were out running errands, I never had chores at home. I felt that school was a waste of time and a stage that we must all pass by. This is because nothing much was asked of me at home. My parents did not bother to check whether I did my homework nor did they show any interest in my schoolwork. Growing up my parents often let me have my way all the time. These are traits that align with Baumrind’s permissive or indulgent parental style as discussed in (Kuppens, S., & Ceulemans, 2019). In all exams, Anna always got the lowest marks and came close to last. Poor academic performance is a dimension that has been used to research parent-adolescent interaction. Research has shown that permissive parenting is linked to poor academic performance (Ehrenreich et al., 2014). During this young age, I hardly knew the damage the upbringing was doing to me. I also tend to think that my parents did not know because they believed they were treating me nice. Today, I struggle with so many problems that have their roots in my teenage years. At teenage, I almost fell into the trap of drug use because I was always experimenting. My impulsivity was high that I did not care about what happened to me or what the consequences of my actions were. While my parents were involved in my life, I feel that they I lacked the parental support that would have made me a responsible person. This is also a common problem with permissive parenting (Kuppens, S., & Ceulemans, 2019). I believe that the lack of parental support is the reason for my impulsivity. The lack of structure in my family did not mould me into a responsible person. The fact that I could not respect boundaries and authority is a clear indication that at home I was not brought up in such an environment. According to Power (2013), structure forms an integral part of the primary dimensions of parenting. The other dimensions that preclude an ideal parenting style include warmth and support (). These dimensions are embodied in Baumrinds authoritative parenting style. Clearly, I was missing out so much because of my parents’ parenting style. Despite these shortfalls in my upbringing, I have changed. Though I struggle sometimes, Baumrind’s theory has helped me understand the root cause of my problem and I am working hard to become a responsible young adult.


The theory parental style theory provides a framework for understanding how a child’s upbringing affects the child’s behavior and personality. Further, it shows that the environment in which a child grows is vital for the behavioral development of that child. Through this theory, a reader can begin to conceptualize how adolescence problems begin. For instance, a child who engages in drug abuse is a child reared in an environment that lacks support and structure. The reason for the lack of such dimensions are a different topic altogether because of the broader sociological issues involved. Nevertheless, the theory provides a lens through which we can begin to understand why children from a similar background could have different personalities and behaviors. The answer is in the upbringing and parenting. I believe this information will help in the future when I become a parent.


Baumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. The journal of early adolescence11(1), 56-95.

Ehrenreich, S. E., Beron, K. J., Brinkley, D. Y., & Underwood, M. K. (2014). Family predictors of continuity and change in social and physical aggression from ages 9 to 18. Aggressive behavior40(5), 421-439.

Guo, G. (2005). Twin studies: What can they tell us about nature and nurture? Contexts, 4(3), 43-47

Kuppens, S., & Ceulemans, E. (2019). Parenting styles: A closer look at a well-known concept. Journal of child and family studies28(1), 168-181.


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