Different Maternal Responses and Cognitions in Hypothetical Power Bouts: Relations to Parenting Styles

Kathy L. Ritchie
2022 Midwest Social Sciences Journal  
In order to explore how parental styles and maternal cognitions interacted with difficult extended discipline episodes called power bouts, 88 mothers were categorized as either authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, or uninvolved. Mothers then read six hypothetical vignettes about a four-yearold child misbehaving and were asked how they would respond to the child and how they would respond a second time if the child did not behave. These open-ended responses were coded on a scale of
more » ... g power assertiveness, with 0 indicating giving in and 5 indicating using punishment through spanking, removal of privilege, or time-out. Using Bell and Chapman's (1986) control system model to understand how mothers of different parenting styles would respond in a power bout, it was hypothesized that authoritative mothers would become increasingly power assertive in order to control the child but that authoritarian mothers would use higher levels of power assertion over both responses and that permissive parents would be consistently lower in power assertion. Results confirmed the hypothesis for authoritarian mothers, but permissive mothers also increased power-assertive responses, as did authoritative mothers. Authoritarian mothers were consistent but did not react as power-assertively as anticipated. Results are discussed in terms of how power bouts interact with parental cognition and discipline strategies in conjunction with Bell and Chapman's model but could be different for authoritative parents compared to other parental styles. KEY WORDS Parenting Styles; Parenting Cognitions; Power Bouts; Discipline Baumrind's (1971) seminal work defining general parenting styles profoundly shaped parenting theory, not only influencing views of effective parenting but also setting the research agenda. Her work identified three prominent styles, to which Maccoby and Martin (1983) added a fourth. Each of these styles has its own approach to showing warmth and enforcing limits through discipline. Though they have been tied to specific parental actions,
doi:10.22543/2766-0796.1087 fatcat:ngzrfwealjcjtgu5g7retflfti