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Background to the Study

Parenting is a complicated occupation that requires many different skills. It is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood (Davies, 2000). It is a term that summarizes behaviours used by a parent to raise a child. Parenting is the way children are been reared or brought up, that is, child rearing employed by parents in training and bringing up their children from cradle to grave (Olujinmi, 2012). Parenting practices around the world share three major goals: ensuring children’s health and safety, preparing children for life as productive adults and transmitting cultural values. A high-quality parent-child relationship is critical for healthy development. Parenting styles have been found to predict the child’s wellbeing in terms of social competence, academic performance, psychological development and problem behaviour. Its influence on the lives of adolescent is very vital (Alegre, 2008).

Okpoko (2004) and Utti (2006) defined parenting as the act of parenthood and child upbringing. Wikipedia (2012) also defines parenting as the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. For the present study, the researchers define parenting as the skill of moulding, shaping, guiding and supporting the development of an individual from infancy to adulthood. Parenting provides children opportunities for the acquisition of skills and experiences necessary for the achievement of goals in adulthood. It plays a key role in the overall development of the child. Such roles are social, educational and other adaptive behaviours that prepare the child for future fruitful living (Kelland, 2000). Individuals carry out this function of parenting differently, because of differences in personalities and exposure, giving rise to different parenting styles. Parenting style is a universal climate in which families function and in which child rearing behaviour of parents or other primary care givers revolve (Chiew, 2011). Kelland (2000) observes that where an ideal parenting style is employed in the home, the children are disciplined but where this is not, the reverse is the case. In this study, parenting style is referred to as how a person or a parent interacts with his or her children or wards. It also refers to the different patterns that parents use to bring up their children.

Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punitive parenting style in which parents makes their children follow their direction and respect their work and effort. It emphasizes obedience above all else. Authoritative parenting is child-centred with parents communicating positive attitudes toward their children and encouraging the development of self-enhancing attribute (Meteyer & Jenkins, 2009). Permissive parenting is one of which parents are very involved with their children but place few demands or control on them. They are nurturing and accepting, and are responsive to the child’s needs and wishes. Permissive parents do not present themselves as authority figures or role models. They try to be friends with their children and do not play a parental role (Rosenthan, 2002). Democratic parenting is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. Uninvolved parents are unaware or indifferent to their child’s developmental needs; they are inconsistent with emotion, affection and discipline, and range from not reacting at all to their child’s behaviour to tremendous over reaction (Pellerin, 2005). They are detached and emotionally disengaged.

Through the long history of research on parenting, significant correlations have been found between parenting styles and children’s typical behaviour. Authoritarian parents tend to have children who are more likely to be irritable and conflicted, showing signs of both anxiety and anger, not socially skilful and are susceptible to being bullied. Authoritative parenting produces many positive outcomes in children: adaptability, competence and achievement, good social skills and peer acceptance and low levels of antisocial or aggressive behaviour. Permissive parents are more likely to have exhibit uncontrolled, impulsive behaviours and low levels of self-reliance, low on cognitive competence and social agency. Children of uninvolved parents are likely to be impulsive, to show high level of both externalizing problems (e.g. aggressive) and internalizing problems (e.g. depression) and to have low self-esteem (Broderick & Blewitt, 2010).

Parenting styles are different manners of parents’ child relationship. Parenting is a complex activity that includes specific behaviours that work individually and together to influence the child. Although specific parenting behaviours, such as spanking or reading aloud, may influence the child’s development, looking at any specific behaviour in isolation may be misleading. However, there are people who have noted that specific parenting practices are less important in predicting child well-being than is the broad pattern of parenting. Most researchers who attempt to describe this broad parental milieu rely on Diana Baumrind’s concept of parenting style. The construct of parenting style is used to capture normal variations in parents’ attempts to control and socialize their children (Baumrind, 1991; Aunola & Nurmi, 2005). There are two things that are critical in understanding this definition.

Statement of the Problems

Bullying at school is a serious issue for a long time. The relationship between parents and children possesses certain characteristics that explain permanent impact of one upon the other. Researchers noted that children whose parents create a loving home environment are often seen to engage in socially acceptable behaviours and achieve academically better than those whose parents deprive loving home environment and are permissive. Social vices have affected several schools in Surulere metropolis which is seriously threatening the survival of education. For young children, family appears to be a key context, both for understanding the origins of bully problems and for seeking further avenues of prevention. The experiences of children has at home can affect how they conduct themselves in school. Researchers (Ahmed & Braithwaite, 2004) have long accepted that aggression can be learned through observation of aggressive behaviour such as by parents.

Bullying and victimization behaviours in school are strongly influenced by parenting and family environment, and may also flow through the generations in a cycle of violence (Talib, Mohamad & Mamat, 2011). That is because family is a powerful force in a child’s life.  Lack of proper child rearing and ineffective communication with the youngsters which has exposed them to various forms of immoral activities such as disobedience to adults, running away from home and school, crime, sexual risk behaviour, violence, hooliganism amongst others (Micki, 2008).

Several studies have been carried out on parenting styles and bullying behaviour. For instance, Nirmala and Baki (2009) carried out a study on relationship between parenting styles and adolescent’s reaction to conflict. The study showed that family is a place, in which skills are taught and the groundwork for enhancement of personality and increasing of adaptability is laid. The researcher believes that in order to control the emotions and limit behaviours, the personality should be adequately disciplined. Instability of personality is mostly observed in those adolescents who have permissive mothers. Lazarus, Mohammed & Adigun (2012) examined parenting styles and self-concept on emotional adjustment of Nigeria secondary school students. The findings revealed that parenting styles and self-concept have greater influence on emotional adjustments of the respondents. One of the reasons for the poor performance of the students may be due to the parenting style adopted by their parents.

Darling (2007) carried out a study on parenting style and its correlates and thus reported that parenting style predicts child well-being in the domains of social competence, academic performance, psychosocial development and problem behaviour. Wu (1998) studied on factors affecting adolescent delinquency in Singapore. It was also found that the mean of delinquency scores from age group 15 is significantly different from that of the other age groups while the mean of delinquency scores for age groups of 12, 13, and 14 and above 16 are about the same.


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