Diana Baumrind is a clinical psychologist that researched on how different child-rearing practices can influence the attachment styles formed between the child and the parent. Authoritarian, neglectful, permissive and authoritative, child-rearing are four popular child-rearing styles that parents usually use on their children and most parents tend to fit in one of these categories (Baumrind, 1968). Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas made a longitudinal study in New York on the development of temperament in 141 children from infancy to adulthood (Thomas & Chess, 1977). Thomas and Chess’s results displayed that temperament can protect a child from adverse effects of a stressful life, or alternatively increase the child’s chances of procuring psychological problems (Thomas & Chess, 1977).
They also found out that child-rearing practices like the four stated above can considerably alter a child’s temperament (Thomas & Chess, 1977). The most widely regarded, beneficial and productive child-rearing style a parent can use on their children is the authoritative child-rearing style. Authoritative parents tend to have high expectations for their children and may seem to be mean at times, but they also tend to be understanding and supportive of their children (Baumrind, 1968). They tend to put structure into their children’s lives such as household rules, chores, homework, sleeping, and eating times but not to the extremes that an authoritarian parent would do (Baumrind, 1968). The attachment style that would be portrayed by the child would be a secure attachment due to the child knowing that even if their parents give them rules, chores, etc., that their parents are doing it for their own good and still gives them freedom, love, support, and understanding .
This attachment and child-rearing style also promote independence, better decision-making, higher self-esteem, and better social abilities. Authoritarian parents usually have the tendency to be very strict and demanding but unresponsive (Baumrind, 1968). These parents tend to rely on punishment to teach a lesson or to demand obedience, and they tend to give their children very few choices and decisions about their lives (Baumrind, 1968). Authoritarian parenting would be a great parenting style but overdoing things can lead their children to have lower self-esteem, associating obedience with love, social awkwardness, being shy, being fearful, and misbehavior when not in front of parents can have negative consequences in the future (Baumrind, 1968). The attachment that is most likely to occur for the child may be the avoidant attachment due to authoritarian parents being too demanding and less supportive and responsive (Bowlby, 1969). According to Berk (2014), the child seems unresponsive to the parent when she is present, and when she leaves, the child usually doesn’t care much.
The child may also fear the parent, and try to avoid them (Bowlby, 1969). The child may even react to strangers similar to how they would with their parents (Bowlby, 1969). An authoritarian style may be beneficial if a child starts to exhibit behaviors procured from a permissive child-rearing style which can result in the child being disobedient to their parents due to the parents being too lax (Baumrind, 1968). Permissive parents also tend to be very loving, caring, lenient, and responsive, but not demanding, which may result in the child being disobedient and rules set afterward will not be followed consistently (Baumrind, 1968). I believe if a child has exhibited rebellious, defiant behaviors due to permissive parenting, the parent should change to an authoritarian style, only for a while till the child understands that their parents just want what’s best for them, and then change to an authoritative parent for a good relationship. The quality of caregiving, the baby’s characteristics, family context, and early availability of a consistent caregiver are factors that influence attachment security (Berk, 2014).
Culture does have a significant influence on the type of attachment. On average 60% of North American babies have a secure attachment, 15% for avoidant and disorganized/disoriented attachment, and 10% for resistant attachment (Berk, 2014). According to Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg’s (1988) cross-cultural meta-analysis of 8 countries, he found out that approximately 35% of German infants displayed avoidant behavior which is much higher than North America’s 15% that exhibited avoidant behavior. This may be due to German parents encouraging their infant to be non-clingy and independent (Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg, 1988). The Dogon people of Mali, Africa’s results displayed no infants that showed avoidant attachment to their mothers, due to Dogon mothers holding their babies close, being available and nurturing as soon as they can when the infant needs food or care (Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg,1988).