The Influence of Parents on the Child


Parents’ influence on a child is an important aspect of a child’s life. A parent can influence a child’s cognitive development from childhood to adulthood. Various categories of parents for instance: uninvolved, authoritative, authoritarian, and indulgent have different influences on child development as discussed below (Tiller, Garrison & Block, 2010). The relationship between the parent and the child influence the child’s growth and development. Parental influence on a child is also based on the relationship between the child’s social behavior and parental influence. Permissive parents have a negative influence on the development of the child.


Parents’ influence on the child is the most influence given to the child in his life based on several factors: level of education, financial stability, parenting background religion, culture, and family size. Research indicates that there is a direct relationship between parents and the development of the child. According to Berns (2012), parents choose to bring up their children in different ways. Studies show that parents adopt various ways of bringing up their children. It is the responsibility of parents to support their children and make sure that they behave accordingly.


Parents influence the cognitive development of the child. Cognitive development refers to psychological processes that help the child to develop from infancy and the impacts of childhood experiences on his adult attributes. According to Roffey (2011), the relationship between parenting and cognitive development is on the child’s character. There are four categories of parents: authoritarian, indulgent, authoritative, and uninvolved (Tiller, Garrison & Block, 2010).

Indulgent parents are flexible, modern, and friendly. They are more directive and responsive and expect little from their children. Such parents allow freedom of expression to their children and allow them to make their own decisions.

Authoritative parents are strict and harsh to their children and what they say is final without dialogue. These parents command their children and take action without explanations. Disobedience by their children results in punishment. Some authoritative parents choose to use power while others use directives. Authoritative parents lay down rules that children should follow. They have close conduct with their children and their corrective measures aim at supporting the child and not punishing. The parents are responsive and caring to the needs of their children. They are forgiving, controlling but give their children room for discussion. Such parents influence their children to be responsible.

Uninvolved parents do not have behavioral expectations for their children. Such parents do not effectively communicate with their children although they provide their basic needs. They are less demanding and respond lowly. They are assumed to be ignoring their parental roles (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2001).

Such parents have little influence on the child’s character. There is a relationship between the choice made by the parent and the cognitive development of the child. Authoritative parents enhance good socialization skills in their children. Authoritative parents are also domineering and controlling and this resulted in aggressiveness and intolerance in their children. The parent-child relationship is related to the social behavior of the child.

According to Hoghughui and Long (2004), personality and confidence in adolescents were directly linked to the responsiveness of their parents and not demandingness. Studies indicate that authoritative parents lead to increased productivity in adolescents while uninvolved parents instill low productivity and negligence in their children. Sternberg and Grigorenko (2001) assert that the negligence of parents results in socially unacceptable behavior among children.

It is also evident that children of authoritative parents appreciate their parents while those who were brought up by uninvolved parents tend to neglect their parents and peers thus adopting socially unacceptable behaviors. Kozulin (2003) analyzed the performance of students at school and found out that children of authoritative parents perform better at school compared to their counterparts due to encouragement and non- punitive methods that are used by their parents.

Research further indicates that authoritative parents influence their children to be optimistic in life. There is a relationship between child social behavior and the parent’s influence for instance parental responsiveness, warmth, and support influence the ability of the child to interact with others. When parents are corrective, caring, and gentle, their children are always keen and obedient to details. Assertiveness and excessive force deter a sense of responsibility in a child because the child’s cooperation is reduced with time.

Parents who neglect, use harsh verbal means, and discourage their children make them socially unfit. Parents who clearly state their expectations from children make them acquire values like interactive, desire to grow, open-minded, independence, and life skills.

The involvement of fathers in the upbringing of their children makes children feel secure, have self-esteem, bring the family closer, have a good personality, and perform better in school. Authoritative fathers found out that their relationship with children yielded a positive outcome. The role of parents is to prevent negative behavior in their children. Palkovitz and Sussman’s (1988) research findings state that the relationship between the child and parents influence the child’s growth and state of mind. Parents’ harmonious relationship with their children means a sense of security, happiness, healthy growth, and comfort for their children.

Parental conflicts have a negative influence on children because they lack someone to identify themselves with. This research further indicates that there is a need for parents to instill happiness in their children’s life (Hoghughi & Long, 2004).

A healthy parent-child relationship enhances healthy development right from infancy. The responsibility of the caregiver is very important at this stage. This is because the baby can realize whether someone is paying attention to him/her and if not, he/she will cry. Supportive and good care to the baby promotes positive growth both psychologically and emotionally. Research indicates that the ability of a mother to solve and see the physical and psychological needs like hunger and fear improves on the trust of the child to the mother. Understanding the personality of the child is important because it helps the parent to set his expectations (Meadows, 1996).

Parents who do not involve their children in play limit their chances of exploring new opportunities. This character in adulthood and adolescents make children dependent on their parents and caregivers hence lacking personal responsibility.

Parents also influence the independent nature of the child. Authoritative parents enhance the positive development of the child, children are motivated to grow experiment and learn because of their parent’s support. Poor relations between children and parents ruin their relationships because they feel some are favored and unappreciated (Bowlby, 1977). The good sibling relationship is only found in families with good parent-child relationships and parent-parent relationship.

Authoritative parents put much emphasis on controlling their children make their children have low confidence, poor personality, and low self-esteem. Adolescents with authoritative parents find it difficult to follow the parent’s instructions. Harsh parents make their children involve themselves in socially unacceptable behavior to release frustrations. Research further indicates that adults of authoritative parents suffer from drug abuse and Schizophrenia (Pritchard-Boone, 2007).

Permissive parents do not involve themselves in guiding controlling and helping their children in development. They do not guide them on socially acceptable behavior and expect a little outcome from them. Such children portray characteristics of maltreatment, withdrawal, and neglect from their parents. This forces them to make their own decisions and become independent. Such children bully their parents and their parents do not discipline them to avoid such characters. They further assert that permissive parents make their children non-compliant and arrogant.

In conclusion, parents have to take care of and raise their children. Authoritative parents influence a sense of responsibility in their children. Permissive parents encourage good communication and decision-making. However, parents have to take up the responsibility of influencing the growth, development, and behavior of their children.


Berns, R. (2012). Child, family, school, community: socialization and support. 9 edn. California, CA: Cengage Learning.

Bowlby, J. (1977). The making and breaking of affectional bonds. I. Aetiology and psychopathology in the light of attachment theory. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 130, 201-210.

Hoghughi, M. & Long, N. (2004). Handbook of parenting theory: Theory and research practice. New York, NY: SAGE.

Kozulin, A. (2003). Vygotsky’s educational theory in cultural context. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Meadows, S. (1996). Parenting behavior and children’s cognitive development. Hove: Psychology Press.

Palkovitz, R. & Sussman, M. B. (1988). Transitions to parenthood. London: Routledge Press.

Pritchard-Boone, L. (2007). The relation between parenting styles and attributional styles across generations. Ann Arbor: Proquest Press.

Roffey, S. (2011). Positive relationships; Evidence based practice across the world. London: Springer.

Sternberg, R. J. & Grigorenko, E. (2001). Environmental effects on cognitive abilities. New Jersey, NJ: Routledge.