"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Monday, August 15, 2016

Parenting, Basic Education, and Drug Abuse

Parents can provide both support and control. Parenting styles according to Maccoby and Martin can be categorized into four types: authoritarian (demanding and unresponsive), authoritative (demanding but responsive), permissive (responsive but undemanding), and neglectful (unresponsive and undemanding). With Amy Chua's "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", strict and harsh parenting has been suggested to lead to successful education outcomes. Research has shown that this is false. The data as nicely illustrated by Paul Tullis in Slate show that Tiger parenting leads only to lower achievement and greater depression.

Above copied from Paul Tullis at Slate
Cultural differences are often cited to explain different parenting styles. Thus, the success of an authoritative parenting style may just hold in Western societies, but not in general. What outcomes can be predicted from any given parenting style therefore need to be studied across cultures.

There is one study that involves parents and children in the Philippines. A paper by Rebecca Hock and coworkers in the International Journal of Culture and Health, looks at longitudinal data of nearly 2000 emerging adults in Cebu City. The abstract of the paper is shown below:

ABSTRACT
Parenting style is a potent and malleable influence on emerging adult substance use. Most of the parenting-substance use literature has been conducted in Western populations and it is unknown whether findings are generalizable to other cultures and contexts. We extended the parenting-substance use literature to a cohort of emerging adults in the Philippines using the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. We assessed associations between mothers’ and fathers’ parenting styles (authoritative, permissive, authoritarian, and neglectful) reported by offspring at age 18 and odds of offspring-reported drug use three years later, adjusted for a range of offspring- and parent/household-level characteristics. Females were dropped from analyses due to low prevalence of drug users. We found that many emerging adults in Cebu reported having used drugs, particularly methamphetamine—a dangerous drug with high abuse potential. Authoritative (warm, firm) mothering was significantly associated with sons’ reduced odds of drug use and neglectful fathering was related at a trend level with sons’ increased odds of having tried drugs. Findings underscore the relation of parenting styles to emerging adults’ drug use and add to the literature on cross-cultural variability in parenting styles.
Thus, it seems that the type of parenting associated with better outcomes in Cebu City is the authoritative one, no different from the findings in Western culture. This may not be a surprise but what is quite unexpected, especially with preconceived notions that Asian culture is often strict, is that the most prevalent parenting style seen in this study is the permissive type. And when it comes to drug abuse, parenting styles often regarded differently, authoritarian and neglectful, have outcomes similar to those of permissive parenting.


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