The book store shelves are lined with volumes of parenting advice. One approach is called “conditional parenting,” meaning that parents reward good behavior with praise and punish bad behavior with withdrawing affection. This approach might seem logical with toddlers who crayon on wallpaper or teenagers who miss curfew, but what about college students who fail a course or decide not to apply to medical school after all. How does “conditional parenting” impact them? Jennifer K. Grundman, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, considered that question in a study, “Does Parenting Style Predict Identity and Emotional Outcomes in Emerging Adulthood?”
The study looked at two different parenting styles: parental autonomy support and parental conditional regard (aka conditional parenting). Translated “autonomy support” is when parents explain to children why they expect certain behaviors and leave it up to them to decide how to act. The survey sought to assess the impact of these two different styles among college students.
The winner: parental autonomy support, which resulted in adult children who were more likely to be independent thinkers and decision makers. Ms. Grundman notes:
Parents actively support their children by providing rationale for their requests, recognizing and discussing the feelings of their children, offering choices to foster decision making skills, and minimizing the use of controlling techniques such as conditional affection
A “Mom” Tattoo?
File this under questions you hope never to ask. On Yahoo.com, a mother queried readers for suggestions on how she should react when her 18-year-old son came home with “Mom” tattooed on his back.
Answers ranged from “I would tell him that I love him and give him a hug” to “I would ask the child of mine, what did I do? Raise a moron?”