Skip to main content

The Relation of Parenting Styles and Inconsistencies to Adaptive Functioning for Children in Conflictual and Violent Families

Abstract

Research of parenting in conflictual and violent families suggests that battered mothers (i.e., those experiencing verbal and/or physical abuse by their partner) may not parent very differently from demographically similar nonbattered mothers. However, battered mothers do report being less consistent in their discipline. In the present study, 104 mothers and their children from community nonviolent and violent families and shelter violent and violent abusive families participated in interviews to obtain information about child functioning and authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parental practices. It was the case that authoritative practices were associated with more positive child functioning and that parental inconsistency, defined in terms of endorsing conflictual parenting practices, was associated with poorer child outcome. Groups of mothers were identified that fit different patterns of parenting practices, and these patterns were differentially related to children's functioning.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/4-18 and 1991 Child Behavior Profile, University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry, Burlington, VT.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genet. Psychol. Monogr. 75: 43–88.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Dev. Psychol. Monogr. 4: 1–103.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baumrind, D. (1977). The development of instrumental competence through socialization. In Minnesota Symposium on Child Development, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, pp. 3–46.

  • Belsky, J. (1984). The determinants of parenting: A process model. Child Dev. 55: 83–96.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bird, H. R., Gould, M. S., and Staghezza, B. (1991). Aggregating data from multiple informants in child psychiatry epidemiological research. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 31: 78–85.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowlby, J. (1988). A Secure Base, Basic Books, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cascardi, M., O'Leary, K. D., and Schlee, K. A. (1999). Co-occurrence and correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder and major depression in physically abused women. J. Fam. Viol. 14: 227–249.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Conners, C. K. (1997). Conners Rating Scale-Revised Technical Manual, Multi-Health Systems, North Tonawanda, NY.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cummings, E. M. (1998). Children exposed to marital violence: Conceptual and theoretical directions. In Holden, G. W., Geffner, R., and Jouriles, E. N. (eds.), Children Exposed to Marital Violence: Theory, Research, and Applied Issues, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 55–93.

  • Davies, P. T., and Cummings, E. M. (1994). Marital conflict and child adjustment: An emotional security hypothesis. Psychol. Bull. 116: 387–411.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Derogatis, L. R., and Melisaratos, N. (1983). The Brief Symptom Inventory: An introductory report. Psychol. Med. 13: 595–605.

  • Diagnostic and statistical manual—Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). (1994). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC.

  • Fantuzzo, J. W., DePaola, L. M., Lambert, L., Martino, T., Anderson, G., and Sutton, S. (1991). Effects of interparental violence on the psychological adjustment and competencies of young children. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 59: 258–265.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Garmezy, N., Masten, A. S., and Tellegen, A. (1984). The study of stress and competence in children: A building block for developmental psychopathology. Child Dev. 55: 97–111.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Graham-Bermann, S. A., and Levendosky, A. A. (1998). The social functioning of preschool age children whose mothers are emotionally and physically abused. J. Emotional Abuse 1: 59–84.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grych, J. H., Jouriles, E. N., Swank, P. R., McDonald, R., and Norwood, W. D. (2000). Patterns of adjustment among children of battered women. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 68: 84–94.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holden, G. W., and Ritchie, K. L. (1991). Linking extreme marital discord, child rearing, and child behavior problems: Evidence from battered women. Child Dev. 62: 311–327.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holden, G. W., Stein, J. D., Ritchie, K. L., Harris, S. D., and Jouriles, E. N. (1998). Parenting behaviors and beliefs of battered women. In Holden, G. W., Geffner, R., and Jouriles E. N. (eds.), Children Exposed to Marital Violence: Theory, Research, and Applied Issues, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 289–233.

  • Horowitz, M., Wilner, N., and Alvarez, W. (1979). Impact of Event Scale: A measure of subjective stress. Psychosol. Med. 41: 209–218.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hughes, H. M., and Luke, D. A. (1998). Heterogeneity in adjustment among children of battered women. In Holden, G. W., Geffner, R., and Jouriles, E. N. (eds.), Children Exposed to Marital Violence: Theory, Research, and Applied Issues, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 185–221.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jaffe, P. G., Wolfe, D. A., and Wilson, S. K. (1990). Children of Battered Women, Sage, Newbury Park, CA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jouriles, E. N., McDonald, R., Stephens, N., Norwood, W., Spiller, L. C., and Ware, H. S. (1998). Breaking the cycle of violence: Helping families departing from bettered women's shelters. In Holden, G. W., Geffner, R., and Jouriles, E. N. (eds.), Children Exposed to Marital Violence: Theory, Research, and Applied Issues, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 337–369.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jouriles, E. N., McDonald, R., Spiller, L. C., Norwood, W. D., Swank, P. R., Stephens, N., Ware, H., and Buzy, W. M. (2001). Reducing conduct problems among children of battered women. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 69(5): 774–785.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kerig, P. K., Fedorowicz, A. E., Brown, C. A., Patenaude, R. L., and Warren, M. (1998). When warriors are worriers: Gender and children's coping with interparental violence. J. Emotional Abuse 1(2): 89–114.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kerig, P. K., Fedorowicz, A. E., Brown, C. A., and Warren, M. (2000). Assessment and intervention for PTSD in children exposed to violence. In Geffner, R. A., Jaffe, P. G., and Sudermann, M. (eds.), Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: Current Issues in Research, Intervention, Prevention, and Policy Development, Haworth, New York, pp. 161–184.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kobak, R. R., Cole, H. E., Ferenz-Gillies, R., Fleming, W. S., and Gamble, W. (1993). Attachment and emotion regulation during mother-teen problem solving: A control theory analysis. Child Dev. 64: 231–245.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lehmann, P. (1997). The development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a sample pf child witnesses to mother assault. J. Fam. Viol. 12: 241–256.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. Am. Psychol. 56: 227–238.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Masten, A. S., and Wright, M. O. (1998). Cumulative risk and protection models of child maltreatment. In Rossman B. B. R., and Rosenberg, M. S. (eds.), Multiple Victimization of Children: Conceptual, Developmental, Research, and Treatment Issues, Haworth Press, New York, pp. 7–30.

    Google Scholar 

  • Margolin, G. (1998). Effects of domestic violence on children. In Trickett, P. K., and Schellenbach, C. J. (eds.), Violence Against Children in the Family and Community, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 57–101.

    Google Scholar 

  • Margolin, G., John, R. S., Chosh, C. M., and Gordis, E. B. (1998). Family interaction process: An essential tool for exploring abusive relations. In Cahn, D. D., and Lloyd, S. A. (eds.), Family Abuse: A Communication Perspective, Sage, Newbury Park, CA, pp. 37–58.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCloskey, L. A., Figueredo, A. J., and Koss, M. P. (1995). The effects of systematic family violence on children's mental health. Child Dev. 66: 1239–1261.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Miller, D. (1977). Handbook of Research Design and Social Measurement, David McKay Co., New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Patterson, G. R., and Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1984). The correlation of family management practices and delinquency. Child Dev. 55: 1299–1307.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pepler, D. J., and Moore, T. E. (1989). Children exposed to family violence: Home environments and cognitive functioning. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Kansas City, MO.

  • Pynoos, R. S., Frederick, C., Naker, K., Arroyo, W., Steinberg, A., Eth, S., Nunez, R., and Fairbanks, L. (1987). Life threat and posttraumatic stress in school-age children. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 44: 1057–1063.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Robinson, C. C., Mandleco, B. L., Olsen, S. F., Bancroft-Andrews, C., McNeilly, M. K., and Nelson, L. (1995, March). Authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parenting practices: Psychometric support for a new measure. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Indianapolis, IN.

  • Rosenbaum, A., and O'Leary, K. D. (1981). Children: The unintended victims of marital violence. Am. J. Ortho. 5: 692–699.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rossman, B. B. R. (2000). Time heals all: How much and for whom? J. Emotional Abuse 2: 31–50.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rossman, B. B. R., Bingham, R. D., and Emde, R. N. (1997). Symptomatology and adaptive functioning for children exposed to normative stressors, dog attack, and parental violence. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 36: 1–9.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rossman, B. B. R., Hughes, H. M., and Rosenberg, M. S. (2000). Children in Violent Families: The Impact of Exposure, Taylor & Francis, Washington, DC.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rossman, B. B. R., and Rosenberg, M. S. (1992). Family stress and functioning in children: The moderating effects of children's beliefs about their control over parental conflict. J. Child Psychol. Psychiatry 33: 699–715.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Straus, M. A. (1979, February). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The conflict tactics (CT) scales. J. Marriage Family 75–88.

  • Sullivan, C. M., Rumptz, M. H., Campbell, R., Eby, K. K., and Davidson, W. S. (1996). Retaining participants in longitudinal community research: A comprehensive protocol. J. Appl. Behav. Sci. 32: 262–276.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan, C. M., Juras, J., Prewitt, A., Veldhoff, J., Stutzky, G., and Rotter, J. (1997, June). The forgotten variable: The role of the assailant in impacting the resiliency of children exposed to domestic violence. Paper presented at the International Conference on Children Exposed to Family Violence, London, Ontario, Canada.

  • Wildin, S. R., Williamson, W. D., and Wilson, G. S. (1991). Children of battered women: Developmental and learning profiles. Clin. Pediatr. 30: 299–304.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wolfe, V. V., Gentile, C., and Wolfe, D. A. (1989). The impact of sexual abuse on children: A PTSD formulation. Behav. Therapy 20: 215–228.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolfe, D. A., Jaffe, P., Wilson, S. K., and Zak, L. (1985). Children of battered women: The relation of child behavior to family violence and maternal stress. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 53(5): 657–665.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jacqueline G. Rea.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rossman, B.B.R., Rea, J.G. The Relation of Parenting Styles and Inconsistencies to Adaptive Functioning for Children in Conflictual and Violent Families. J Fam Viol 20, 261–277 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-005-6603-8

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-005-6603-8

Keywords

  • family violence
  • parenting
  • children
  • interparental conflict