How Are Students Raised?

Submitted by Brooke Goldschmidt

From Chapter 7 – Teaching Self-Control: What Parenting Styles Tell Us


Teaching has become increasingly difficult for teachers over the years. While at one point in time, self-control was a concept developed and taught at home and reinforced at school, many students are finding their way into the classrooms with this undeveloped, underutilized or unvalued skill (Henley 2003). The reason these skills are no longer taught at home could be because of the values of their home or neighborhood, and the involvement, support and control of their parents.

While it is not necessarily in the job description of the educator to “fix” children with self-control issues, it is important for educators to identify these students and try to learn as much about their background as possible in order to effectively provide the tools and promote healthy self-control strategies in the classroom.

Parenting styles typically fall into one of four parenting styles which have their own sets of defining characteristics. Just like any stereotype or label, these styles are not all encompassing and they are not “fixed.” Parents can change their parenting style over a period of time. It is not uncommon for parents to be more strict and controlling with a first child and less controlling or involved with additional children (Bergin & Bergin, 2012). Parenting styles and implications on student behavior and learning also varies from culture to culture.

Indifferent parents typically do not respond to school emails, phone calls, or participate in school events. The parents are not typically proactive and do not follow through if they do communicate with school. They have low demands or control and low responsiveness or support. The house typically lacks rules or structure. Indifferent parents are a unique mix culturally and can be either of low socioeconomic status or high socioeconomic status (SES). The parents with low SES are typically not around and live in neighborhoods with little to no adult supervision or authority present while the parents with high SES have demanding jobs that pull time and attention away from their homes (Bergin & Bergin, 2012). The indifferent parent has several implications on student learning in the classroom and produce students that are impulsive, with little self-control and have poor academic performance .These students are also more likely to engage in self-destructive and delinquent behaviors (Authoritative Parenting: A Style for Long Term Success, 2011).

 Indulgent parents usually have a lot of response and support for their students but have little control or demand. There is typically a lack of rules and structure and/or the children may run the house. Teachers can sometime observe little discipline or follow through by the parents at home. These parents are typically people-pleasers who are more interested in being a friend to their children rather than an authority figure. Indifferent parents can come from any SES background and background, however it is more common in Western culture (Cultural Differences in Parenting Practices, 2011). Children of indulgent parents are less likely to possess self-control and are more likely to have poor academic performance. These children are usually more concerned with their peers than value their academics and therefore are more likely to engage in self-destructive and delinquent behaviors (Authoritative Parenting: A Style for Long Term Success, 2011).

Authoritarian parents possess high demand and control with very little acceptance or support for their children. These parents are power assertive, meaning they use their authority as parents to push their own agenda and control their children (Bergin & Bergin, 2012). These parents set rules, use restriction, and closely monitor and enforce said rules, but offer very little support. These types of parents are “Do as I say,” and “Because I said so” parents. These children are typically obedient while their parents are around but the behavior does not last when the authority is not present. The are typically decent students, but are not as confident and lack the self-esteem necessary to demonstrate consistent self-control. While most Western cultures do not value this type of parenting style, many Asian cultures that do. For instance, the Chinese and Filipino cultures typically view this as “training” their children as part of a cultural identity. Because it is part of their cultural identity, this type of parenting usually does not have the negative effect on students as it does in Western culture (Cultural Differences in Parenting Practices, 2011).

Authoritative parents are the type with high levels of control/demand and also provide their children with balance of response and support (Bergin & Bergin, 2012). Authoritative parents have clear expectations and enforced rules but also have reasons for these rules and encourage their children to follow them on their own. The rules are explained and parents value their child’s agenda as well.This empowers the student and encourages the student to internalize and practice self-control. Authoritative parents usually produce the child with the best self-control for the following reasons: they use effective inductive discipline, They respect their child’s views, they have clear rules and expectations, and they compromise & reason (Authoritative Parenting: A Style for Long Term Success, 2011).

Teachers and schools cannot always change or remove the source of a undesirable behavior, nor can we change some of the circumstances our students face at home. We can, however, use our time to teach students to take ownership and control of their decisions. We can help especially those students who have indifferent parents at home who may lack direction, make the best choices possible. There is not a particular check-list that an effective teacher has to teach self-control, but being more intentional with pointing out self control opportunities can  help and teachers modeling self-control skills in the classroom is also an easy place to start. A curriculum that emphasizes self-control is not a cure, but rather a remedy for this growing problem. Teachers should be empowering students with self-control techniques for the following reasons: 1) Self-control improves both physical and mental health, 2) Students learn responsibility and have the opportunity to make choices and learn from them, 3) Student choice can motivate and enhance achievement, 4) Collaborating with students can be challenging but also develop a sense of unity and belonging, 5) Empowerment communicates respect. (Henley, 2003).



Bergin, C.C. & Bergin, D.A. (2012).  Child and Adolescent Development in Your Classroom.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Henley, Martin (2003). Teaching Self-Control (2nd Ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

(2011). Cultural Differences in Parenting Practices: What Asian American … Retrieved October 2, 2013, from

(2011). Authoritative Parenting – A Style for Long Term Success … Retrieved October 2, 2013, from

Discussion Questions:

  • Reflect upon your childhood. What was the style of parenting you were raised with? Did both parents share the same parenting style? Were your siblings raised the same way?

  • How do you identify students in your classroom who come from different parenting styles than yours? In what ways have you found success in reaching students raised with different styles?

  • In what ways do the different parenting styles have an affect on your classroom? Have you ever had a personality clash with a parent who adopts a different style than your own?

  • How do you set up your classroom management in a way that reaches students from all different parental styles and backgrounds?

  • How do you empower your students and promote positive self-control in the classroom?

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6 Responses to

  1. Michelle Peterson says:

    How do you empower your students and promote positive self-control in the classroom?

    I have been working with my students to make sure they feel empowered in my classroom. I like to offer my students choices as much as possible so that they understand that their choices are directly correlated with their learning. I have had success with giving choices of modalities of work, and even behavior correction (example: If I had a student who had called another student a mean name I might say: “You may choose to write an apology letter or give a verbal apology and ask your friend how you can make things right.”

    Another way I like to empower my students and foster self-control is by teaching behavior instruction directly in my curriculum. We role play various scenarios that may occur in the classroom then the students help me think of positive ways to solve the problem. The students get to model for each other and I also get to give feedback to them. I enjoy being a part of the role playing because the students seem to take it really seriously when I play the role of the student and they get to be the teacher who assists in solving the problem 🙂

  2. Jimmie Jo says:

    How do you empower your students and promote positive self-control in the classroom?
    I think that one of the most powerful ways that a student can become empowered in the classroom is to have high expectations and classroom routines that do not change day to day. As teachers in a “get it done” society sometimes we feel pressured to get our students started academically right away. I appreciated that our text mentioned that teachers with good classroom management spend time at the beginning of the year practicing and reinforcing routines. I often feel “behind” other teachers because I spend so much time practicing the expectations of my classroom. However, I do not (most years) have to spend much time on classroom management once the routines are established.
    My goal is that my students will begin to monitor their own behavior so I don’t have to do it. I am not in control of their choices…THEY are. I stress this point over and over again. I can not make their choices for them. If I could, my job would be much easier. I try to teach them to let their brains be in charge, not their bodies. I had a student last year who was an amazing wrestler (a sport that requires a great deal of problem solving and self control), but often had problems with self control in the classroom. I finally asked him one day what happened if he let his body do the thinking on the wrestling mat. He told me he would get pinned every time. I told him that was exactly what was happening to him in our classroom. His body was doing the thinking instead of his brain. The analogy worked! I told him that I would make sure that I planned some active activities if he would work on keeping his body under control. This type of negotiation lets students know that I understand and I care.

    In what ways have you found success in reaching students raised with different parenting style?

    I have found that students are able to find success with my teaching style regardless of their parent’s parenting style. For some students (those with authoritarian parents), it may take longer for them to form a teacher/student relationship because it takes them longer to trust adults. Students with indulgent parents may have different expectations of adults based upon what happens at home, but over time they too figure out what is expected of them at school. One of the most challenging parenting styles for me to cope with is the indifferent parent. It is often our jobs as classroom teachers to make up for the parent who just doesn’t care. Our superintendent tells us at the beginning of every year that complaining about a student’s home is not going to solve any problems. It is our job to figure out a way to help that child succeed in our classroom. I have taken that advice to heart. It is easier some years than others. Thankfully this is one of those “easy” years.

  3. Leslie says:

    In what ways do the different parenting styles have an affect on your classroom? Have you ever had a personality clash with a parent who adopts a different style than your own?

    I think that parenting styles have a big affect on my classroom. If a student has a parent at home that is indifferent or indulgent, than the student might have less self-control and more delinquent behaviors. If their parents let them run around the house and do whatever they want, more than likely they will be like that at school too. I try to remind a student that just because something is okay at home, it doesn’t mean that it is okay at school.
    When a parent is indifferent, they might not have communication with their child’s teacher. In my experience, parent’s that don’t have open communication with the teacher or school tend to also not push their children to do their best in school. I have noticed that those children with indifferent parents tend to have lower grades in school.
    Kids that have parents that are authoritative are most generally well behaved in my experience. They are the kids that will misbehave when there is a substitute that is not firm and pressing the expectations. All of these different parenting styles teach kids different things and provide them with different amounts of love. This can dramatically change the way each child looks at life and school. My goal is to be authoritative with them at school and my hope is that they respond to it no matter what their at home parenting style is.

  4. Andrea says:

    How do you set up your classroom management in a way that reaches students from all different parental styles and backgrounds?

    One of the things that my school really stresses is setting up clear procedures and expectations in the very beginning of school. I try to keep the procedures short and simple in order to help them adjust to the multiple teachers with multiple rules (7th graders). I also use lots of “love and logic” in the classroom. I have found that it works well for many students with varying different backgrounds and experiences. An aspect that I really like about love and logic is giving students choices in the classroom whenever I possibly can. Building positive relationships with the students helps with student behaviors and academic choices. Another technique that I utilize to help maintain positive class climate is “wacky talk”. Using antiquated terminology and sometimes just silly phrases can help diffuse a situation. Having a sense of humor helps me to stay more on the “lighter” sides of situations and not overact. I try to model the behaviors that I expect in my classroom. I have taught in two schools that are very diverse in student population (one was an at risk school with little community support and another has a much smaller at risk population but the community is very supportive). I have used strategies/techniques mentioned above at both schools and they have been very effective in promoting and maintaining a positive classroom environment.

  5. Karen says:

    How do you empower your students and promote positive self-control in the classroom?
    This is one of my goals this year. I want to do better at empowering my students to make the right choices and to do the right things, even when I am not there. I am a self proclaimed control freak, so this is difficult for me, but I am giving the control to the students. By having the students take ownership of the class and some of the activities that we do, I believe they feel more empowered and connected to the class. They know that this is their class and if they want to do well they need to create an environment that promotes that. We have spent a long time going over procedures and having mini “tests” to see if they can handle the control. Sometimes they make mistakes, but we discuss that it happens to everyone and we figure out to get them back on track together. Particularly with my 8th grade students I have made them responsible for the rest of the class as well, not only are they responsible for their learning, but they are responsible for the learning of other students in the class. That means that if one student is off task it is their job to get them back on task. If a student is absent it is their job to explain to the student what we did and what they need to do for make up work. So far it is working well and I have had minimal classroom management issues. I really feel that empowering the students gives them more self control because they really have to think about the consequences of their actions before they do them. I am still struggling with my 6th grade students in providing them with just enough control that they feel empowered, but not enough control that they hang themselves with it. I know that working with the 6th grade will be a long year of trial and error in terms of strategies for empowerment and self control, but since I see them for all 3 years I know that their and my effort will pay off in the end.

  6. Autumn says:

    Reflect upon your childhood. What was the style of parenting you were raised with? Did both parents share the same parenting style? Were your siblings raised the same way?

    I believe that my mother’s Eastern European background very much shaped (and sharpened) her authoritarian parenting style. Her philosophy within this realm easily dwarfed my father’s nondescript, but somewhat laissez-faire attitudes toward child rearing. (Sorry dad….I love you!:) Authoritarian parenting is openly discouraged throughout the text, as it tends to produce unfavorable outcomes, such as lack of self-confidence and average achievement in adolescence. However, the authors promptly add a noteworthy qualification, indicating that cultural differences cannot be extricated from the equation. I have found this to be true in my own experience as well. Discipline practices are not readily understandable absent context. I find that most of my friends and acquaintances who share my ethnic heritage feel similarly. Authority is sacred in our respective households and parenthood is viewed through a lens of traditional absolutes, in which adults are entitled to homage/deference by virtue of experience and position. I don’t think that any of us have ever felt subjugated or overly controlled by this paradigm (normal teenage angst notwithstanding:). However, as highlighted in the text, I suppose that a sizable degree of variance exists within this sphere as well. When cultural parenting styles are in direct conflict and both are unyielding, I am unsure what effects may result for the child…I cannot help but envision a tragic state of cognitive dissonance (perhaps not though, fundamental elements of free will do tend to surface now and again:).

    I found it interesting that the book did not mention or distinguish between parenting styles as they relate to gender (either that or I missed it). In my family I was, ostensibly, not treated any differently from my siblings; however, being the only girl, I quickly ascertained that many of the expectations that only marginally applied to my brothers (i.e. curfew, getting good grades) were strictly applied to me. The introduction of limitless addenda and provisos, as they pertained to” the rules” were exclusively attributable to my sex. I have not researched the issue extensively (perhaps it is not as significant as I am making it out to be), but maybe I will sometime.

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