Can punitive parenting influence the self-esteem?

Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.In my opinion, the self-esteem plays the biggest role in the success the individual can have in life. That is because, a person with a high self-esteem is a happy person, and in the end, this is success: to be happy. On the contrast, a low self-esteem is the surest path to depression, sadness and unhappiness. The problem with the self-esteem is that is start building when we are kids, and in adulthood is harder to change it. This is way it is important to build a healthy self-esteem for our kids.

The self-esteem aspect of the children is often ignored by the parents, who are more concerned about the grades, achievements and other ways to measure the “success” in life. A new scientific study published by University of California, Riverside, reveals how the punitive parenting, used to motivate the children to get for example better grades, is influencing their self-esteem.


The study, believed to be the first that provides empirical support to this idea, refutes the idea that the traditional, strict “Chinese” upbringing, which gained widespread attention in the 2011 book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua, is superior.

“Our research shows that Tiger Mother type of parenting, specifically controlling, punitive, and less supportive type of parenting is really not working in this sample of Chinese adolescents,” said Cixin Wang, an assistant professor at UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education. “It also shows that it is important for Chinese parents, who tend to be less emotionally expressive and use less praise in parenting, to show their approval, love and support for their children.”

The paper is based on data from a youth survey in Hangzhou, China. The sample included 589 middle and high school children. The survey asked the children about their perceptions of the behavior of their mothers and fathers, as well as their self-esteem, school adjustment, depression and problem behavior.

Previous research has shown that Chinese parents are less likely to show support for their children through affection. Instead, they express support through efforts to control and govern their youngsters.

Previous research on Western cultures has found that when parents exert strong psychological control over their children it leads to problem behavior, low self-esteem and low grades among the children. However, the impact of psychological control and strictness in Chinese culture has been less clear.

Wang and her co-authors show the findings from the sample of Chinese students are consistent with those from the Western students. Parental support and monitoring were associated with positive adolescent adjustment, but permissiveness and punitiveness were linked to negative adolescent adjustment. Psychological control, specifically love withdrawal techniques, did not predict any adolescent outcomes after controlling for other parenting practices.

“I hear Asian parents saying that they are concerned about using too much praise with their children because they were not brought up this way,” Wang said. “In a way, I missed out on getting parental praise and approval. And, in a way, I don’t want a whole generation of Asian kids to miss that really important piece too.”

I think that all this low self-esteem problems are generated by the way how we perceive success in life. We are so concentrated to achieve, to be in top, to get more money that in the end we forget that all that matters is the happiness. For us and for our children.

And is a never-ending story, we push ourselves to be on top, we get depressed when we fail, we are unhappy, even if we have a good life. And then we try to “fix” our children, to be better that us, to achieve more than us. But in the end, we gone make them also unhappy.

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  1. Anthonywig
    3 years ago

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