A self-determination theory perspective on parenting
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofCanadian psychology ; vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 194-200.
Publisher(s)Canadian Psychological Association
This article describes research on parenting that supports children's need for autonomy. First, the authors define parental autonomy support and distinguish it from permissiveness or independence promotion. The authors also define psychologically controlling parenting and distinguish it from behavioral control (structure). Second, the authors present studies examining how parental autonomy support promotes healthy development. Indeed, clear and consistent positive effects arise from different types of studies, conducted with children of various ages. Parent observation studies suggest that parental autonomy support is associated with infants' motivation and toddlers' internalization. Parent interview studies reveal that an autonomy-supportive parental attitude relates to children's adjustment at school. Children self-report studies demonstrate a clear link between perceptions of parental autonomy support and psychosocial functioning amongst adolescents. Third, the correlates and precursors of parental psychological control and autonomy support are presented, with a special focus on parents' trust in their children's ability to develop in an autonomous manner. Finally, ideas for future research are suggested. Although self-determination theory is not strictly a developmental theory, it seems highly pertinent to the socialization of children, their internalization and development.