Parenting Affects ….

Parenting affects social skill formation

Social skill developmental processes are shaped by interactions with the child’s biological characteristics in contexts which they are expressed, for example shyness.  Parenting reactions to the expressions of such characteristics can either exacerbate or minimize the typical outcomes (Miller et al., 2011).  Shy children of overly protective parents have been found to be lonelier and less accepted by peers (Coplan, Arbeau & Armer, 2008).  Over protective parents who managed the child’s autonomy at decision making beyond a level of what is developmentally appropriate can inhibit the child’s process of learning independent coping strategies in any given social situations (Rubin & Burgess, 2002).  Studies have shown that extensive and intrusive parental involvement or control, relative to a child’s developmental capabilities, can undermine the child’s sense of autonomy, and encourage anxiety, which can foster parental dependency while stunting the development of effective coping skills (Bayer, Sanson & Hemphill, 2006).  Psychologically controlling parents who modeled and instigated their child’s use of relationally aggressive behaviors put their child at risk of social developmental impairments (Soenens, Vansteenkiste, Goosens, Duriez, Leuven & Niemiec, 2008).  Psychologically controlling techniques (eg. shaming, guilt induction, and conditional approval) relates positively to adolescents’ use of relational aggression that, in turn, creates a vulnerability to lower levels of satisfaction and security in friendships and higher levels of loneliness (Soenens, Vansteenkiste et al., 2008).  In contrast, positive parenting that capitalizes on warmth, nurturance, encouragement of autonomy, and attunement to the child’s needs, is associated with healthy psychosocial development in both children and adolescents (Bayer et al., 2006).

Family environment can affect communication skills

            Parent-child communication socializes a child with the necessary skills and cognitive orientations necessary for future social relationships (Koerner & Fitzpatrick, 2002). According to Ledbetter (2009), family environments that encourage open discussions may produce adult children who are likely to experience close friendships. However, families that extol inflexible family rules may reduce their children’s friendship closeness in young adulthood.  Children from families that model open and frequent discussion learn relational maintenance skills, which influence their ability to have a high level of friendship closeness (Bandura, 1977).  Thus, one can expect that a child that was raised in a family with high conversational orientation to have learnt skills in conflict management, social support, self-disclosure, and other prosocial communicational behaviors (Ledbetter , 2009).  Using these behaviors in friendship contexts may boost the child’s ability to build and maintain friendship closeness.  Hence, family communicative patterns promote young adult children’s friendship closeness by providing them with relational communicative skills (Ledbetter , 2009).

Parenting can have an effect on friendship quality

In light of all the information preceding this, it can be said that parenting may have some associative links to social relationships, and the quality of such relationships.  Rubin and Burgess (2002) concluded that the development of children’s social and emotional development, more specifically the development of competent and adaptive behaviors, places parental attributes and behaviors as playing a key role to the quality of the parent-child relationship.  According to Lucas-Thompson and Clarke-Stewart (2007), there are three ways for families to influence a child’s functioning with the peers. First, direct influences from the child’s relationship with other family members can affect the ability to form peer relationships (eg. mother-child relationship).  Second, indirect influences from the child relationship with other family members can also affect the ability to form peer relationships (eg. parent’s marital relationship).  Third, observations of interactions among family members can affect the formation of strategies for interacting with peers (eg. the child observes interaction between the parents).  In short, the way parents behave with their child and how they interact with each other have implications for the child’s relationships with close friends later in life.  This suggests that higher quality friendships are encouraged by giving children the opportunity to observe and participate in positive, intimate relationship models, and positive mother-child relationship at infancy.  This would allow the child to form a positive “working model” from that relationship which he/she would use as a guideline for future close relationships, both friendship and romantic relationship (Lucas-Thompson & Clarke-Stewart, 2007).

Parenting can have an effect on communicative skills

As mentioned before, children learn both their positive and negative interactional skills by observing their interactions with their parents, as well as from interactions between parents (Lucas-Thompson & Clarke-Stewart, 2007; Cummings, Iannotti, & Zahn-Waxler, 1989).  Furthermore, the family environment the child grew up in can also influence his/her communication skills.  Adolescents who experienced authoritative parenting perceived their parents as being more engaging in open communication (Berzonsky, Branje, & Meeus, 2007).  Said adolescents also tended to have cohesive, and trusting family relationships (Adams, Berzonsky, & Keating, 2006).  While adolescents of authoritarian parenting perceived their parents as lacking in openness to ideas and feelings (Adams et al., 2006).  Offspring of both authoritarian and permissive parenting perceived their parents as lacking in expressiveness in family communications (Adams et al., 2006).

Communication can have an effect on friendship

One communicates trust in a friendship by (I) being able and willing to be open, (2) letting go of the other, (3) not having any “put-ons,” (4) keeping a secret, (5)defending the other if he or she needed it, (6) trusting one’s life with the other, (7) expressing anger with the other, and/or (7) listening to the other’s problems (Wilmot, 1995).   Interpersonal communication competence is an important factor that can impact the size and satisfaction of social support networks (Anders & Tucker, 2000).  As children become more familiar with each other, they begin to realize their similarity and differences through conflicts, which also provides behavioral adjustment clues to children which they could make to preserve their friendships (Hartup, 1992).  Those who have a more developmentally advanced understanding of the friendship relation tend to view friends as with whom one shares intimate thoughts, feelings, engages in mutual self-exploration, validation, and shares psychological similarity while still retaining personal autonomy (Burleson & Samter, 1990).  Adults regard friends as people whom they can share intimate thoughts, hopes, and feelings when times are good as well as bad (Burleson & Samter, 1990).

Individuals often turn to their friends for emotional support (Fehr, 2000).  Having a group of peers to discuss about life’s ups and downs can help prevent the externalization of behaviors (Lansford et al., 2003).  Self-disclosure promotes closeness in a personal relationship (Connidis & Campbell, 1995; Floyd, 1995).  Hence, improves the quality of the friendship.

Affectively oriented communications skills such as ego support, comforting, and conflict management were more important in friends than non-affective oriented skills such as persuasion, narrative ability, and referential ability (Burleson & Samter, 1990).  Affectively oriented communication skills seem to play an important role for both genders in the conduct of intimacy for same-sex friendships and opposite-sex romances (Burleson et al.,  1996).


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