A parenting role can be defined as a set of beliefs pertaining to how parents should behave. The beliefs included in a parenting role are reflected in how a parent behaves toward the children. Two types of parenting behaviors that are a part of the parenting role—control and warmth—have been identified as being particularly important for child development. Control refers to the degree to which parents set and enforce limits and monitor their children's activities. Warmth refers to the extent to which parents communicate with, show caring toward, and support their children. Empirical evidence has consistently shown that the more parents exhibit both control and warmth (referred to as an authoritative parenting style), the more positive is children's adjustment (Steinberg, El-men, and Mounts 1989). However, there is an important caveat to consider. Some evidence suggests that authoritative parenting may not be the ideal approach among certain ethnic groups, such as African- and Asian-Americans. For some children in these groups, an authoritarian parenting style (consisting of lower levels of warmth and high levels of control) may be most conducive to positive growth and development.
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