Gender differences and the degree of compatibility within mother's and father's parenting style in adolescents  

Delale E. A.
University of Zagreb, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Law, Zagreb, Croatia

The goal of the study was to explore the degree of compatibility within mother's and father's parenting style in male and female adolescents. The study is a part of a broader study, which examined the relationship between parenting style and self-perceived emotional intelligence in adolescents. Parenting style was studied within the parental acceptance-rejection theory (Rohner, 1984), and discussed within the larger theoretical frame of recent models of family socialization. Measures included self-reported parental acceptance (Rohner, 1984): perceived warmth and affection, hostility and aggression, indifference and neglect, undifferentiated rejection; parental control (Ajduković & Delale, 2001): perceived settings of strict rules, restrictiveness, invasion of privacy and surveillance as well as self-perceived emotional intelligence (Delale, 2001; adapted from Takšić, 1998). Father's parenting style was significantly related to mother's at all assessed measures of parenting styles, both for boys and girls. There were also significant gender differences in the degree of compatibility of mothers' and fathers' parenting style in all measures except warmth and surveillance. Boys perceived parenting style of their parent more compatible than girls (correlations varied from 0.50 to 0.87 for boys and from 0.28 to 0.87 for girls). Since there were significant differences in perception of mothers' and fathers' parenting style, additional scores from mother's and father's parenting style were calculated and girls were more discriminative in observing their parents. Results are discussed according to gender differences in perceived emotional intelligence found in this research and better recognition of their own and other's emotions in girls. Females are socialized more than males in recognition and expression of emotions, they are biologically better equipped and they are spending more time on emotions (Mayer et al., 1999), so they could better differentiate relationships and emotion related content in their parents.