Influence of mothers' parenting styles on self-regulated academic learning among Saudi primary school students
Tahany Alnafea and David D. Curtis
Flinders University, South Australia
Much of the research on self-regulation has investigated the influence of school settings. However, fewer studies have concentrated on the home environment and its influence on student's academic behaviour in school. The present research investigates the influence of mothers' parenting styles on students' self-regulated learning behaviours in schools. The research included 351 primary students (11 and 12 years-old) and their mothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The research was conducted using a cross-sectional survey design in which mothers were asked to complete a Parenting Styles Questionnaire (Robinson, Mandleco, Olsen & Hart, 1995) and their children completed a modified form of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1991). Results differ from what had been reported in the literature. We find that Saudi mothers tend to be authoritative rather than authoritarian (cf. Dwairy et al. 2006; Achoui, 2003). We find that authoritative styles are significantly and positively related to students' self-efficacy, cognitive and metacognitive strategy use, and study and time management, whereas permissive styles are significantly but negatively correlated to self-efficacy and metacognitive self-regulation. Authoritarian styles have a small negative influence on time and study management and a small positive influence on help seeking, both effects being marginally significant.
Though much research into self-regulated learning has been conducted on school contexts, few studies have concentrated on other factors like family environment. Grolnick and Ryan (1989) emphasised how home and school contexts are related since the beliefs that children acquire and the way they are treated at home contribute to how they behave academically. This view was supported by Epstein (1989, p. 290) who wrote: "It is imperative to study the family along with the school to understand contextual effects on student motivation and learning". It is argued that an essential role of parents is to influence, control, and teach their children (Pomerantz, Grolnick & Price, 2005; Darling, 1999).
In this study, we investigate the relationship between mothers' parenting styles (PS) and aspects of their children's self-regulated learning (SRL) in the belief that certain approaches to parenting would be more effective in promoting SRL. We deliberately focused on mothers and excluded fathers from this study, in order to eliminate one source of variance, and because mothers exert a greater influence on their children's learning (e.g. Leung, McBride-Chang & Lai, 2004). The study was undertaken in seven schools in the Sharqia region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and we received completed surveys from 351 children and their mothers. Saudi Arabia provides a particular cultural context for the study of the PS-SRL relationship compared with many previous studies conducted in Western and Asian countries (e.g. Purdie, Carroll & Roche, 2004; Watabe and Hibbard, 2014). One aspect of cultural difference is that all boys and girls in KSA attend single-sex schools. Another aspect is that Saudi Arabia is regarded as a socially conservative country and Muslim parents believe that the ideal child is closely tied with the traditional values and morals in Islamic culture including self-discipline, good manners, respect for elders, and good academic outcomes (Alsheikh, Parameswaran & Ethoweris, 2010). We used a version of the Parenting Styles Questionnaire (PSQ, Robinson, Mandleco, Olsen & Hart, 1995) to assess mothers' parenting styles and a version of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ, Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1991) to assess students' SRL.
Metacognitive processes are used by self-regulating students who use their knowledge of cognition (declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledge) (Bruning et al., 2011; Jacobs & Paris, 1987). Moreover, they have the capability to regulate their cognition through planning, monitoring, and evaluating processes. Self-regulated learners have constructive motivational dispositions. They have higher levels of self-efficacy than others as they are more flexible in incorporating critical factors such as goal setting, persistence, help seeking, and task engagement (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990). Attribution theory stated that self-regulated learners attribute their success to internal, stable, and controllable traits, which increases their confidence to succeed again (Schunk, 2008; Bruning et al., 2011). Self-determination theory argued that they are more autonomous as they feel a greater sense of control, leading to more task-related effort, increased persistence, and better use of feedback (Zimmerman & Schunk, 2012). Self-regulated learners display high-level behavioural processes. They are more able than other learners to self-reinforce during enactments and self-instruct during acquisition (Zimmerman, 2013; Rohrkemper 1989). In other words, they have the ability to select, adjust, and structure convenient learning environments for themselves to better achieve their goals. They seek out information, advice, and places to facilitate their learning.
Zimmerman (2002) described three essential phases of self-regulatory processes: the forethought phase (task analysis, planning, self-motivation, beliefs), the performance phase (self-control, self-instruction, attention, self-observation), and the self-reflection phase (self-judgment, evaluation, casual attribution, self-reaction). As the triadic reciprocal causation in Bandura's learning theory sets the theoretical groundwork for the development of self-regulated learning models, the self-regulated learning variables selected in the present study are based upon Bandura's social cognitive model and the conceptualisation of self-regulated learning as defined by Zimmerman (2013, 2002, 1989).
As noted above, Zimmerman (1989) did not include an environmental component in his model of self-regulation as Bandura did. However, he concentrated on how behavioural techniques and strategies could assist learners in creating a convenient learning environment. In contrast, Bandura counted on the environmental aspect as a main component that included factors like social and cultural traits, which can have an immediate influence on students' academic behaviour and outcomes. He believed that learner's academic behaviour is a product of an external source of influence (Zimmerman, 1989). This supports the study's hypothesis that mothers' parenting styles (as an external environmental factor) would play a substantial role in students' self-regulated learning (their academic behaviour).
Baumrind (1971) conceptualised eight parenting styles including nonconforming, authoritative nonconforming, and rejecting-neglecting. Meanwhile, Baumrind (1991) incorporated sex-role traditional as a supplemental form of parenting style. This form considers those parents who use different parenting styles depending on their children's gender. Research on parenting style has concentrated on three types of parenting styles that are seen as prevalent and inclusive: (a) authoritarian, (b), authoritative, and (c) permissive (Baumrind & Black, 1967; Gonzalez, Holbein & Quilter, 2002). The three-part classification can be related to Baumrind's styles by noting that authoritarian parents are demanding and rejecting; authoritative parents are demanding and accepting; and permissive parents are liberal and rejecting. Authoritarian parents place high demands, enforce strict discipline (Leung & Kwan, 1998), are extremely controlling, and have poor affiliated relationships with their children (Aunola, Stattin & Nurmi 2000).
In contrast, authoritative parents depend on explanations of rules rather than enforcing strict discipline and obedience (Gonzalez, Holbein & Quilter, 2002), encourage parental involvement, promote open communication, and boost their child's confidence (Aunola, Stattin & Nurmi, 2000). Permissive parents exert very little control, encourage autonomous decision-making, and enable their children to regulate their own activities without being involved themselves (Dwairy et al., 2006). They avoid confrontations and tend to be supportive and warm towards their children's unfavourable behaviours, exhibit non-controlling behaviours, make few demands, and use minimal punishment (Driscoll, Russell & Crockett, 2008).
Purdie, Carroll and Roche (2004) investigated the association between parenting behaviour and adolescents' SRL processe in Australia, and found a substantial correlation between parenting practices and student's academic self-regulation, which influenced school related behaviour. Erden and Uredi (2008) explored the effect of perceived PSs on SRL strategies and motivational beliefs in primary school children in Turkey. They reported that the dimensions of SRL, namely task value, self-efficacy, and cognitive and metacognitive SRL strategies were influenced by PS. They also noticed that students with authoritative parents used more cognitive and metacognitive strategies and had higher task value and self-efficacy than students of authoritarian and indulgent (permissive) parents. It is surprising to discover that these findings are mostly confined to the Western cultures and may not apply to other societies with different cultures, morals, values, and beliefs.
When considering non-Western cultures, few studies were found in respect to how PS influences students' SRL. Some of the earlier research performed in Asian countries such as China, differed considerably in their findings compared with other cultures. Western parents appeared to be mostly authoritative with their children, yet Asian research revealed that Chinese parents tend to be more authoritarian (Dornbusch et al., 1987; Sue & Abe, 1995; Chao, 2001). When applying authoritarian child-rearing practices in an authoritarian culture (Chao, 1994; Chao, 2001), it appears that this style has a different meaning and effect from what is observed in the West. For example, while an authoritarian parenting style is found to be related to poor academic performance in European-American societies, most students from Asian countries were found to outperform European-American students (Sue & Abe, 1995; Chao, 1994; Chao, 2001). Dornbusch et al. (1987) asked a number of high school students in the United States to score their parents' level of control. The results indicated that students of Asian background scored highest on authoritarian parenting style, but they received the highest grade-point averages compared with other students.
Nonetheless, more recent research (e.g. Huang & Prochner, 2003; Watabe & Hibbard, 2014; Kelley, 2004) provided contrary findings, reporting that child-rearing practices in China and Japan are deemed authoritative and this style was positively and significantly related to children's ratings of SRL. Chao (1994) stated that "Parental influences are not appropriate predictors of school success for Asian youngsters" (p. 1112). Thus, it is assumed that parenting styles in the Arab or Muslim world might also vary in their influence on children's self-regulated learning compared with previous studies undertaken elsewhere.
Despite a diligent search, no studies were found that investigate the effect of parenting styles on students' self-regulated learning in Saudi Arabia. However, some studies reported that parenting styles in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries tend to be authoritarian (Dwairy et al., 2006; Alsheikh, Parameswaran & Ethoweris, 2010; Achoui, 2003). This begs the question whether authoritarian PS are understood in the same way in Arab or Islamic cultures as they are in Chinese cultures.
In an Iranian study, authoritative parenting was found to significantly affect university students' self-efficacy more than authoritarian and permissive parenting styles (Tozandehjani, Tavakolizadeh & Lagzain, 2011). Susanadari (2014) found that authoritative parenting styles have a positive influence on self-efficacy in Indonesian high school students. EbrahimMadahi, Liaghat & Madah (2013) studied the effect of parenting practices on other components of SRL and found that Iranian parents who were assertive and responsive with their children reported significant correlations with self-regulated learning factors including cognitive and metacognitive processes. It should be noted that all cultures mentioned above differ from one another. For example, Eastern-Asian parents are considered strict with their children compared with Western parents. Another point is that Iran and Indonesia are Muslim countries, but they are less conservative than Saudi Arabia. Additionally, all these cultures have mixed-sex schools. Typically, these cultural and educational characteristics may influence SRL directly or influence PS that therefore may influence SRL through their influence on PS.
In conclusion, despite the differences between studies it is notable that authoritative parenting appears to be positively associated with productive student academic behaviours compared with other parenting styles. While the earlier research done in China (Dornbusch et al., 1987) revealed that authoritarianism enhances children's academic performance, later research (e.g. Huang & Prochner, 2003; Watabe & Hibbard, 2014; Kelley, 2004) in the same culture reported contrary findings that concurred with the majority of findings in other cultures (e.g. Abar, Carter & Winsler, 2009; Juang & Silbereisen, 1999).
The region that this sample is taken from is relatively more affluent than other regions in Saudi Arabia. It generally regarded as a socially less conservative, especially in the three selected cities in this study. Usually, people in those cities readily accept change in order to improve the society and production. Government and private schools (but not international schools) in Saudi Arabia follow the same educational system and curriculum. Classes that boys and girls take in school are slightly different. For instance, boys have sport and patriotism classes but do not have house management classes (cooking and sewing).
Parenting style questionnaire
The Parenting Style Questionnaire (PSQ) was developed by Robinson et al. (1995) to measure the parenting style that is predominantly utilised when rearing children. This instrument was especially designed for parents of pre-adolescent children. The original PSQ consists of 62 items as the authoritative scale has 27 items with a Cronbach alpha of .91, the authoritarian scale has 20 items with a Cronbach alpha of .86, and the permissive scale has 15 items with a Cronbach alpha of .75. For the current study, we used a version of the PSQ adapted by Moghadam, Hemmatinezhad, Behrozi and Ahmadzade (2014). The revised instrument included only 30 items reflecting the three identified parenting styles. The authoritative and authoritarian styles had 13 items each, while the permissive style had only 4 items (See Appendix 1). Moghadam et al. (2014) administered the adapted PSQ instrument to 704 students (14 to 17 year-olds) and reported an acceptable reliability (alpha=.83) for the instrument as a whole. They did not report Cronbach alpha values for the separate scales. A six-point Likert scale that ranges from 1= never to 6= always is used for all items. We discuss below several limitations of the revised PSQ that emerged in the analysis of the data we collected.
Motivated strategies for learning questionnaire
The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) is a self-report instrument that was designed by Pintrich, Smith, Garcia and McKeachie (1991) to assess students' motivation and use of self-regulated learning strategies. The latest version of the MSLQ has 81 items that are rated on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1= not at all true of me to 7= very true of me. This questionnaire was designed for college students; however, it has been used successfully with children and is judged to be a suitable instrument for assessing their SRL (Karadeniz et al., 2008; Eshel & Kohavi, 2003; Andreou & Metallidou, 2004; Shih, 2005). To make this instrument appropriate for pre-adolescent children in the current study, some factors were excluded and fewer items were included from each sub-construct.
The adapted questionnaire used in this study consisted of scales for: (a) task value (6 items) and self-efficacy (4 items) to measure the motivation component, (b) strategy use (9 items) and metacognitive self-regulation (7 items) to measure metacognitive processes, (c) time and study management (5 items) and help seeking (4 items) to measure management (behavioural) component (See Appendix 2). A few items were simplified when they were translated to Arabic to help children better interpret the items. Shortening and adapting the MSLQ to accommodate younger participants is considered appropriate by the instrument's author and other researchers (e.g. Wolters & Pintrich, 2001; Shih, 2005). The main aim of making the MSLQ shorter and with more focused questions was to increase the response rate and encourage respondents to answer all questions conscientiously with consistent understanding of the statements.
|The Motivated Strategy for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)||Motivation||Task value||6||.754|
|Metacognition||Cognitive and metacognitive strategies||9||.822|
|Resource management||Time and study environment||5||.664|
|The Parenting Style Questionnaire (PSQ)||Authoritative||13||.887|
To examine the strength of the relationship between PS and SRL, multiple regression models were tested between the sub-constructs of the MSLQ (task value, self-efficacy, cognitive and metacognitive strategy use, metacognitive self-regulation, time and study management, help-seeking) as outcome measures and the three parenting styles assessed by the PSQ (authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive) as explanatory variables.
TV = B0 + B1.Authoritative + B2.Authoritarian + B3.Permissive + rwhere B0 is the regression intercept (constant), B1, B2 and B3 are the regression coefficients for the three parenting styles respectively, and r is the residual term.
|TVNote: Task value (TV), self-efficacy (SE), cognitive and metacognitive strategy use (CMSU), metacognitive self-regulation (MSR), time and study management (TSM), help seeking (HS)|
The regression model showed that authoritative PS has significant positive influences on students' self-efficacy, cognitive and metacognitive strategy use, and time and study management, although the effect sizes are small (see the beta parameters in Table 3). For each unit increase in the authoritative PS there is an increase in these three components of SRL in students (.729, 1.39, .703, respectively). In contrast, the permissive PS has significant negative influences on students' self-efficacy and metacognitive self-regulation, although the effect sizes are small. A one unit increase in the permissive PS is associated with a decrease in these two factors of SRL in students (-.433, -.923, respectively). The authoritarian PS has two marginally significant and weak influences - a negative influence on time and study management (p=.07) and a weak positive influence on help-seeking (p=.07). Task value was the only SRL factor that was not significantly predicted by any of the PS (p>.05). We find positive effects of the authoritative PS on self-efficacy, time and study management, and cognitive and metacognitive strategy use, and negative effects of the permissive PS on self-efficacy and metacognitive self-regulation, with two weak and marginally significant influences of the authoritarian style (negative on time and study management and positive on help-seeking).
The mothers in our study tended to adopt an authoritative parenting style with their children. The fact that most Saudi mothers perceive themselves as authoritative rather than authoritarian is a departure from what has been reported previously; that Saudi parents appeared to be authoritarian and use controlling and restrictive child-rearing strategies (Dwairy et al., 2006; Achoui, 2003). Those studies included fathers and mothers, so perhaps fathers are more authoritarian than mothers. The most recent study to report those findings was published a decade ago, during which time social and economic growth and a substantial movement in education and family structure in Saudi societies could have played a role in changing rearing children practices in Saudi Arabia.
In this study, we focused on mothers' parenting style and excluded fathers. This decision was taken to eliminate a source of variation in responses. However, it is possible that the greater authoritarian style evident in previous studies (Dwairy et al., 2006; Alsheikh, Parameswaran & Ethoweris, 2010; Achoui, 2003) may reflect fathers' rather than mothers' preferred parenting style. Furthermore, in this study, we collected data from one region (Sharqia) in Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Arabia is regarded as traditional and conservative, not all regions share these values equally and the findings of this study may not apply to Saudi Arabia generally. Although not stated explicitly, the previous studies may have been conducted in other regions and therefore may have sampled a different set of views than we did.
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Authoritative parenting style
|Authors: Tahany Alnafea (corresponding author) is currently a psychologist at Shumua Al Amal for Special Education and Rehabilitation, Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She recently completed her Master of Education in Cognitive Psychology and Educational Practice at Flinders University. As part of that degree program, she designed and undertook the study reported in this paper.|
David D. Curtis is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Flinders University. His research traces the education pathways taken by young people as they move through and beyond schooling. He is particularly interested in the influence of family characteristics on young people's education and career pathways.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.flinders.edu.au/people/david.curtis
Please cite as: Alnafea, T. & Curtis, D. D. (2017). Influence of mothers' parenting styles on self-regulated academic learning among Saudi primary school students. Issues in Educational Research, 27(3), 399-416. http://www.iier.org.au/iier27/alnafea.html