Parenting practices in Northern Ireland: evidence from the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey

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The impact of parental child-rearing practices on child outcomes has been the subject of much research and debate for many years. Studies carried out within a variety of disciplines and across a number of different countries in the world have indicated that parents tend to use a different pattern of rearing their sons than their daughters, and that child-rearing practices are related to the gender of the parent, as well as to the age and developmental stage of the child. However, there has been little research in Northern Ireland on child-rearing behaviours. In order to address this shortfall, this paper presents an analysis of parents’ perceptions of their interactions with their children. Data from Wave 3 of the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey were analysed to explore aspects of ‘‘negative’’ parenting practices (arguing, yelling and use of physical punishment) as well as ‘‘positive’’ parenting practices (talking, praising and hugging). The participants were all parents (aged 16 years and over) with children under the age of 16 years living in the same household. Each parent reported his/her interaction with each child (up to a maximum of six children), and in total 1,629 responses were recorded. The results of the research supported previous findings from the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and indicated that the parenting styles of respondents in Northern Ireland were indeed related to the gender and age of the children and to the gender of the parents. The survey found that parents in Northern Ireland tend to have a harsher, more negative style of parenting boys than girls and that children in their teenage years have fewer positive interactions with their parents than younger children. The same parents and children will be followed up in 2007 in order to provide a longitudinal analysis of parent/child relationships in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-376
Number of pages12
JournalChild Care in Practice
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


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