A comparative study of the relationship between knowledge of child development and parenting styles in high and low socio-economic groups of parents in early childhood development centres
Early childhood development has been recognised to be the most important contributor to long-term social and emotional development. Whatever occurs in a child‘s life in the early years may be an indicator of the child‘s developmental trajectory and life-course. Therefore positive parenting is paramount to foster quality parent-child interaction. However, previous research shows that for parents to adopt a positive parenting style, some degree of parental knowledge is required. The aim of this study was to compare the relationship between knowledge of child development and parenting styles in low and high socio-economic groups of parents in early childhood development centres. The study used a mixed methods approach with a two-phased sequential exploratory design. A systematic review was conducted in phase 1 followed by a quantitative study for phase 2. The sample consisted of N = 140 parents with children between 2-5 years old from low and high socio-economic groups. The participants completed the Knowledge of Infant Development Inventory (KIDI-P) and Parenting Styles Dimension Questionnaire (PSDQ). Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation were used to analyze the data. Findings of the study show that the authoritative parenting style is the prevalent parenting style in both low and high socio-economic groups. Furthermore the results indicate that parents are fairly knowledgeable across all subscales for both the low and high socio-economic group with a significant difference in degree of knowledge with the high socio-economic group being more knowledgeable than the low socio-economic group. The findings also show that there in no correlation between knowledge of child development and authoritative parenting styles. However correlations do exist between the other variables.