Parenting in a Rainbow Nation: A South African Perspective on Parenting

  • Nicolette V. RomanEmail author
Part of the Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Science book series (SACH, volume 7)


Parenting has been linked to varying outcomes of child wellbeing and behavior. Prolific research exists in Western countries regarding different parenting styles and practices linked to various outcomes. These are then used as a basis to understand parenting in non-Western countries such as South Africa. With a diversified population of over 50 million, South Africa has a rich socio-political history which has constantly threatened the very existence of the family and parental responsibility and practices. Today, there are new challenges for parents which need to be negotiated in order to have well adjusted children. The limited parenting research in South Africa not only suggests a more positive approach to parenting in general, but that there are similarities and differences to Western research studies as well as differences across cultures.


Parenting Style Psychological Control Authoritative Parenting Authoritarian Parenting Parenting Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank Professor Willy Lens, at the University of Leuven in Belgium, as well as the Erasmusmundus2 programme and the University of the Western Cape for supporting me in completing this chapter.


  1. Allen, J., Hauser, S., O Conner, T., & Bell, K. (2002). Prediction of peer-rated adult hostility from autonomy struggles in adolescent-family interactions. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 123–137.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Amoateng, A. Y., Barber, B. K., & Erickson, L. D. (2006). Family predictors of adolescent substance use: The case of high school students in the Cape Metropolitan Area, Cape Town, South Africa. Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 18(1), 7–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aquilino, W. S. (2006). Family relationships and support systems in emerging adulthood. In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st century (pp. 193–218). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aquilino, W. S., & Supple, A. J. (2001). Long-term effects of parenting practices during adolescence on well-being outcomes in young adulthood. Journal of Family Issues, 22(3), 289–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnett, J. J. (2007). Suffering, selfish, slackers? Myth and reality on emerging adults. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 36, 23–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barber, B. K. (1996). Parental psychological control: Revisiting a neglected construct. Child Development, 67, 3296–3319.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Barber, B. K. (2002). Reintroducing parental psychological control. In B. K. Barber (Ed.), Intrusive parenting: How psychological control affects children and adolescents (pp. 3–13). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barber, B. K., Stolz, H. E., & Olsen, J. A. (2005). Parent support, psychological control, and behavioural control: Assessing relevance across time, method, and culture. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 70, 4.Google Scholar
  9. Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behaviour. Journal of Child Development, 37, 887–907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices interceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43–88.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Baumrind, D. (1968). Authoritarian vs authoritative control. Adolescence, 37, 255–272.Google Scholar
  12. Baumrind, D. (1978). Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. Journal of Youth & Society, 9, 239–276.Google Scholar
  13. Baumrind, D. (1987). A developmental perspective on adolescent risk taking in contemporary America. New Directions for Child Development, 37, 93–125.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Baumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting styles on adolescent competence and substances. Journal of Early Adolescence, 11(1), 58–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Baumrind, D. (1997). Necessary distinctions. Psychological Inquiry, 8, 176–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bean, R. A., Bush, K. R., McKenry, P. C., & Wilson, S. M. (2003). The impact of parental support, behavioral control, and psychological control on the academic achievement and self-esteem of African American and European American adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 18(5), 523–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bernstein, H. (1985). For their triumphs and for their tears. Women in apartheid South Africa. London: International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa.Google Scholar
  18. Bigner, J. J. (1998). Parent-child relations: An introduction to parenting. New York: Macmillan College Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  19. Bomester, O. (2012). Exploring closeness in parent-adolescent relationships (PAR) in a semi-rural, low income community in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Unpublished masters thesis, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  20. Bray, R., Gooskens, I., Kahn, L., Moses, S., & Seekings, J. (2010). Growing up in the new South Africa: Childhood and adolescence in post-apartheid Cape Town. Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council.Google Scholar
  21. Bukatko, D., & Daehler, M. (1995). Child development: A thematic approach (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.Google Scholar
  22. Burton, P., Leoschut, L., & Bonora, A. (2009). Walking the tightrope: Youth resilience to crime in South Africa. Cape Town: Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention.Google Scholar
  23. Child Care Act, 38 of 2005, (492). (2006). Government of South Africa. No 28944.Google Scholar
  24. Chirkov, V., Ryan, R. M., Youngmee, K., & Kaplan, U. (2003). Differentiating autonomy from individualism and independence: A self-determination theory perspective on internalization of cultural orientations and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 97–110.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Conger, R. D., Cui, M., Bryant, C. M., & Elder, G. H. (2000). Competence in early adult romantic relationships: A developmental perspective on family influences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(2), 224–237.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. De Jager, N. (2011). Adolescents’ relationships in a town in the Western Cape, South Africa. Unpublished masters thesis, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  27. Deater-Deckard, K., Sewell, M. D., Petrill, S. A., & Thompson, L. A. (2010). Maternal working memory and reactive negativity in parenting. Psychological Science, 21(1), 75–79.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dobson, J. (2002). Parents’ answers book. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  30. Ginwala, F. (1990, January 13–18). Women in South Africa today. A paper presented at the Malibongwe conference, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  31. Gonzalez, A., Greenwood, G., & Wenhsu, J. (2001). Undergraduate students’ goal orientations and their relationship to perceived parenting styles. College Student Journal, 35, 182–193.Google Scholar
  32. Gray, M. R., & Steinberg, L. (1999). Unpacking authoritative parenting: Reassessing a multidimensional construct. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 574–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Grolnick, W. (2003). The psychology of parental control: How well-meant parenting backfires. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  34. Grolnick, W. S., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1997). Internalization within the family: The self-determination theory perspective. In J. E. Grusec & L. Kuczynski (Eds.), Parenting and children’s internalization of values: A handbook of contemporary theory (pp. 135–161). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Gupta, R. M., & Theus, F. C. (2006). Pointers for parenting for mental health service professionals. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  36. Hartley-Brewer, E. (1996). Positive parenting. London: Cedar.Google Scholar
  37. Herzog, E., & Sudia, C. (1973). Children in fatherless families. In B. Caldwell & H. Ricciti (Eds.), Review of child development research (Vol. 3, pp. 79–92). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. Holborn, L., & Eddy, G. (2011). The first steps to healing the South African family. Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations.Google Scholar
  39. Hughes, S. O., Power, T. G., Fisher, J. O., Mueller, S., & Nicklas, T. A. (2005). Revisiting a neglected construct: Parenting styles in child-feeding context. Appetite, 44, 83–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Huver, R. M. E., Otten, R., de Vries, H., & Engels, R. C. M. E. (2010). Personality and parenting style in parents of adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 33, 395–402.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Karavasilis, L., Doyle, A. B., & Markiewicz, D. (2003). Associations between parenting styles and attachment to mother in middle childhood and adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27, 153–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kritzas, N., & Grobler, A. A. (2005). The relationship between perceived parenting styles and resilience during adolescence. Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 17(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kurdek, L. A., & Fine, M. A. (1994). Family acceptance and family control as predictors of adjustment in young adolescents: Linear, curvilinear or interactive effects? Child Development, 65, 1137–1146.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Lamborn, S., Mounts, N., Steinberg, L., & Dornbusch, S. (1991). Patterns of competence and adjustment among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglectful families. Child Development, 62, 1049–1066.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Latouf, N. C. (2005). Parenting styles affecting the behavior of five-year olds. Unpublished masters thesis, University of South Africa, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  46. Lindeggar, G., & Maxwell, J. (2007). Teenage masculinity: The double find of conformity to hegemonic standards. In T. Shefer, K. Ratele, A. Strebel, N. Shabalala, & R. Buikema (Eds.), From boys to men (pp. 94–111). Lansdowne: Juta & Company Ltd.Google Scholar
  47. Lowe, C. (2005). Perceived child-rearing practices as predictors of relationship satisfaction of fourth-year university hostel residents. Unpublished masters thesis, University of Free State, Free State Province.Google Scholar
  48. Maccoby, E. E. (1992). The role of parents in the socialization of children: An historical overview. Developmental Psychology, 28, 1006–1017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Maccoby, E. E. (2000). Parenting and its effects on children: On reading and misreading behavior genetics. Annual Reviews of Psychology, 51, 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Maccoby, E. E., & Martin, J. A. (1983). Socialization in the context of the family: Parent–child interaction. In P. H. Mussen & E. M. Hetherington (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (Socialization, personality, and social development 4th ed., Vol. 4, pp. 1–101). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  51. Magnuson, K., & Berger, L. M. (2009). Family structure states and transitions: Associations with children’s well-being during middle childhood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(3), 575–591.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Makwakwa, T. (2011). Emerging adulthood: Examining the relationship between parenting styles and decision-making of university resident students. Unpublished masters thesis, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  53. McNeely, C. A., & Barber, B. K. (2010). How do parents make adolescents feel loved? Perspectives on supportive parenting from adolescents in 12 cultures. Journal of Adolescent Research, 25, 601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Milevsky, A., Schlechter, M., Netter, S., & Keehn, D. (2007). Maternal and paternal parenting styles adolescents: Associations with self-esteem, depression and life satisfaction. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16, 39–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Moremi, D. M. (2002). Parenting styles and the adjustment of black South African Grade 1 children in single parent households. Unpublished masters thesis. University of South Africa, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  56. Morrell, R., Bhana, D., & Shefer, T. (2012). Books and babies: Pregnancy and young parents in schools. Cape Town: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
  57. Muris, P., Loxton, H., Neumann, A., du Plessis, M., King, N., & Ollendick, T. (2006). DSM-defined anxiety disorders symptoms in South African youths: Their assessment and relationship with perceived parental rearing behaviors. Behavior Research and Therapy, 44, 883–896.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Naidoo, P. (1998). The experiences of divorced mothers as single parents. Psychology in Society (PINS), 23, 17–34.Google Scholar
  59. Ocholla-Ayayo, A. B. C. (2000). The African family in development crisis in the second millennium. The African Anthropologist, 7(1), 84–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Osborne, C., Berger, L. M., & Magnuson, K. (2012). Family structure transitions and changes in maternal resources and well-being. Demography, 49(1), 23–47.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Pervin, L., & John, O. (2001). Personality: Theory and research (8th ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  62. Pettit, G. S., Laird, R. D., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., & Criss, M. M. (2001). Antecedents and behavior-problems outcomes of parental monitoring and psychological control in early adolescence. Child Development, 72(2), 583–598.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Posel, D. (1991). The making of apartheid 1948–1961. Conflict and compromise. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Richter, L., & Morell, R. (2006). Baba: Men and fatherhood in South Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
  65. Roman, N. V. (2008). Single and married mother-preadolescent relationships: Understanding and comparing the interaction between self-esteem and family functioning. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  66. Roman, N. V. (2011). Maternal parenting in single and two-parent families in South Africa from a child’s perspective. Social Behavior and Personality, 39(5), 577–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Roman, N. V., Human, A., & Hiss, D. (2012). Young South African adults’ perceptions of parental psychological control and antisocial behavior. Social Behavior and Personality, 40(7), 1163–1174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rudy, D., & Grusec, J. E. (2006). Authoritarian parenting in individualist and collectivist groups: Associations with maternal emotion and cognition and children’s self-esteem. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 68–78.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Schaefer, E. (1991). Goals for parent and future-parent education: Research on parental beliefs and behavior. The Elementary School Journal, 91(3), 239–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Soenens, B. (2006). Psychologically controlling parenting and adolescent psychosocial adjustment. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Leuven, Belgium.Google Scholar
  72. Statistics South Africa. (2007). General household survey 2006. (Online) September 18, 2007.
  73. Steinberg, L., Lamborn, N. D., Mounts, N. S., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1994). Over-time changes in adjustment and competence among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglectful families. Child Development, 65(3), 754–770.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Swartz, S., & Bhana, A. (2009). Teenage Tata: Young fathers take responsibility. HSRC Review, 7(3), 4–5.Google Scholar
  75. Van Steenkiste, M. (2005). Intrinsic versus extrinsic goal promotion and autonomy support versus control. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Leuven, Belgium.Google Scholar
  76. Van Steenkiste, M., Zhou, M., Lens, W., & Soenens, B. (2005). Experiences of autonomy and control among Chinese learners: Vitalizing or immobilizing? Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(3), 468–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Van Wel, F., Linsen, H., & Abma, R. (2000). The parental bond and the well-being of adolescents and young adults. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 29(3), 307–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Weinraub, M., & Wolf, B. (1983). Effects of stress and social supports on mother-child interactions in single and two-parent families. Child Development, 54, 1297–1311.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  79. Wintre, M. G., & Yaffe, M. (2000). First-year students’ adjustment to university life as a function of relationships with parents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 15(1), 9–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Child and Family Studies ProgrammeUniversity of the Western Cape (UWC)Cape TownSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations