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Will Parenting Styles Decide Children’s Life?

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Will parenting styles decide children’s life?

Peng Xiaoyang (Alfred)

Wenzhou-Kean University


  According to the theory of parenting style developed by Diane Baumrind, we can know that there are four kinds of parenting styles: Authoritative parents, authoritarian parents, permissive parents, and uninvolved parents (Baumrind, 1967). In this essay, I will mainly talked about the uninvolved parents. Uninvolved parents represent the parents that keep distance from their children and do little more than give their children resources. They don’t attend school events and parent-teacher conferences. Sometimes, they are overwhelmed by their own problems to deal with their children and intentionally avoid their children. The effects of this kind of parenting styles are     the children must learn to provide for themselves and don’t want to depend on other people. They are often emotionally withdrawn. Since they lack of family support, they begin to feel fear, anxiety and stressful. What’s more, they are hard to discipline and  tend to exhibit more delinquency during adolescence(Baumrind, 1991). However, are the children of uninvolved family grow all like this, the movie Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story (Birch, 2003) gives us a different answer.

  Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story (Birch, 2003) is a movie published by lifetime television. This movie tells a true story about the grown of a child of uninvolved parents. Liz is a girl born in the slim, her parents are drugsters and have no money to raise her. What’s more, her mother has serious schizophrenia because of the childhood trauma caused by her grandfather. Her mother dies when Liz is 15 years old because of Aids and her father is sent to hospice. Little Liz needs to go begging outside the world and meets some friends who are like her. Under this situation, Liz doesn’t give up her life. She show her sincere attitude to the principal of the high school and moves him to give her chance to study. Then she just take two years to finish the whole high school courses which other people needs to study for four years. Then she keep studying and gets the scholarship given by New York Times which can help her with her life in the university. At the end of the movie, she enters Harward University with confident steps.

  In this movie, it is not difficult for us to identify that Liz’s parents are typically uninvolved parents. They like drugs and have no formal jobs, and they don't seem to care much about Liz. So Liz is typical child of uninvolved parents, but it is clearly that her parenting style doesn’t make her like other child of uninvolved parents. In fact, in this movie, there is one person who is typical child of uninvolved parents which used to be Liz’s best friends. She is from a family like Liz, but unlike Liz, she likes to deny herself. In the movie, she says to Liz : “ I don’t belong to school, neither nor you.” This can show her unhealthy growth and the impact of her family. Liz story tells us that what decide a person is not his or her parenting style. They can change their life by developing themselves.

  In my opinion, I think the first quality that makes Liz different from others is her passions of changing her life. This is her own quality and motivation that keeps her moving on. The family that children grow up in will cause influence to children, but the influence is not decisive. In children’s lifetime, they will touch many kinds of scenes and people besides parents. Some of these scenes will also cause influence to children. Like Liz in this movie, in her begging life, she can see many people with happiness, so this can be a stimuli that give her motivation to work hard. So she can push herself into the world like normal people.

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