1.1       Background to the Study

There is no one way to parenting. Differences in parenting styles can happen within individual societies as well as between different cultures (Sanders, 2003). For instance, the way parents in the United Kingdom or the United Sates choose to raise their children may differ dramatically from the way parents in Nigeria or Ghana choose to raise their children. Parenting style is a global climate in which a family functions and in which childrearing takes place (Sanders, 2003). Four distinct parenting styles have been distinguished, namely the authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and uninvolved styles, based on the two underlying dimensions of parental support (often referred to as parental responsiveness) and strict control (often referred to as parental demandingness) (Rose, Otten, Hein de Vries & Rutger, 2010).

Parental support refers to parental affectionate qualities and is associated with characteristics like warmth, acceptance, and involvement (Rose, Otten, Hein de Vries & Rutger, 2010). Strict control reflects parental control over their children’s behaviors and as such includes parental knowledge of these activities as well as active monitoring attempts. Authoritative parents offer their children a democratic climate of both high support and strict control. Authoritarian parents provide strict control without being supportive, and are therefore perceived as demanding and power-assertive. Children experiencing support in the absence of strict control are being reared by indulgent parents, who are allowing and permissive. These parents apply few rules to constrain their children. Finally, parents with an uninvolved parenting style are neither supportive nor controlling, and are relatively more indifferent and uninvolved (or even neglectful) with respect to their children (Rose, Otten, Hein de Vries & Rutger, 2010).

Studies have shown that one of the most important factors affecting children’s self-esteem and behavior is their parents’ style (Tanhaye-Rashavanlou & Hejazi, 2012). For example, adolescents of parents with an authoritative parenting style have higher than self-esteem (Moghaddam, Validad, Rakhshani and Assareh, 2017), however, research conducted on the effects of parenting styles on self-esteem in adolescents has shown variable results. For instance, a study by Moghaddam, Validad, Rakhshani and Assareh, indicated that an authoritative parenting style has an impact on self-esteem, whereas research by Dabiri, Delavar, Sarami & Falsafi-Nejad, pointed out that parenting styles do not have a significant impact on children’s self-esteem.

The concept of self-esteem is an area of psychology that has gained considerable attention, but for many years has also caused much confusion, as exactly what it encompasses and how it develops, has been unclear. Self-esteem could be  high  or  low,  either  level  can  be emotionally  and  socially  harmful  for  the individual. Adolescents with low self -esteem are often depressed and paranoid. They are more likely to experience social anxiety and low levels of social confidence Portia (2010). Adolescents who have high self-esteem  values  themselves and think of themselves as worthy partners, capable problem solvers and are more likely to be happy. They feel that they have positive characteristics and skills they can offer to other people and they also feel they are worthy of being loved and accepted by others including family and friends. An optimum level of self-esteem lies within the continuum i.e., between low  and  high  self-esteem.  Individuals operating within this range are thought to be more  socially  dominant within relationships. This  social  dominancy  simply means  that  adolescents  on  middle  level  on  the self-esteem  scale  is  comprised  of  varied personality characteristics, some of which can be more positive than others McLeod (2012).

Adolescence is a period in human growth and development that occurs after childhood and before adulthood. The World Health Organization (WHO) placed the age range from 10 to 19 years. It is a time of critical transition for individuals, as they deal with the physical, cognitive and social changes that occur during this developmental period. All of these changes can be stressful and individuals can feel less valuable than others, making them at risk of a lower self-esteem. Self-esteem is modified from childhood through the adolescent’s life by social experiences that occur both outside and within the family. Parental support is crucial in adolescence and parents could promote self-esteem in their children and reduce psychological distress by offering their support throughout this developmental phase (Boudreault-Bouchard, Dion, Hains, Vandermeerschen, Laberge & Perron, 2013).

It has been shown that adolescents and adults who have high self-esteem are at better health, have better capacity to cope and have lower incidence of depressive symptoms (Kaplan, Robbins, & Martin, 2003). Trzesniewski, Donnellan, Moffitt, Robins and Poulton (2006) found out that those adolescents that had low self-esteem had negative influence on their physical and emotional health. Low self-esteem during adolescence has been shown to predict poor health, criminal behavior and limited economic prospects during adulthood. Low self-esteem in adolescence also predicts negative outcomes in their adulthood. Mcgee and Williams (2000) also identified that low self-esteem can affect adolescent social life, lead to eating disorders, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Gaylord-Harden, Ragsdale, Mandara, Richards and Petersen (2007) identified that self-esteem is an important intermediary between social support and emotional adjustment both in early and late adolescence. They proposed that support from family and peers would serve as a protective factor on depression and anxiety, which would promote better self-esteem and perception of their ethnic group.

This study will explore possible reasons for high or low self-esteem concentrating on the development of self-esteem, by examining the potential influence of the parenting styles or type of child rearing approach. To categorize the parenting style, Baumrind’s styles of parenting are used. These are: Authoritarian, Authoritative and Permissive, which are defined as follows:

  1. Authoritative parenting style, which combines unconditional regard, acceptance of the child’s behaviour within certain limits, with relatively firm control.
  2. Authoritarian parenting style, which involves the parent using unbending rules to shape the child’s behaviour and imposing their will on the child without any give and take. The parent believes they are always right.
  3. Permissive parenting style in which parents show warmth and allow the child a great amount of autonomy while exercising little control over them. They allow their children to shape their own behavior instead of being active in this process.

1.2       Statement of the Problem  

Parenting style offers a vital indicator of parenting functioning that predicts a child’s well-being across a wide spectrum of environment. There is no way in which parents can avoid having a determining effect upon their children’s personality, character, and competence. The functions of parenting greatly influence how adolescents develop. One important task of parenting is the socialization of adolescents. This task requires parental expectations and guidance that change with the development of the adolescent to encourage positive adolescent outcomes. The socially competent adolescent can be described as possessing independence, social responsibility, vigor, and achievement orientation, which is the drive to seek intellectual challenges and solve problems efficiently and with persistence. The role of parenting cannot be overlooked when assessing the development of self-esteem in adolescents (Cramer, 2012).

Psychologists consider adolescence as a period of self search and identity formation. It is equally viewed as a period of conflict with parents as they attempt to define who they are. From the  literature  reviewed,  proper  parenting  practice  and  parent-adolescent  relationships  at  home would  lead  to  better  sense  of  self  which  translates into  good  personal  and  social  adjustment which in turn give rise to a high self-esteem, while  poor  parenting  and  parent-adolescent  relationship  leads  to  social  incompetence and as a result lead to a low self-esteem Anyanwu (2010).

Studies have shown that low  self-esteem  pose  a  great  challenge  in both  the  developed  and  developing  world.  For instance,  in  Nigeria  there  are  about  two  suicide attempts  every  month  traceable  to  depression from low self-esteem, suicidal tendencies in Nigerian teens (2014). Also, in the United States, teen suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, surpassed only by homicide and accidents according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Josephat & Herbert, 2015).

Low self-esteem has been significantly related to depression as seen in a study carried out by Julia and Ulrich (2013); Does low self-esteem predict depression and anxiety? A Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies. The result indicated that the relation between low self-esteem and anxiety is more symmetric, with small, but significant, prospective effects in both directions. Low self-esteem creates a negative impact in the lives of adolescents.  It  makes  the  adolescent  views himself  as  inadequate,  unworthy,  unlovable, and/or  incompetent.  Once  a low self-esteem is formed,  this  negative view of self permeates every thought, producing defective  assumptions  and  continued self-defeating behavior.  Low  self-esteem  can  be  a  major risk-factor  in  mental  and  emotional  health problems  such  as  suicide,  alcohol  and  drug abuse, and violence (Julia & Ulrich, 2013). Therefore, this study was to explore the influence parenting style could have on adolescent self-esteem.

1.3       Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study was to assess the influence of parenting styles on adolescents’ self-esteem in Abeokuta North Local Government Area, Ogun State. The specific objectives were to:

  1. identify the levels of adolescents’ self-esteem;
  2. evaluate the extent to which perceived personalities of the adolescents is associated with their self-esteem;
  3. determine the perceived parenting style’s influence on adolescents’ self-esteem and
  4. assess the levels of  parental involvement’s relationship with perceived parenting style adopted by adolescents’ parents.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. What are the levels of adolescents’ self-esteem
  2. To what extent is perceived personalities of the adolescents associated with their self-esteem.
  3. What is the perceived parenting style’s influence on adolescents’ self-esteem.
  4. What are the levels of parental involvement’s relationship with perceived parenting style adopted by adolescents’ parents.


1.5       Justification for the Study

Children are vital in making a positive future. Parents assist to mold their child’s self-confidence, respect, and worth which are the qualities one must possess in order to make an impact on the world. This study’s concentration is on the relationship between the four main parenting styles, authoritative, authoritarian, neglectful and permissive (AANP) and self-esteem during adolescence. Past research in the field of parenting styles and self-esteem generally points to a strong connection between childhood and early adulthood. A study conducted by Yang & Liang in 2008, suggests that nurturing and supportive parenting styles could improve children’s self-esteem. A study conducted in Nigeria by Hosogi, Okada, Fuji, Noguchi & Watanabe (2012), which focused on children, revealed that the environment where children are raised adds intensely to the development of their self-esteem. This implies that everything from school and family dynamics to socioeconomic status and parenting styles affect children seriously. This statement specifies additional research needs to be done on the relationship between parenting styles and self-esteem.

Furthermore, outcomes from diverse research showed that many studies have been conducted but most of the studies are not conceptually and logically grounded in theories to identify some significant factors associated with parenting and self-esteem. Hence, this study aims to provide better understanding of those parental personalities associated with the quality of parenting and the characteristics of the adolescents and how they are interrelated, therefore, this study is designed in such a way that it is driven by Belsky’s model of the determinants of parenting which was developed based on studies of child maltreatment to enable the factors associated with parenting and self-esteem to be identified.

This study helps to identify the perceived parental involvement and parental personalities associated with quality of parenting and the characteristics of the adolescent in influencing their self-esteem, with the result targeted at expanding the area of research on parenting styles and self-esteem, also to add to the prospect that children will be raised, by helping parents to better understand the effects that different parenting styles have on their child’s self-esteem in Abeokuta North Local Government, Ogun State.

Findings from this study is also hoped to add to the body of knowledge available on these problems and it could form the template for intervention strategies in helping reduce this social dissatisfaction and managing parenting styles and self-esteem in a developing world like Nigeria.

1.6       Hypotheses

H1: There is a significant difference in the level of respondents’ self-esteem across their demographic characteristic.

H2: There is a significant association between respondents’ parent’s involvement with  the parenting styles adopted.

H3: There is a significant association between adolescents’ parent’s parenting styles and their self-esteem.

H4: There is a significant association between adolescents’ personality and their self-esteem.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

  1. Self-esteem: it is how one regards or values oneself in terms of accomplishments and relationships.
  2. Depression: it is a period of unhappiness or low morale which lasts longer than several weeks and may include ideation of self-inflicted injury or suicide.
  3. Adolescence: it is a period in human growth and development that occurs after childhood and before adulthood.
  4. Parenting style: is the exemplification of how parents demand and respond to their children.
  5. Authoritative parenting style: it combines unconditional regard, acceptance of the child’s behaviour within certain limits, with relatively firm control.
  6. Authoritarian parenting style: involves the parent using unbending rules to shape the child’s behaviour and imposing their will on the child without any give and take. The parent believes they are always right.
  7. Permissive parenting style: parents show warmth and allow the child a great amount of autonomy while exercising little control over them. They allow their children to shape their own behavior instead of being active in this process.