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Children’s Perspectives on Parenting Styles & Discipline

Research Staff

Dr. Elizabeth Nixon, Dr. Ann Marie Halpenny (DIT), Irene Loughran

About the Project


The aim of this research was to explore children and young people’s perspectives on parenting styles and discipline, and specifically on physical punishment. The study also sought to examine how children’s understanding and perspectives changes as they become older.

What did the research involve?

A qualitative approach using focus groups was adopted for the study. Topics discussed in the focus groups included children’s views on: parenting and child roles in the family, parental control and monitoring, and parenting strategies of discipline and use of physical punishment.  Thirty focus groups were conducted with 132 children from two class groups in primary schools (1st and 4th class) and two class groups in secondary schools (1st year and transition year).  The gender composition of the sample was almost equal, with 67 boys and 65 girls. The perspectives of children in four age groups ranging from early childhood to late-adolescence were explored in order to identify developmental patterns in children’s views on parenting styles and discipline.

Final products of the research

The report has been completed and is with the OMCYA.

Funded By

Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA)

Last updated 15 March 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).