Is There a Relationship Between Parenting Styles and Sibling Relationships in Families Raising a Child with a Disability?
Mandleco, Barbara L.
Olsen Roper, Susanne
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Purpose: This quantitative design examined parenting practices and sibling relationships according to parent gender, sibling gender and type of disability and then determined if parenting practices and sibling relationships in families raising a child with a disability (CWD) were linked. Methods: 124 mothers and 108 fathers independently completed the 62-item Parenting Practices Report and the 28-item Schaefer Sibling Inventory of Behavior. Mothers also completed a demographic questionnaire. Results: Parents were more authoritative, than authoritarian or permissive; mothers were more authoritative than fathers. Parents raising a child with an orthopedic condition were more authoritarian than parents raising typically developing children or children with other types of disabilities. Siblings are often empathetic, seldom avoid, and between sometimes and often involved. However, fathers perceived siblings to be kinder than mothers perceived them to be, and mothers believed female siblings were more involved than male siblings. On the other hand, both parents viewed female siblings as more empathetic than male siblings. Siblings of children with multiple disabilities were perceived as the most kind by both parents followed by siblings of children with autism or mental retardation. For both parents, there was a positive relationship between authoritative parenting and kindness, involvement, and empathy, and a negative relationship between authoritarian parenting and kindness, involvement, and empathy. Permissive parenting related positively to avoidance for mothers only. Conclusion: Since there is a difference in parenting practices according to child/parent gender and whether or not the child has a disability, this information should be used in developing appropriate interventions. Specifically, it would be important to help fathers become more authoritative and male siblings to become more empathetic. As kindness was the only sibling subscale significantly influenced by the type of disability, it is critical to integrate this information into working with families of typically developing children and children with autism, and mental retardation.