Researchers from the University of Sussex found that English children whose mothers displayed more negative parenting traits – such as detachment, intrusiveness, lax enforcement of discipline, and controlling behavior — reported lower self-esteem. But, for Indian children, the father’s behavior had more of an impact.
“Mothers and fathers play different roles in different cultures – these findings highlight the importance of these distinct gender-based power structures on a child’s self-worth,” Dr. Alison Pike, co-author of the study, said in a statement.
For the study, researchers interviewed 125 English and Indian families living in West London.
In Indian culture, as often characterizes more traditional cultures, mothers have inferior positions to fathers, both within and outside the household. Fathers are considered to be the head of the family, in terms of power and their role as disciplinarian. These differences often remain in spite of immigration into Britain.
In contrast, in Western cultures, although still somewhat patriarchal, mothers have more central roles than fathers within the home and are often responsible for routine care and discipline.
“Parenting literature is still dominated by mothering, reflecting Western norms. With 7.5 million foreign-born residents in the UK, we need to spend more time considering parenting practice through a cultural lens,” Pike said,