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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

This summary report is available on the website of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs


This report summarises key findings from two studies on parenting styles and discipline in Ireland. The first of these studies provides a focus on parents’ perspectives while the second study draws on children’s perspectives on parenting practices. Parents Perspectives on Parenting Styles and Discipline A large body of research literature in the UK, USA and Australia has focused on the links between parenting styles, parental discipline responses, child behaviourand children’s psychological well-being (Smith et al, 2005; Gershoff, 2002; Parke, 2002; Eisenberg et al, 2001). Yet, there is little available information in Ireland about the prevalence of differentparental discipline responses or of parental beliefs about and attitudes to the use of physical punishment as a form of discipline with children. The present study adopted a telephone survey methodology involving interviews with 1,353 women and men with at least one child under 18 years of age, living in private households. In this Summary Report, key findings are presented on parenting styles and a range of discipline strategies, including physical punishment, adopted by parents in Ireland. Parents’ attitudes to physical punishment and to legislation on physical punishment are also presented. Children’s Perspectives on Parenting Styles and Discipline This report provides a summary of key findings arising from the study of children and young people’s perspectives on parenting styles and discipline. The study was carried out against the backdrop of changing trends in Irish society, most notably, changes in family routines and relationships. To date, little is known in the Irish context about children’s views of different parenting styles and, in particular, about the views of children in respect of physical punishment by their parents. In line with the ethos of the National Children’s Strategy, the research involved consulting directly with children. A series of focus groups was carried out with 132 children and young people, aged between 6 and 17 years. The focus groups explored children’s views on parenting roles, with a particular focus on the strategies that parents use to discipline their children. In this Summary Report, key findings are presented on children’s descriptions of parenting roles, their understanding of parental rules and regulations, their perspectives on discipline strategies adopted by parents and their views on parental use of physical punishment.




Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs