Parents' Perspectives on Parenting Styles and Discipline

Ann Marie Halpenny, Dublin Institute of Technology
Elizabeth Nixon, Trinity College Dublin
Dorothy Watson, ESRI

Document Type Report

Parents' Perspectives on Parenting Styles and Discipline is available on the website of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs


This report outlines and discusses key findings arising from the first national survey of parenting styles and discipline in Ireland. A large body of research literature in the UK, US and Australia has focused upon the links between parenting styles, parental discipline responses, child behaviour and children’s psychological well-being (Smith, Gollup, Taylor & Marshall, 2005; Gershoff, 2002; Parke, 2002; Eisenberg, Losoya, & Fabes, 2001). Yet, we have little available information about the prevalence of different parental discipline responses in Ireland nor of parental beliefs about and attitudes to the use of physical punishment as a form of discipline with children. The 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 report, key findings are presented on parenting styles and a range of discipline strategies, including physical punishment, adopted by parents in Ireland. . Parental attitudes to physical punishment and to legislation on physical punishment are also presented