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ST-OPEN, Vol. 5 , 2024.

Izvorni znanstveni članak

Differences in mothers’ and fathers’ parenting styles: a qualitative study

Ana Gvozdenović ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Split, Croatia
Gorana Bandalović orcid id ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Split, Croatia

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Aim: To examine parental experiences and investigate differences between mothers’ and fathers’ parenting practices.

Methods: We used a qualitative methodology in this study. We conducted semi-structured interviews with both mothers and fathers from fifteen families between April and May 2021 in the Makarska Riviera region in southern Croatia. All interviews were conducted face-to-face, mostly in cafés and participants’ homes; they lasted 15 minutes on average.

Results: Most fathers were stricter and had more authority over their children, while mothers were more permissive. Although both parents were involved in raising their children, the mothers had a slightly higher level of participation. The parents used their free time to interact with their children. They set boundaries and expected their children to respect them, but also provided affection, warmth, and security. They addressed all parenting dilemmas by mutual agreement. Compared to their own parents, they used a softer approach with their children and preferred the authoritative parenting style.

Conclusions: It appears that parental practices have changed over time – the older, rigid, authoritarian parenting style has been supplanted by authoritative parenting. Nowadays, fathers are becoming increasingly involved in the family sphere and child-rearing, indicating a shift toward modern, equal parenting.

Ključne riječi

authority; children; qualitative study; parenting styles; parenthood

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