The Grandparents' Influence: Parenting Styles and Social Competence among Children of Joint Families

Perveen Akhtar, Jamil A. Malik, Sander Begeer

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The study examined the moderating effect of emotional closeness to grandparents on the relationship between parenting styles of parents and social competence of children. A total of 297 individuals (99 mothers, 99 fathers and 99 adolescents) living in joint family system including three generations (grandparents, parents, and grandchildren), with at least one child aged 13–18 years, participated in the study. Stepwise hierarchical regression analyses showed that child-reported parenting predicted children’s social competence even after controlling for demographic and parent-reported parenting and explained 7–18 % of the variance in social skills of children. Emotional closeness to grandparents moderated the relationship between mother authoritativeness and overconfidence of children (β = −.30, p <.05; ΔR2 =.09), suggesting a positive relationship between mother authoritativeness and overconfidence of children when children are low on emotional closeness to grandparents and a negative relationship when children are high on emotional closeness to grandparents. Emotional closeness to grandparents also moderated the effect of father authoritativeness on inappropriate assertiveness (β = −.37, p <.05; ΔR² =.13) and withdrawal (β = −.36, p <.05; ΔR² =.08) of children, suggesting that an increase in father authoritativeness is associated with a decrease in undesired traits, i.e., inappropriate assertiveness and withdrawal, under higher levels of emotional closeness to grandparents. It is concluded that in the course of psychosocial development, the emotional closeness of children to grandparents serves as safeguard against negative family conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-611
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Emotional closeness
  • Intergeneration
  • Joint family
  • Parenting
  • Social competence

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