The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between children's perception of dissimilarity in parenting styles, and internalizing and externalizing problems in children. Children from the general population (n = 658) reported on the level of emotional warmth, rejection, and overprotection of both parents by filling out the child version of the Egna Minnen Beträffande Uppfostran (EMBU-C) and mothers completed the child behavior checklist (CBCL). Intraclass correlations were computed as measures of dissimilarity between parenting styles of mothers and fathers. Children's perceived dissimilarity in parental emotional warmth is associated with internalizing and externalizing problems (β = 0.092, p<0.05; beta; = 0.091, p<0.05). Perceived dissimilarity between parents' overprotection is associated with externalizing problems (β = 0.097, p<0.05). Perceived dissimilarity between parenting styles is associated with externalizing and internalizing problems, over and above the effects of the level of the parenting styles. The results highlight the negative consequences of perceived dissimilarity between parents. To conclude, children have more internalizing and externalizing problems when they perceive their parents as more dissimilar in parenting styles.

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European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Pediatric Psychiatry

Berkien, M, Louwerse, I, Verhulst, F.C, & van der Ende, J. (2012). Children's perceptions of dissimilarity in parenting styles are associated with internalizing and externalizing behavior. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 21(2), 79–85. doi:10.1007/s00787-011-0234-9