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Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater: applying the principle of ‘universalism without uniformity' to autonomy-supportive and controlling parenting

  • Soenens, Bart
  • Vansteenkiste, Maarten
  • Van Petegem, Stijn
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2015
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Socialization scholars differ in how they view parenting processes: On one hand, scholars working from the perspective of the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) underscore the universally growth-promoting role of parenting that is perceived to support autonomy and the universal costs associated with parenting that is perceived as controlling. On the other hand, scholars adopting a more relativistic perspective focus on moderating factors (e.g., personality, culture) that may reduce or even cancel out the benefits of parents' support of autonomy and the costs of controlling parenting. In this article, we apply the principle of universalism without uniformity to this literature and review evidence for this principle. Specifically, we maintain that room for individual differences exists within SDT in children's appraisal of potentially autonomy-supportive and controlling parenting practices, and in the way they cope with controlling parenting. This perspective emphasizes children's active contribution in shaping the socialization process.

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