Authority and moral reasons: parenting style and<br /> children’s perceptions of adult rule justifications

P. J Leman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

574 Downloads (Pure)


The style of parenting of 100 children (mean age 11 years, 5 months) was established according to Baumrind's typology. Children were asked to indicate what they thought an adult would say to justify a moral rule in five different scenarios. Results indicated that parenting style did not relate to the number of justifications that children thought adults would produce but did affect the types of justifications they thought adults would give. Children of authoritative parents thought that adults would use more justifications based on reciprocity or equality in social relations than children of authoritarian parents. The results suggest that children of authoritative parents do not perceive adults to offer a more discursive moral atmosphere than children of other parents do; rather these children are more likely than others to think that adults will justify moral rules specifically in terms of equality in social relations. An unexpected finding was that children of permissive parents tended to judge that adults would legitimise judgments by pointing to the consequences of action for other people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-270
JournalInternational Journal of Behaviour Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • authority
  • moral reasoning
  • parenting style
  • rules

Cite this