Article Summary:




The article investigates whether there is a relationship between the parenting style of a parent and the degree of shyness exhibited by the child they parent. To preface the work, shyness is described is described as a temperamental state in which a child exhibits unease when in a social group composed of individuals unfamiliar to them. the main hypothesis made before the study theorize that children parented by parents who showed affectation and exercised behavioral on them would be more pro-social and moreover, the same associations would be more pronounced in children that exhibit shyness. While conducting the study, questionnaire was the data collection method of choice in which parents of 9368 children born in Finland in the province of central find land were supplied with questionnaires regarding their children`s temperament as far as shyness is concerned as well as their parenting styles. To establish the children`s temperament, the questions used the Children Behavior Questionnaire which contains 175 questions which require ratings on the children`s behavior on a scale of 1 to 7 as the answers.

To collect data on the children`s social behavior, the research used the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC) in which a scale of 1 to 4 is used to rate the social behavior of a child on 126 different items. On parenting styles, the research used the Finnish version of Block`s Child Rearing Practices Report (BCRR) parental affection and behavioral control subscales where the participants were required to rate, on a scale of 1 to 5, their level of affection and behavioral control on 14 different items. All the data collected using the above named methods was thereafter analyzed using the latent growth curve modeling which predicts the results of the temperament of the children in relation to the parenting styles of their parents as shown in the data collected across time.

According to the results obtained from this method, it was established that the affection of both mothers and fathers positively affected how the social behavior of their children by enhancing it. Among shy children only, more affection from their mothers was found to improve their pro-social behavior, a phenomenon which could not be linked to non-shy children. Further, the research established that affection from fathers only helped improve the social behaviors of shy children while their behavior control was good when instilling pro-social behavior in non-shy children. According to the explanations given for the above results, parents` affection increases the pro-social behavior of a child because such parents are more likely to present their children with opportunities for interaction and socialization and vice versa. Concerning the results of behavioral control, the results can be explained by the fact that non-shy children do not benefit from such parenting as they find it ineffective while the shy ones benefit from it as it is more protective.


The article is based on research conducted while trying to confirm the hypothesis shyness and conflicts are impediments that hinder children from being useful in a societal setting. According to studies cited in the article, children would naturally help individuals who they deem to be having difficulties accomplishing their tasks, in other words, social helpfulness. The social helpfulness according to the article can be manifested in two forms including physical and social help, both which are performed differently by shy children with the later being the most challenging for them as a result of the fact that it requires a higher level of intervention to succeed in. theories on how children make their decisions on when to be socially helpful have been mixed with some indicating they base their decisions on the cost or benefit of the actions they take while others suggest that the temperament of the person to be helped affects the child decision and that they may refrain from helping if the prospect of a conflict exists. That before the research, two main hypotheses were formulated which were as follows: in the event the individual to be helped is clearly unwilling, then a child will refrain to help if the decision to do so is based on their preference to the individual. Secondly, since shy children dread the consequence of conflict, they will be less likely to help if the individual is unwilling.

To confirm whether the hypotheses were right or not, experiments were conducted where children were exposed to opportunities of helping either physically or socially by setting up experiments which involved having a child help an experimenter to collect a she dropped or helping her gain the attention of another experimenter she pretended not to hear her calling while appealing disinterested. The aims of the experiments were to determine whether a child`s decision to be socially helpful was dependent on the target individual`s interest and whether shyness determines the social helpfulness of a child.

The results from the experiments were consistent with previous studies as well as the hypothesis. 81.3% of the children were observed to provide immediate physical help while only 59.4% of them readily provided social support. When the experimenters showed clear disinterest to be helped, the children refrained from helping them confirming the theory that the preference of the target individual negatively affects a child`s decision to be helpful both physically and socially. Regarding the association between shyness and social helpfulness, there was a direct link between shyness and social helpfulness while none was established between shyness and physical helpfulness confirming the theory that social helpfulness is more demanding to shy children since it requires taking social risk. However, contrary to the researcher’s hypothesis, shyness affected social helpfulness irrespective of whether the target individual was interested or disinterested. According to the article, this can be explained by the idea that a shy child will need absolute proof that their actions will not lead to conflict irrespective of whether the target individual is willing to be helped or not.