This month’s FREE ASWB practice question for the LCSW and LMSW exams covers the topic of parenting styles. Parenting styles refer to the standard strategies, behaviors, attitudes, and emotional climate parents use in their child rearing. There are four main parenting styles we will cover today. The four most common parenting styles are: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved.
Four Parenting styles
Authoritarian parenting can be thought of as strict and controlling. With authoritarian parenting, parents exert control through power. They believe strongly in stated rules and if children don’t behave as expected, they will be punished.
The authoritative parenting style is ideal for kids. This parenting styles sets and enforces rules with consistency and in a healthy way. With authoritative parenting, the parent has authority and control, but also works to communicate, be responsive, and develop independence in their child So, for the test I like to keep in mind that authoritative is good and authoritarian is bad.
With a permissive parenting style, the parent is often warm and accepting, but also lenient and avoidant of confrontation. They make few demands on their children. If you see a question on the exam where a parent is trying to be friends with their child and giving very few rules, this is likely an example of permissive parenting.
Lastly is the uninvolved parenting style. This one is what it sounds like. The parent demands almost nothing, but additionally gives almost nothing in return. Children have near complete freedom. And at its most severe, this can include neglect.
Let’s take a look at how this could show up on the exam.
ASWB Practice Question on Parenting Styles:
A school social worker meets with an 11 year old student who was referred by their teacher for concerns around anxiety and perfectionism. During their initial meeting, the student becomes tearful when discussing an upcoming math test and shares, ‘I just know I’m going to get it from my dad if I don’t get an A.’ What should the social worker do FIRST?
A. Consider that the parents are using an authoritarian parenting style
B. Meet with the parents to discuss the effects of authoritarian parenting
C. Make a CPS report
D. Explore what ‘going to get it’ means
(scroll for answer and rationale)
Parenting Styles Answer and Rationale
You may have been expecting a question that was more explicitly testing the differences between the parenting styles. (Our next social work blog will be an application question on parenting styles to get you that practice as well). But for this question, it’s less about the parenting style itself, and more about the need to gather more information. The correct answer here is D: to explore what ‘going to get it’ means. We do not want to assume this means physical abuse and jump to C. While ‘going to get it’ could mean getting a physical punishment, it could also mean getting yelled at, getting lectured, or having privileges taken away until the grade improves. While any one of these may not be healthy or helpful, most of them do not warrant a CPS report. Of course, if we find out that she will receive physical punishment that constitutes abuse, then we would make a CPS report. While we may meet with the parents at some point (B), this wouldn’t be the FIRST thing we would do. Similarly, while we as the social worker may do (A), the expectation on the exam is that if there is a possibility of abuse, we assess that FIRST and foremost.
ASWB masters (LMSW) and clinical (LCSW) exam preparation
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