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March 23, 2008


This Time I'm Anonymous

Did Martin look at the role a pastor's spouse plays in this?

I'm the child of a PK who says that his father did all the right things - and his idea of the right things about the same as Martin's - but his mother held her children to the higher behavioral standard, explaining that they would damage their father's ministry if they were bad. Now some of them are no longer attending church.


I don't know. I will ask him. I have not seen the entire dissertation, just small pieces so far.

My hunch is that the data assumes the parents are together on key attitudes, etc. If the spouse undermines the pastor in the way you've described that is certainly going to have negative consequences, but it is sometimes difficult to tease out something this specific. The majority of parents try to deal with their children in a united way.


Probably because they don't even appreciate a good celebration!



I would say from looking at the questions on his survey that he did not ask direct questions that had to with the spouse, but a couple that were indirect.


I'm the one who did the study. Thanks for your interest!
The difference between Dad and Mom in the parsonage is an intriguing and vital study of its own. I didn't have opportunity to pursue it, although my data would facilitate at least a preliminary study comparing the parents. What I had originally hoped to do was to ask the PKs themselves the same questions I asked their parents and then triangulate their answers with those of Dad and Mom. I just couldn't persuade enough PK parents to share the contact information for their kids (which is understandable, given privacy issues and other concerns). Actually, that study would be so big I wouldn't have been able to complete it within the time frame I was working with.
My prediction, based on what data I do have, is that Monte is correct that dysfunctional differences between parents in the parsonage do have a negative and potentially devastating effect on kids.


I'm a pastor, with 2 kids (former UK, currently Bermuda). Thanks Martin for your study, and Monte, for blogging it.
I was just wondering, since this was done in the Mid-West of the US, are the conclusions of the study relevant beyond the Midwest, or the US for that matter?


Stefan, there is no easy answer to your question. If one applies the strictest rules of the social sciences, then the study applies only to the Midwest USA. But, this type of study has become widely accepted by scholars as suggesting findings that can be used in all cultures unless one can point out specific reasons why there would be reason to expect different results in a different culture. So, unless you can think of sociologically valid reasons why Martin's findings would not apply or apply differently in Bermuda, you can safely use this information there.

Ileana Freeman-Gutierrez

I am very pleased to know about Pastor Weber's research results. About a year ago, I completed my doctoral dissertation on parenting styles and adolescent outcomes. Although my study was not limited to pastors' children, the majority of the participants were parents and adolescents who were members of Spanish churches in either the Florida Conference or the Southeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. I was able to separate the effects between fathers' parenting styles and mothers' parenting styles. A number of the participants were also Adventist pastors, their spouses, and their adolescent children. My results and the results of Pastor Weber's research definitely support each other.


Ileana, can you share with us the full title, year and institution for your dissertation so that those of who want to can get a copy from University Microfilms?


The title is Parenting styles, parents' level of acculturation, and developmental outcomes among Cuban American adolescents in the United States, Ball State University, 2006.

It is very interesting for me to notice that a number of factors found by Pastor Weber as significant in keeping clergy's children in the faith are also characteristics of what the professional literature calls the authoritative parenting style. In my study I found that parents who raised their children using the authoritative parenting style were the ones whose children demonstrated the best desired competences and behaviors when they were in late adolescence. In other words, I found that parents who used a parenting style which included Pastor Weber’s factors (among others) reported having teenagers who made choices and behaved in ways that were very pleasing and satisfying for these parents. I think this is significant because we know that it is during the adolescence period when most children decide to adopt or reject their parents’ values.

With only few exceptions, the majority of the participants were members of Hispanic Adventist churches in South Florida. The pastors of the congregations who happened to have adolescent children were very supportive and participated with their families as well. Although the study focused on Cuban American families, I also collected data from Adventist families from other Latin American countries. I just didn’t report the results from these non-Cuban families because it was not part of the study design.

Going back to Stefan’s question, I think we can at least say that the positive results seen in families who use the authoritative parenting style transcend the Midwest and can be found in the population of Cuban Americans in South Florida. I have come across other studies that support these same conclusions not only in the Midwest, but among other U.S. minority populations who are located outside the South Florida and the Midwest regions.

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