OBJECTIVE:

To examine whether parenting styles or practices were associated with children's television (TV) viewing.

METHODS:

A total of 431 parent-child dyads (10- to 11-year-old children) from Bristol, United Kingdom, were included. Child and parent TV viewing were self-reported and categorized as <2, 2 to 4, or >4 hours/day. Children reported maternal parenting style (authoritarian, authoritative, or permissive). Child-reported maternal and paternal sedentary restriction scores were combined to create a family-level restriction score. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine whether child TV viewing was predicted by parenting style or family restriction.

RESULTS:

A greater proportion of children with permissive mothers watched >4 hours of TV per day, compared with children with authoritarian or authoritative mothers (P = .033). A greater proportion of children for whom both parents demonstrated high restriction watched <2 hours of TV per day (P < .001). The risk of watching 2 to 4 hours (vs <2 hours) of TV per day was 2.2 times higher for children from low-restriction families (P = .010). The risk of watching >4 hours (vs <2 hours) of TV per day was 3.3 times higher for children from low-restriction families (P = .013). The risk of watching >4 hours of TV per day was 5.2 times higher for children with permissive (versus authoritative) mothers (P = .010).

CONCLUSIONS:

Clinicians need to talk directly with parents about the need to place limitations on children's screen time and to encourage both parents to reinforce restriction messages.

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