Relative to parenting, locus of control is a mindset through which parents process their view of control and efficacy and how this view leads to parental choices and application of specific child rearing approaches (Kokkinos, 2007).
An individual could have either an internal or an external locus of control. Parents with an internal locus of control attribute life’s successes and failures to the self and “attribute their children’s behavior to their one efforts, are characterized by a sense of responsibility, and become models of responsible action to their children” (Hagekull, Bohlin, & Hammarberg, 2001).
Contrary to this view, parents operating under the belief of external locus of control view their circumstances as originating through external causes “including chance or fate and may even feel controlled by their offspring” (Kokkinos, 2007).
Bugenthal, Blue, & Cruzcosa (1989) state that parents with an external locus of control “tend to use more authoritarian discipline approaches” and Kokkinos & Panayiotou state that “internal parental locus of control beliefs can predict the use of limit setting practices (2004a) which are attributed to an authoritative style of parenting.