When a child is playing up, new research suggests that we should look to the parents for clues as to why.
According to a study of middle and high school students, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, controlling parents are more likely to raise disrespectful and delinquent children than those who gain their child’s respect and trust. This trust and obligation to do what they are told relies on whether the child considers their parent to be a legitimate authority figure which, in turn, is determined by the parenting style they adopt.
Authoritative parents who are demanding and controlling but warm and receptive to their childs’ wishes, as opposed to authoritarian parents who do not listen to these needs, are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviour. Authoritative parenting therefore appears to be the most effective approach as adolescents seem more willing to follow the rules and accept their parents' attempts to socialise them.
Even at an early age, it seems toddlers are more likely to act out and become easily upset if the parent angers easily and over reacts. Researchers at Oregon State University found that children who exhibited greater increases in negative emotionality also had the highest levels of problem behaviour, suggesting that negative emotion has its own development process which affects the child’s behaviour later on in life.
Parents of young children therefore, should set an example to their child by regulating their own reactions and emotions as this will help the child modify their own behaviour and impact on their child’s development.
If you or your child are experiencing problems and you would like to book an initial session with one of our experienced practitioners, please contact your local First Psychology Centre on:
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