A study finds a two-way relationship between children’s hyperactivity and severe parenting

Which came first: severe parenting techniques or conduct problems in children? This may seem like a chicken and egg problem. A new study published in Child Development finds that there is a reciprocal relationship between parenting style and child behaviors, suggesting that changing parenting behavior could greatly help children with social and emotional difficulties.

Having socially emotional behaviors in childhood is associated with increased chances of adverse outcomes later in life, such as mental health problems and delinquent behavior. It is essential to understand the risk factors for developing these socio-emotional problems early, in order to try to prevent them.

Severe parenting is one such risk factor and can include behaviors such as screaming and beating. Patterson’s coercive model views behavioral problems and maladaptive parenting as having a two-way relationship, with each increasing the other. Support for this model has been mixed, and this research seeks to further explore the relationship.

Lead author Lydia Gabriela Speyer and her colleagues took advantage of families from the UK who participated in a longitudinal study following children aged 0 to 17. Data were collected at 9 months, 3, 5, 7, 11, 14 and 17 years. . The current study used all children who participated in all waves up to 7 years of age. Trained interviewers visited homes for data collection and measures included strengths and difficulties and a conflict tactics measure. These scales were responsible for the behaviors and parenting techniques of children.

Results showed support for Patterson’s coercion model. Severe parenting techniques have been associated with hyperactivity at the age of 5 and emotional problems at the age of 7. Behavioral problems in children at the age of 3 have been associated with severe parenting at the age of 5, and hyperactivity and emotional problems at the age of 5 were both associated with severe parenting at age 7. This supports bidirectionality for hyperactivity and severe parenting but does not support bidirectionality for behavioral problems and severe parenting. Withdrawal tactics in parenting have been shown to be beneficial during preschool years but could lead to adverse effects during the 5 to 7 age group.

This research sought to further explore the relationship between parenting and socioemotional problems in children. Despite the advantages of this study and its advantageous nuances, it also has limitations. First, the data collected were almost exclusively mother-reported. Additionally, the measures used to assess disciplinary custody lacked strong reliability, which could distort data.

“Findings not only highlight that parenting practices such as slapping or shouting can have detrimental effects on children’s mental health, but also that children presenting with behavioral problems can put additional strain on maternal parenting behaviors,” the researchers concluded. “Therefore, it is important that interventions aimed at reducing the incidence of socio-emotional problems, and especially the co-occurrence of emotional and behavioral problems, focus on the whole family system and specifically on parental behaviors.”

“In addition, given that severe parenting continues to be used, more attention should be paid to public health campaigns that can inform parents about the potential harmful effects of such parenting practices on children’s social and emotional development and equip them with alternative, more adaptive parenting. tools. “

The study, “The role of severe parenting practices in early to mid-childhood socioeconomic development: an examination in the Millennium Cohort Study“, was written by Lydia Gabriela Speyer, Yuzhan Hang, Hildigunnur Anna Hall, and Aja Louise Murray.

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