Children raised in homes dominated by punitive parenting styles are more
likely to bully, get into fist fights and be mean to others, says a
six-year study of 2,000 Canadian children.
National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, released Monday by
Statistics Canada, found aggressive scores were not affected by household
income or whether the child was a boy or a girl. It also found the
likelihood of a child being raised by punitive parents was identical for
both low-income and higher-income households.
began following children as two- and three-year-olds in 1994. At the time,
toddlers living in punitive households scored 39 per cent higher on a scale
of aggressive behaviours.
gauged aggression by asking parents how often their child got into fights,
or how often they bullied or were mean to others.
researchers revisited the children six years later, they found the kids,
now aged eight and nine, scored 83 per cent higher on aggressive behaviours if parenting styles remained as punitive as
when they were toddlers.
discovered that children whose parents grew less authoritarian with time
scored just as low as those who had never lived in a punitive home.
parenting was measured by asking parents how often they used physical
punishment, yelled or shouted at the child, versus how often they calmly
discussed the problem or described a better way to react.
behaviour in young children is of considerable
interest because of its implications for future behaviour
and adjustment, according to the study.
doesn't say punitive parenting will lead invariably to increased aggression
in children. However, it does reinforce earlier research that has shown
such parenting styles can result in increased aggression.
have found links between childhood aggression and poor outcomes later in
life. These outcomes include poor school results, delinquency, crime in adolescence and chronic unemployment.