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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Children whose parents punish them with spanking or another physical means of discipline are more likely to suffer from emotional problems including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorders, a new Canadian study has found. From CNN.com:
Researchers from Canada found that physical punishment (such as slapping, hitting, pushing and shoving) — even without child neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse — was linked to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and personality disorders.
While it may be true that many of today’s parents were spanked as children and are now well-adjusted, previous studies have also shown that those who were spanked are at a higher risk to be depressed; use alcohol; hit their spouse or own children; and engage in violent or criminal behaviors.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society discourage spanking and other forms of physical punishment. It is unlawful in 32 countries — not including the United States or Canada — for parents and other caregivers to use physical punishment against children.
The new study’s lead author, Tracie Afifi, said she believes that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age and that positive parenting strategies should instead be encouraged.
Preferred methods of discipline do not include physical punishment. For example, withholding privileges, using time-outs and offering consequences (for example, “If you throw your toy and it breaks, you won’t be able to play with it anymore”).
Image: Child being slapped, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, February 13th, 2012
Researchers say that when parents are highly controlling and expect kids to follow their rules without question, children are more likely to be disrespectful and delinquent.
One of the main findings of this study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Adolescence, is that kids who trust their parents and see them as legitimate authority figures are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Researchers also found that a child’s perception of her parents’ authority depends on the parenting style Mom and Dad use.
The study outlined three main parenting styles:
Authoritative parents are demanding and controlling, but also receptive to their children’s needs. These parents aim to establish two-way communication with their kids to explain why they’ve established rules and to hear their children’s opinions about those rules.
Authoritarian parents are demanding and highly controlling. They don’t explain their reasons for setting rules, and are not open to hearing their kid’s opinions about the rules. These parents have a “my way or the highway” approach, and expect rules to be followed without question.
Permissive parents are not demanding or controlling. These parents are attentive to their children’s needs, but set few boundaries, and any rules they make are rarely enforced.
The researchers analyzed survey responses from about 600 middle- and high-school students and found that an authoritarian parenting style led kids to lack respect for their parents’ authority. These kids were more likely than others in the study to engage in delinquent behaviors such as theft or underage drinking. The authoritative style was the most successful; kids were more likely to listen to their parents, and were less likely to be delinquent. Interestingly, the children of permissive parents had less respect for their parents, but were not more or less likely to be delinquent.
Readers, do these findings surprise you? How would you describe your parenting style?
Image: Daughter and mom via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
A major new report from The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia is shedding new light on often-asked questions about modern family life–how having children affects happiness levels. The report, “When Baby Makes Three,” is the 2011 edition of the “State of Our Unions” series, an annual examination of marital mores in America. The report considered data from three nationally representative surveys, including a new survey of 1,400 heterosexual married couples ages 18-46.
The main findings of the report, according to its executive summary, are threefold:
- Married parents are more likely than their childless peers to feel their lives have a sense of meaning and purpose.
- Parents who are married generally experience more happiness and less depression than parents who are unmarried.
- Parenthood is typically associated with lower levels of marital happiness.
Additionally, the report finds 10 factors that predict which marriages will succeed in combining parental and marital happiness. Those factors include shared housework, good sex, marital generosity, date nights, and having a college degree, as well as what the report calls “institutional” marital values like shared religious faith, commitment, the support of friends and family, a sound economic foundation provided by a good job, and quality family time.
Taken together, these 10 factors suggest “a hybrid model of married life appears to be the best path to successfully combine marriage and parenthood for today’s parents,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, the report’s lead author, in a statement.
Image: Happy pregnant couple, via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Last week an Illinois appeals court dismissed a case brought by two children against their mom for “bad mothering,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
Steven Miner II, 23, and his sister Kathryn, 20, of Barrington Hills, Illinois, filed the suit against Kimberly Garrity two years ago, asking for more than $50,000 for “emotional distress.”
What qualified as “bad mothering?” From the Tribune:
The alleged offenses include failing to take her daughter to a car show, telling her then-7-year-old son to buckle his seat belt or she would contact police, “haggling” over the amount to spend on party dresses and calling her daughter at midnight to ask that she return home from celebrating homecoming.
The story continues:
Among the exhibits filed in the case is a birthday card Garrity sent her son, who in his lawsuit sought damages because the card was “inappropriate” and failed to include cash or a check. He also alleged she failed to send a card for years or, while he was in college, care packages.
The siblings were represented by three attorneys including their father, Steven A. Miner. According to the Tribune, Garrity divorced Miner in 1995 after ten years of marriage.
The father asserted that this case was “no different from a patient suing a physician ‘for bad doctoring.’” In court papers, he wrote, “Everyone makes mistakes, but … there must be accountability for actions. Parenting is no different.”
The mother’s attorney said the children’s suit was “orchestrated by their father.” From the Tribune:
In court papers, Garrity’s attorney Shelley Smith said the “litany of childish complaints and ingratitude” in the lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt by Garrity’s ex-husband to “seek the ultimate revenge” of having her children accuse her of “being an inadequate mother.”
In dismissing the case, the court said mother’s conduct was not “extreme or outrageous.” A victory for the kids, it said, “could potentially open the floodgates to subject family child rearing to … excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.”
(image via: http://www.econ.ucsb.edu)
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Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
The brown paper bag and plastic sandwich bag are becoming endangered species in some school cafeterias.
In an effort to protect the planet and cut spending on garbage-hauling, certain schools are asking parents to send lunches that include only reusable materials, such as Tupperware, cloth lunch bags, and aluminum water bottles, The New York Times reports.
Opinions about the new rules are mixed, the story said:
The trend makes the schools happy (much less garbage). It makes the stores happy (higher back-to-school spending). It even makes the students happy (green feels good).
Who’s not happy? The parents (what to do when the Tupperware runs out?).
The story quotes Julie Corbett of Oakland, Calif., a mom whose daughters attend a school with an eco-friendly lunch policy. Faced with peer pressure to be green, her girls want to adhere to the rules. But Corbett isn’t as enthusiastic:
[She says] plasticware can be a pain to clean, and is not cheap. When she thinks it is likely that her daughters will lose the containers — if, for instance, they’re going on a field trip — she uses waxed-paper sleeves, like the kind bakeries use for cookies, to hold sandwiches instead.
“It’s still a no-no because you’re still having to throw that away, but it is biodegradable, it does compost, so you’re not as guilty,” she said.
What do you think? Is it fair for schools to ask parents to send environmentally friendly lunches?
(image via: http://www.atlantaintownpaper.com)
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