Are you an authoritative parent? A new study has found that harsh parenting may increase a child’s risk of obesity and poor physical health in adulthood.
According to researchers, attempts by one parent to counterbalance the harsh behaviour are not always effective in lessening that risk.
"Harshness leads to problems with physical health and no matter how hard a spouse tries, they may not be able to erase those effects," said lead study author Thomas Schofield from Iowa State University in the US."Instead of saying, ’I’m the law and my wife is the gospel’ or something like that, better to acknowledge that in terms of harshness, your spouse is not going to be a buffer for the child, so behave responsibly," Schofield added in the paper, published in Social Science and Medicine.
“父母的严苛态度导致孩子健康状况的下降，不管另一方如何努力温和平衡，严苛态度导致的不良影响也不能消除，”美国爱荷华州立大学这项研究的领导者Thomas Schofield说道。“不要总是说‘我扮演严父，我妻子是慈母’这样的话了，你应该更多地了解严苛给孩子造成的不良影响，你的另一半再扮演活菩萨也不能起到缓冲作用，所以要为自己的行为负责，” Schofield在《社会科学与医学》杂志上发文说道。
Researchers videotaped the interactions of 451 two-parent families to assess parenting behaviour and look at changes in the child’s health several years later from adolescence to young adulthood.
However, when they measured the effect on body mass index, the health risk of harsh parenting increased as warmth from the other parent increased.
No parent in this sample was observed hitting their adolescent, but Schofield said there were other signs of physical aggression, such as pinching and pushing.
The results indicated that the differences in physical health and BMI were not evident at the beginning of adolescence. The effects persisted into young adulthood after many had moved out of their parents’ homes. This exposure can have a lasting effect on the developing brain during childhood and early adolescence, he added.
"The best thing we can do is to encourage parents to not be harsh. If we want to make sure we’re protecting children’s health and positive physical health into young adulthood, the best and safest conclusion is to avoid being harsh," Schofield advised.