Delinquent children – are super-strict parents to blame?

Parents who over-do the discipline are more likely to have kids who act up when they’re not around

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Authoritarian parents are more likely to have disrespectful children, according to a new study. Mums and dads who’s style is more “my way or the highway” than interactive fail to gain their child’s trust and are more likely to see them rebel, according to experts.

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“When children consider their parents to be legitimate authority figure, they trust the parent and feel they have an obligation to do what their parents tell them to do,” explained Rick Trinker, from the University of New Hampshire.

Rick explained that parents who are authoritative can be strict but also warm and receptive to their children’s needs. And this is different to authoritarian parents (note the slight difference) who do not show this receptiveness to their children and are therefore less likely to gain their trust and respect.

The study by Rick’s team in New Hampshire looked at the behavior of students over an 18-month period beginning in 2007, and comparing it with the style of parenting they were exposed to.

If children respect rather than fear their parents, they’re more likely to behave well when mum and dad aren’t around, the study found. But children brought up by authoritarian parents are more likely to rebel as teenagers.

“The style that parents used to rear their children had a direct influence on whether those children saw their parents as legitimate authority figures,” explained Rick. “Authoritative parenting may be more effective because it makes adolescents more willing to accept their parents’ attempts to socialise them and subsequently follow their rules.”

So you can be strict, but make sure you listen too!

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