Published on September 5, 2013 at 1:17 AM
The researchers report that parents who wish to modify the behavior of their teenage children would be better advised to communicate with them on an equal level, explaining their worries and rationale to them. Parenting programs, say the authors of the study, are well positioned to offer parents insight into the ineffectiveness of harsh verbal discipline, and to offer alternatives.
The researchers conducted the study in 10 public middle schools in eastern Pennsylvania over a two-year period, working with 967 adolescents and their parents. Students and their parents completed surveys over a period of two years on topics related to their mental health, child-rearing practices, the quality of the parent-child relationship, and general demographics.
Significantly, most of the students were from middle-class families. "There was nothing extreme or broken about these homes," Wang stressed. "These were not 'high-risk' families. We can assume there are a lot of families like this-there's an okay relationship between parents and kids, and the parents care about their kids and don't want them to engage in problem behaviors."
Males comprised 51 percent of the study subjects, while 54 percent were European American, 40 percent African American, and 6 percent from other ethnic backgrounds.
The paper, "Longitudinal Links Between Fathers' and Mothers' Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents' Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms," which appeared online in the journal Child Development on Sept. 4, is scheduled to appear in the March/April 2014 print issue of the journal. The research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health.
Source: University of Pittsburgh