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Strict upbringing produces school failures

fear of violence
fear of violence | ©: Markus Bormann - Fotolia

A study by the University of Pittsburgh, the "Maryland Adolescent Development in Context" pointed out, that a very strict upbringing often leads to poor academic performance and even school failure is not unknown. The reason, therefore, is, that kids, brought up with a heavy hand seek their directions less in their parents but look up to their peers. Those young, interviewed people admitted, that they spent more times with their friends instead of completing their homework or studying. They are also much more likely to break the rules, just to stay in the good books of their friends. Indicators of a “heavy hand” in this study are considered hitting the child, shouting and threatening with physical and verbal punishment.

How this study was conducted

Rochelle Hentges and a group of researchers from the University Pittsburgh collected and evaluated the data of more than 1000 participants. The aim was to investigate the influence of social conditions on the psychological and academic development in adolescents aged twelve to 21 years. Among other things, they uncovered which kind of physical and verbal abuse those children were exposed to. Other research points were issues such as sexuality, criminal behaviour and interactions with peers. And finally, they asked about their highest, academic achievement.

The researchers found that children with a harsh and strict upbringing during the secondary school considered the rules of their parents less important than those of their friends and peers. This in turn, lead to a risk-taking behaviour in year 11. Girls, according to this study, were sexually active earlier, while boys are more prone to criminal behaviour than those young people in the control group which had a more moderate upbringing. It could be seen, that the entire educational success was affected by those young people with a harsh upbringing. The dropout rate was much higher.

Violence follows violence

A violent parenting style triggers a "complex cascading process”. This upbringing promotes a present-oriented behaviour, while future-oriented educational goals are taking a backseat. "Young people whose needs are not met by their primary caregivers seek confirmation of their peers," said Hentges. This could take a very unhealthy turn, with increased aggression, criminal behaviour, and early sexual behaviour. Long-term goals such as higher education are neglected.

For Holger Ziegler of the University of Bielefeld, these correlations are not surprising. This study clearly confirms, "that abuse and corporal punishment is not beneficial to the development of young people." This educationalist finished already a study in 2013, which showed, that almost one-quarter of all young people are physically abused by adults at least once but more likely on a regular base.

(Source: DPA message in February 2017)

Yelling – Threatening – Hitting: The Powerlessness of Parents

Parents care about a good education for their children. The prerequisite, however, is to do well at school. If then things do not go “by plan”, many parents get desperate and resort to a “heavy hand.” In many cases, it is the parents own powerlessness which eventually leads to abuse. Without knowing, that, in the long-term, they only achieve the opposite of what they actually wanted. The child loses his parental orientation and seeks confirmation and comfort in his friends and “fellow sufferers.”

Truly, this study should give parents food for thought. A calmer approach towards their children, more dialogue instead of abuse, maybe even get some counselling and relevant information will go a long way. Abuse was never a good “argument” against conflict. Once the bond and confidence in the parents are lost, it is not just incredibly hard to restore; kids will just go off and find guidance elsewhere.

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