Modern Parenting Blamed For Anti-Social Behaviour In Children

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 27/02/2012 17:20 GMT Updated: 05/11/2012 14:52 GMT

Young children who are not disciplined from an early age are more likely to grow into angry, anti-social teenagers, a national report has revealed.

Research by the National Academy for Parenting Research, commissioned by the Department of Health, discovered poor parenting skills are to blame for the ‘generation of angry children’ after questioning nearly 300 families on their child’s behaviour and their discipline techniques.

Researchers found children were twice as likely to be aggressive or disruptive if they had parents who are critical, inconsistent and set no rules or example of good behaviour.

The ‘How is parenting style related to child anti-social behaviour?’ study discovered that children with strict parents who disciplined their children with a reassuring, clear and non-physical approach, tended to be better behaved and have better vocabulary skills.

Researchers added that child behaviour “remained true even after a range of socioeconomic factors were taken into account,” reports the Telegraph, meaning children from middle-class families are just as likely to go off the rails as a result of bad parenting.

The study is hoping that their findings will reinforce the benefits of parenting lessons across all section of society and demographics, on the best ways to discipline children.

“Since the study has confirmed the link between negative parenting and child antisocial behaviour in England today, the implications are that it is appropriate to offer parents parenting programmes that have been shown to reduce coercive parenting practices, improve positive parenting, and reduce child antisocial behaviour.”

To help tackle the angry children generation, the report suggests parents take on a “positive parenting” approach by consistently praising and rewarding good behaviour from an early age, as well as having an active role in their child’s everyday life.

Miriam Chachamu, author of How To Calm A Challenging Child, told The Huffington Post: "It is important for children to have clear, consistent boundaries, yet it is essential that this takes place within a warm, loving family relationships. Even the most challenging children become better behaved when their parents use positive parenting skills consistently.

"Positive parenting is not always natural and many parents find parenting courses very helpful."

According to the Super Nanny website, led by leading child behaviour expert Jo Frost, many parents confuse discipline with punishment. However, it needn’t be a negative experience.

“See discipline as a way of teaching your child self-control instead of a way to control your child. Once you’ve helped build that sense of self-control, you’ve effectively taught your child the skill of disciplining himself.”

If you want to find out how to discipline your child using the 'positive approach', take a look at the tips below.

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  • How To Be A Positive Parent

    Tips on how to instill good behaviour in your child from an early age by using the 'positive discipline' approach, as advocated by the <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Children</strong></a> (<strong>NSPCC</strong>).

  • Show The Love

    You can never spoil your child by showing them too much love. Boost their self-esteem by making them feel cherished, safe and special.

  • Have Clear Rules

    Have clear simple rules and limits. Your child needs to know what the boundaries are, what is and is not acceptable. Keep it simple to avoid confusion and concentrate on behaviour that really matters.

  • Praise Good Behaviour

    Praise good behaviour that you want to encourage and chances are, your child will repeat this as they know there's a reward at the end of it.

  • Ignore Bad Behaviour

    If you ignore behaviour you don't like, it is less likely to be repeated by your child. Make it clear that you're open to communication when they are behaving, but not when they are being naughty or disruptive.

  • Avoid Direct Criticism

    Rather than telling your child off for being bad, identify what they have done wrong and criticise the behaviour instead. Direct criticism can cause your child to go into their shell and become shy and withdrawn.

  • Show The Signs

    Be as demonstrative as possible. Sweep her off her feet and praise her to when she's been a good girl. She'll remember how happy it makes her feel and make her want to be good again.

  • Step In

    If it looks as though your child's behaviour is starting to deteriorate, step in before things go wrong. Redirect them to another activity to avoid conflict. Acknowledge your child's feelings by saying, 'I know you are cross" but make it clear that it doesn't go beyond that point.

  • Let Go of Control

    Children need to learn about dealing with choices and decision-making. Don't impose your decisions on them all the time, let them have their say on little things and gradually increase this as they get older.

  • Never Be Threatening

    Never use threats or physical behaviour, as this will only make the situation worse. Negotiate solutions when there is a disagreement and remember to communicate to help dissolve the problem. This way, your child will end up understanding what went wrong and why you are upset with them.

  • Set A Good Example

    It's vital for parents to be positive role models for their child and practice what they preach. Actions speak louder than words. Let your child see that rules apply to everyone in the family, not just him or her.