National Academy For Parenting Research Says Parents To Blame For Kids' Bad Behaviour

27/02/2012 12:59 | Updated 22 May 2015

A Government-funded study has found that mums and dads who fail to properly discipline their children are producing a generation of angry youngsters who lash out and are aggressive and disruptive at school.

The research, led by Professor Stephen Scott, director of the National Academy for Parenting Research, found that pupils are twice as likely to be aggressive and badly behaved if their parents are violent, critical or inconsistent in their discipline at home.

Children who were raised with warmth and clear and consistent rules and boundaries, however, were found to be better behaved.

Education journalist and former teacher Janet Murray told Parentdish the findings were 'not at all surprising': "Children who don't have clear boundaries and routines at home can find it incredibly difficult to fit in with the rigid structure of school life, " she said, "And children who are constantly criticised at home often lack confidence and self-esteem in the classroom."

The survey looked at around 300 families with youngsters aged four to seven, and examined the kids' behaviour and the adults parenting techniques.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Stephen Scott said "A negative parenting style, characterised by harsh, inconsistent discipline, was clearly associated with more severe child anti-social behaviour."

He said mums and dads who used 'negative discipline' had 'twice the rate of children with severe behaviour problems compared to the other parents.'

Poor supervision of children's activities, and mums who had depression were also linked to a decline in behaviour, but the researchers said they could not also rule out the argument that 'irritating' youngsters could be to blame for 'evoking harsher parenting'.

The report stated: 'A whole range of studies has shown the causal effect is there too, and that harsh parenting trains children to become anti-social.'

The researchers said the study reinforced the benefits of parenting lessons to teach mums and dads from all walks of life how to discipline their kids.

The Government is already rolling out a trial of parenting classes for 50,000 families in Middlesbrough, Derbyshire and Camden which will begin this summer. The £5million experiment will aim to educate parents in discipline, communication and conflict management skills. The scheme could be extended across the country if successful.

What do you think? A blindingly obvious conclusion, or food for thought?

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