It’s not a very well kept secret that no two parenting styles are the same. That’s why there’s so much debate (and about a thousand names) for the types of parenting you choose to practice. And of course, when it comes to parenting in general, everyone seems to have an opinion.
That includes science.
Yup, that’s right. Science is getting in on the parenting debate, and the results are in. Or at least one study on the topic is in, and it clearly states: being harsh with your kids may not be the best way to go.
Why is that, you ask? Well according to researchers, having even one harsh parent can make your kids struggle with a lifetime of weight issues since, as they age, they tend to have a higher likelihood of struggling with their BMIs.
The thinking is that harsh parenting–which the study defined as parents “who reject and coerce or who are physically aggressive and self-centred,” –creates an environment of chronic stress. Chronic stress is widely understood to play a role in all kinds of physical and mental health risks aside from a higher BMI, including digestive problems, heart disease, depression and anxiety.
The study, which was led by an assistant professor at Iowa State University, looked at 451 two-parent families with kids ranging from 12-20 and followed them through video observation. None of the cases included a parent who physically hit their children, although pinching and pushing in some cases was observed.
The bottom line? There’s no right answer when it comes to how to parent your children, since every kid and every situation is different. But when it comes to your own composure, it may be worth evaluating whether you’re creating stress in your child’s life, or simply helping them to become a better human being.