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Punitive parenting tied to aggressive child behaviour, Statscan report.

OTTAWA -- What happens to children growing up in homes where punitive parenting techniques are used? They are more likely than others to exhibit aggressive behaviour, according to a report from Statistics Canada. However, children raised with a punitive parenting style at very young ages are not more aggressive than other children when they're older, if the parenting style changes and becomes less punitive over time.

The study also found no differences related to income levels.

The research paper, Aggressive Behaviour Outcomes for Young Children." Change in Parenting Environment Predicts Change in Behaviour reports that children aged two to three years who were living in punitive environments in 1994 scored 39% higher on a scale of aggressive behaviours, such as bullying or being mean to others, than did those in less punitive environments. The study covers a period from 1994 to 2000.

Data for the study came from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, a longterm study of Canadian children that collects information on a wide range of factors influencing the social, emotional and behavioural development of children from birth to early adulthood. The longitudinal study is jointly conducted by Statistics Canada and Social Development Canada.

Parents reported on physical punishment, or yelling and shouting at the child and on how often they calmly discussed the problem or described more acceptable behaviour to the child. Responses were tallied to create a punitive parenting practices score for the child's home. For the purposes of this study, a parenting style was considered to be punitive if the score was at or above the score nearest to the 90th percentile.

"It is important to emphasize that this study does not prove that punitive parenting causes aggressive behaviour in children. However, it does reinforce earlier research and theory which have proposed that punitive parenting styles may lead to increased aggressive behaviour in children," the study cautions.
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Title Annotation:Child, Family & Youth
Publication:Community Action
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Nov 22, 2004
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