The conventional wisdom about parenting has typically been that more lenient parents are likely to have kids who behave badly, while those who are stricter are most likely keeping their children in check. Turns out, the opposite may be true, according to new research from the European Institute of Studies on Prevention. The study, conducted in six European countries and aimed at finding out what parenting style works best to prevent drug use, founds that kids, aged 11 to 19, with strict parents were more likely to use drugs like marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol.
The researchers' conclusion? Surprise, surprise! Striking a happy balance between being a dictator and trying to be a kid's BFF.
"Extremes are not effective -- neither authoritarianism nor absence of control and affection," Amador Calafat, the main author of the study, told the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Sounds about right! Furthermore, the researchers note that the best disciplinary action depends on the situation. And when it comes to steering kids in the right direction with drugs, having a good relationship with kids is most important.
Obviously, parents who make a point of being strict 24/7 no matter what challenge their child is facing aren't going to have the most open lines of communication with their kids. Kids aren't going to be comfortable asking questions or being honest with folks who adhere to a rigid parenting style.
It's proof positive that strict parents are shooting themselves in the foot by being so unrelenting. In the end, looks like too much of anything, particularly rule-mongering, is sure to backfire.
Does this change how you feel about disciplining your kids?