New research has just revealed that both "hostile" and "consistent" parenting styles can significantly influence your children's mental health. Parenting methods involving physical discipline and overcontrolling, in particular, were found to almost double the risk of children developing mental health symptoms. Those exposed to hostile parenting at age 3 were around one and a half times more likely to have high- or mild-risk mental health symptoms by age 9.
According to Dr. Ioannis Katsantonis, lead author of the study and a doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge in England, "Our findings suggest that hostile parenting should be avoided as much as possible in early childhood if we want to prevent children from developing increased mental health symptoms."
On the other hand, consistent parenting, in which expectations are clearly set and rules consistently followed, was discovered to be mildly protective for kids at lower risk of having mental health symptoms. In this context, Katsantonis emphasizes that "consistency" refers to parents' expectations about children's behavior, as well as the consequences of misbehaving. "Consistent parenting may help because it provides children with a sense of predictability and security," said Katsantonis.
Surprisingly, the researchers did not find any change in the risks of developing mental health symptoms with warm parenting approaches, which means that parenting is not the only factor molding a child's mental health. According to Katsantonis, factors such as family income, the gender of the child, and the health of both the child and the parents could most likely temper the positive benefits of warm parenting.
Picture: A mother and her daughter arguing in the park (ChildUp & DALL-E - 2023)