Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Harms of harsh discipline are softened by a loving mother

Date:
April 17, 2013
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
The use of harsh discipline of unwanted behavior in children has long been controversial. Whether verbal (insults, disparaging remarks, threats) or physical (slapping/spanking), harsh discipline at all stages of childhood carries a large risk of manifesting antisocial ‘externalizing behaviors’ in the child, including aggression, delinquency or hyperactivity.

Mother comforting her child. The use of harsh discipline of unwanted behaviour in children has long been controversial. A new study suggests that the painful effects of harsh discipline can be moderated by the child's feelings of being loved by their mother.
Credit: © Daria Filiminova / Fotolia

The use of harsh discipline of unwanted behaviour in children has long been controversial. Whether verbal (insults, disparaging remarks, threats) or physical (slapping/spanking), harsh discipline at all stages of childhood carries a large risk of manifesting antisocial 'externalising behaviours' in the child, including aggression, delinquency or hyperactivity.

But a new study published in the journal Parenting: Science and Practice suggests that these painful effects of harsh discipline can be moderated by the child's feelings of being loved by their mother.

The study, conducted among a group of Mexican-American adolescents by Dr Miguelina Germαn of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, found that having a loving mother (or 'perception of maternal warmth') protected the youngster from externalizing problems to the extent that, at high levels of maternal warmth, harsh discipline was found to have no correlation with antisocial behaviour.

Where the child's perception of maternal warmth was lower, it still resulted in a positive relationship between harsh disciplinary practices and later externalising problems.

This would suggest that, as long as the child knows they're loved, and feels that it is coming from a good place, their experiences of being strictly disciplined is unlikely to result in antisocial behaviour further down the line.

Some evidence suggests that Latino cultural norms -- such as respeto (respect) and bien educacion (social responsibility) -- support the use of harsh and restrictive discipline against children. Attachment theory holds that warm, responsive parenting is the critical factor in producing happy, secure children -- the underlying belief that their parents love them protects them from feeling rejected, even when being harshly disciplined.

One important implication of the research is perhaps the following: the use of harsh parental discipline does not automatically result in antisocial behaviour in the child. The relationship between the two is conditional and subject to other factors. Where harsh disciplinary practices are a cultural norm, there are always other influences at play that can lessen their potential harm on the young child.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Miguelina Germαn, Nancy A. Gonzales, Darya Bonds McClain, Larry Dumka, Roger Millsap. Maternal Warmth Moderates the Link between Harsh Discipline and Later Externalizing Behaviors for Mexican American Adolescents. Parenting, 2013; 13 (3): 169 DOI: 10.1080/15295192.2013.756353

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "Harms of harsh discipline are softened by a loving mother." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130417114007.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2013, April 17). Harms of harsh discipline are softened by a loving mother. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130417114007.htm
Taylor & Francis. "Harms of harsh discipline are softened by a loving mother." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130417114007.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins