Research shows Children do influence how they are raised

Researchers reviewed 32 separate studies involving 14,600 pairs of twins. In 23% of cases, parenting style was determined by the child’s personality



Children have a huge input into how they are raised, even though their parents think they are the ones in control.

An Israeli study has revealed that in 23 per cent of the cases the ways children are raised is determined by the child’s personality – not a conscious decision made by their parents.

Researchers reviewed 32 separate studies, involving more than 14,600 pairs of twins, to reveal how the same parents can discipline and raise different children in different ways. For example, an antisocial child is more likely to elicit harsh discipline from parents than a more social child.

In another study, boys with less self-control were found to be more likely to experience lower levels of loving behaviour from their mother.

Study author Reut Avinun of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said: ‘There is a lot of pressure on parents these days to produce children that excel in everything, socially and academically. ‘Since children are not born tabula rasa [with a blank slate], I felt it was important to explore their side of the story, to show how they can affect their environment, and specifically parental behaviour.

‘Most studies of parenting look at only the reverse – how parents affect their children’s experiences.’

For boys, but not for girls, a particular genotype predicted mothers’ levels of positive parenting and the boys’ level of self-control. Professor Avinun said: ‘In other words, boys’ genetically influenced level of self-control affected the behaviour of their mothers toward them.’

They discovered that children’s shared environments, such as socioeconomic or cultural exposure, accounted for 43 per cent of differences in parenting styles. While the non-shared environment, for example different schools and friends, accounted for 34 per cent of the differences.

Importantly, the study’s findings support the idea that parenting does not necessarily affect children in the same family similarly, and the child’s influence on the parents grows with age. ‘As children become increasingly [independent], their genetic tendencies are more likely to be able to affect their behaviour, which in turn influences parental behaviour,’ explained Professor Avinun.

‘The research means that parenting should not be viewed solely as a characteristic of the parent, but as something that results from both parental and child attributes.

‘Therefore, any interventions or treatments to help parenting should consider both the parents and children, and could vary even within a family.

‘The discussion of ‘nature vs. nurture’ has transformed into ‘nature and nurture.’ We now understand that most characteristics are determined by the interplay between genetic and environmental influences.

‘Because children are born differently, there never can be a general rule book for raising children.’

The study was published in Personality and Social Psychology Review.

source: tribune

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