A new study from the University of Vermont shows that parents who attempt to control their children through guilt and manipulation are more likely to raise kids who are mean.
Ok listen, if you name your study:
Skin Conductance Level Reactivity Moderates the Association Between Parental Psychological Control and Relational Aggression in Emerging Adulthood
…then everyone is going to be mean because no one understands what the hell you’re talking about.
Also: STOP JUDGING US, SCIENTISTS.
But after several attempts at Google-translating the study’s abstract, what I’ve surmised is this:
If you attempt to control your children’s personalities and behaviors through various manipulative means — such as withholding love — then they will direct that stress into their other relationships.
In other words, they’ll be mean to their friends. It’s called relational aggression.
This is a slightly different take on the oft-discussed perils of “helicopter parenting” in that it’s not the quantity of intense supervision that’s an issue. It’s humans controlling other humans through manipulation that rarely works out well.
The take-away? Cutting off essential support – like love and communication — is not a good way to encourage your children to do what you think is best.
It’s a good way to raise mean, aggressive kids.