The main thing in raising a child is love
Parents around the world argue about how to raise their children and what methods to use. But is it really important? Are some parenting methods better than others? A group of researchers from Harvard University (USA) asked these questions.
One of the initiators of the experiment, Professor Ying Chen, said: “I am a foreigner living in the United States for ten years. And from time to time I am very surprised when I see how the traditions of upbringing in the USA differ from the culture in which I was brought up. I became interested in the question: is there any universal element in the upbringing of children on which the success of the whole process depends. ”
In an earlier study, scientists from Harvard University concluded that people who warmly remember their childhood and believe that their parents raised them with love and acceptance, achieve greater prosperity in life.
This discovery in itself was of great importance. However, the data used in this study was limited. Adults surveyed during the study were brought up at a time when strict education was adopted in the culture. Therefore, it was not clear: is the above regularity connected only with strict upbringing or with something else? Can children become successful in life if they are brought up more democratically?
A new study answered these questions. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.
This study involved people who were brought up at a time when democratic education was popular. The study took place in two stages: in 1996, participants aged 9-17 were surveyed, and in 2004, participants aged 10-17. Then, scientists compared the results obtained from the two groups. In general, the study was conducted from 1997 to 2013.
Previous studies have looked at how parenting styles relate to specific problems, such as drug use. Researchers at Harvard University have suggested that for more objective results, positive parenting and its impact on future well-being should be considered. For this purpose, scientists have identified three aspects of positive parenting: are children satisfied with their relationships with their parents, do parents establish family traditions and what style of parenting do they use.
As expected, scientists have found that all three aspects have a positive effect on success in adulthood. However, when scientists examined different parenting styles, they discovered something surprising.
With any style of upbringing, the love of parents and the warm atmosphere in the family give positive results and favorably affect prosperity in adulthood.
The most important discovery in the study was that people who were satisfied with their relationship with their parents (in other words, if they felt loved), were more successful in adulthood. This was not an unexpected result for scientists and was consistent with the results they obtained earlier.
During the experiment, scientists used a questionnaire in which respondents rated statements like: “Mom and Dad show enough love and affection for me.” The questions were aimed at finding out how children are satisfied with their parents’ attitude to them, communication with them, emotional connection with them and ways to resolve conflicts.
In the analysis of the responses, a group of respondents (33%) was identified that was most satisfied with their relationship with their parents. These respondents had greater emotional well-being, had a lower risk of depression, anxiety disorders, overweight, eating disorders and drug use. This pattern was observed in all age groups of the studied.
One of the organizers of the study, Professor Tyler Vanderville, said: “The results of the study show that parental love plays a major role in raising children. The questions presented in the questionnaire relate to the love of parents in relation to their children. This love greatly affects the future of the child. It is probably worth re-introducing the concept of “love” into the realm of mental health. ”
Parenting styles are less important in parenting than is commonly believed
When researchers studied parenting styles, they primarily sought to find out how demanding parents are and how responsive they are to their children. If you do not consider the extreme cases when parents abuse or neglect children, three main styles of upbringing can be distinguished: authoritarian, democratic, and liberal.
It is believed that the best educational style is democratic. The study showed that democratic parents show a better love for their children and set boundaries. Such parents expect better behavior from their children and are very attached to them. They are strongly involved in the educational process and at the same time encourage independence in children.