CNN Parents highlights the dangers of harsh parenting: over-reliance on peers, more sexual activity, more delinquency. The study published in the journal Child Development was led by Rochelle Hentges, a postdoctoral psychology fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. It focused on a child’s ability to succeed in high school and college.
Kelly Wallace writes (excerpt):
“If you’re in this harsh or unstable environment, you’re kind of set up to look for immediate rewards instead of focusing on the long-term outcomes,” said Hentges, the lead author of the study. She believes there is an evolutionary response to verbally and physically aggressive parenting.
“The premise of that is like in our ancestral environment, if you had this unstable or high-danger environment, it wouldn’t make sense for you to put a lot of time and resources toward something that might be in the future if you’re not going to live to see that future.”
Harsher parenting also leads children to have less attachment to their parents and come to overly rely on their peers, said Hentges.