Harsh parenting may harm a child's education

Published: Feb. 10, 2017 at 1:42 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2017 at 6:16 PM EST
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(Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM)

(Medical News Today/WTVM)- Listen up parents and grandparents--- new research suggests using physical or verbal abuse to punish a child may lead to lower educational attainment.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh looked at more than one-thousand students and found those exposed to harsh parenting were more likely to be delinquent and engage in negative behaviors as teenagers.

Harsh parenting was defined as shouting, hitting, or making abusive threats as a form of punishment. The study followed them from 7th grade until the age of 21. During that time, students reported their exposure to harsh parenting, social interaction with peers, sexual behavior, and delinquency.Each child's level of education was assessed at age 21 based on the number of school years completed. The team found harshly parented students were more likely to participate in risky behaviors in the 11th grade...including frequent sexual behavior, hitting and stealing. These behaviors were associated with low educational attainment at 21.

The study's co-author Ming-Te Wang, professor of psychology in education at the University of Pittsburgh, theorizes adolescents whose needs have not been met by their parents may seek validation from peers in unhealthy ways.

Wang suggests there are different interventions that might improve the educational achievement of children who are subject to harsh parenting.

For example, these adolescents may benefit from teaching techniques that focus on hands-on learning or group activities, as well as programs that offer education and help in relation to sexual behavior, delinquency, and unhealthy relationships with peers.

The findings are in the journal Child Development.

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