By Dr Ken Resnick, parenting specialist

I was sent an article printed in the British Daily mail by their Education correspondent Laura Clark under the heading ‘The Angry Generation’ which I found very interesting. Here are some excerpts which I’d like to share with you:

‘Parents who fail to discipline their offspring properly are creating a generation of angry children who lash out in the classroom, a study has found.

Pupils were twice as likely to be disruptive if they had parents who were violent, critical or inconsistent in what they allowed them to do at home.

In contrast, children tended to be better behaved if their parents combined warmth with clear and consistent rules and boundaries.

For the study, nearly 300 families with children aged four to seven were assessed for both the children’s behaviour and their parents’ discipline techniques.

The researchers, led by Professor Stephen Scott, director of the National Academy for Parenting Research, said: “A negative parenting style, characterised by harsh, inconsistent discipline, was clearly associated with more severe child anti-social behaviour.

“Parents who used negative discipline had twice the rate of children with severe behaviour problems compared to other parents.”

The findings follow claims by experts that parents lavish material possessions on their children but are distant and barely involved in their upbringing.

Parenting advice

What contributes to bad behaviour in children?

Poor supervision of children’s activities and mothers suffering depression were also linked to bad behaviour. The researchers said they were unable to rule out the argument that ‘irritating’ children were themselves to blame for ‘evoking harsher parenting’.

But they added: “A whole range of studies has shown the causal effect is there too, and that harsh parenting trains children to become anti-social”. These children were at risk of underperforming at school and even turning to crime and drug or alcohol abuse.

The researchers claimed that their study, which was funded by the government, reinforced the benefits of parenting lessons to teach mothers and fathers across all sections of society how to discipline their children.

The report added: ‘It underlines the fact that there is the opportunity to improve children’s life chances through directly intervening with programmes that are effective in changing parenting styles.’

Child literacy expert Sue Palmer blamed parents relying on ‘electronic babysitters’, and claimed in her book Toxic Childhood that many children starting school had led a ‘very solitary, sedentary, screen-based existence’.

She added: ‘Many children now watch TV rather than sharing a bedtime story, songs and chats with parents. This is a serious erosion of important family times’.

Despite the fact that many parents do experience difficulties with their child’s behaviour, for some unknown reason they seem reluctant to participate in a programme that will help them gain control of their children and consequently experience a drastic improvement in their child’s attitude and willingness to cooperate. Many parents who have adopted the SmartParenting programme in their home, tell their friends about the positive changes that they’re seeing in their children’s behaviour, and yet these friends, many with very difficult offspring are reluctant to attend the course. It seems much easier, but definitely less effective to send the child off for the inevitable round of assessments and therapies. Strange world indeed!

Dealing with Adolescence

The SmartParenting ‘Rebels with Causes’ programme is proving very effective in reconnecting parents with their teenagers. Adolescence can prove a nightmare time for many parents. The uniqueness and efficacy of the Rebels programme helps restore calm in the home and. Teenagers become more cooperative; mothers calm down and learn how to stay in control without having to incessantly be nagging their teen. The workshop consists of three sessions. The parents attend the first without their teen. The teen/s join the group for the second and third sessions. This is one of the few times where teenagers are given the chance to communicate with their parents from the same page. Mutual trust that is essential for open communication between parent and teenager generally breaks down and is the major factor influencing communication between parent and teen.

Parents interested in improving their relationship with their teen should seriously consider enrolling for the ‘Rebels with Causes’ workshop. For more information you’re welcome to e-mail me at ken@kensway.co.za.

Online workshops are also available www.smartchoiceparenting.com

Any school or organisation interested in a presentation for teachers and parents should contact me at ken@smartchoiceparenting.co.za.

Contact Dr Ken Resnick to find out more about his parenting workshops and public speaking. Learn more about SmartChoice Parenting now.