‘Consistent Parenting’ Reduces Likelihood of Criminal Behavior: Study

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A new study by researchers at the University of Georgia and Mississippi State University has found that youth whose parents monitored them, were consistent in their parenting, and had high levels of behavioral control were at lowest risk for adult crime, reports Phys.org. The analysis examined longitudinal data on 318 African-American men to identify the effects of eight parenting styles in early adolescence on crime in young adulthood: authoritative, no-nonsense, authoritarian, vigilant, permissive, lax, neglectful, or abusive.

The study found that parenting styles that involved high levels of behavioral control (e.g., authoritative, authoritarian, no-nonsense) reduced the risk of crime in adulthood, while parenting styles with low levels of behavioral control (e.g., abusive, permissive, and lax) significantly increased the risk for crime in adulthood.

The negative consequences of permissive parenting (which were characterized by indulgent levels of warmth without behavioral control) and lax parenting (which involves high levels of nurturance combined with corporal punishment) suggest that parenting styles lacking monitoring and consistent discipline are more likely to put youth at risk for later criminal behavior, even when parents are warm and nurturing.

The study also found that corporal punishment can enhance monitoring and consistency of some parenting styles (e.g., no-nonsense), but in the absence of these behaviors (e.g., lax, abusive parenting styles), it is a risk factor for later participation in crime.

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