Domineering parents may keep kids under their thumb to try to protect the kids from the perils of peer pressure. But this approach may backfire and actually make kids more susceptible to going with the crowd. So finds a study in the journal Child Development. [Barbara A. Oudekerk et al, The Cascading Development of Autonomy and Relatedness From Adolescence to Adulthood]
Psychologists got baseline information through interviews with 184 13-year-olds. The researchers learned about their parents’ control tactics—such as using guilt to manipulate behavior—and watched how the kids dealt with a difference of opinion or argument with a friend.
Years passed. Then the researchers followed up with the study participants when they were 18 and again when they reached 21. Of particular interest were interactions with a peer or romantic partner.
The now young adults who’d had highly controlling parents were less able to stress their own viewpoints to a friend or partner in confident and productive ways. And the effects of that inability increased over time: poor relationship skills in an 18-year-old predicted further deficits at 21.
Seems that resisting parental control may be how kids learn to assert themselves, an important skill for healthy future relationships.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]