When parenting teens, keep calm and don’t carry on. Image Source: Freepik.com

March 12 : Psychologists at University of Rochester found that parents who are less efficient in controlling their anger may end up disciplining their teenage children harshly. The study talked about the fathers in particular, who are more likely to resort to dictatorial disciplining of their teens. The study found that fathers, in particular, are not capable of handling their teens’ behaviour in a different way.

Parental goals don’t align with those of their child

Psychologists studying adolescent psychology are concerned about parents’ behaviour towards their teenage children and suggest that in difficult situations mothers and fathers should control their anger and interact with their children.

Psychologists pointed out that while parental goals do not match with those of their children’s, sometimes it is difficult to align them and find a solution amicably. Disciplinary issues usually crop up during childhood and adolescence as in both these stages a child tries to explore new things and tries to resolve them in his/her own way. During adolescence, a teen also wants to be independent, explains Melissa Sturge-Apple, professor of psychology, University of Rochester.

Parents need to adjust their behaviours

A child undergoes multiple developmental changes during puberty and while they approach adolescence. Parents should understand these changes and react to them with flexibility. They need to adjust their behaviours towards their children as their teens strive for independence. A cordial way of approaching these developmental issues will yield greater inputs from the decision-making processes, the study suggests.

The study found that the fathers are more incapable of handling their anger compared to the mothers, and believe their teens are intentionally creating difficulties. These parents are more likely to resort to strict disciplinary actions in hostile conflict behaviour of their teenagers.

Fathers are not as good as mothers...

The psychologists found that parents, particularly fathers’ ability to be flexible and consider alternative things looking into their children’s age and development is less in many cases. The study also found that fathers were not as good as mothers in controlling their physiological anger.

The study suggested that flexibility is essential as it allows parents to change their attitudes and approaches towards handling changing behaviours of their children in ways that would help to resolve the situation in cases of disagreements. Fathers who are better at controlling their anger can counteract difficulties in better ways, the study concluded.

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