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Supportive Parenting Linked To Richer, Happier Children Later In Life

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Parenting, the tough job and long-term commitment that it is, can have long-lasting effects — ones that can possibly make or break a person later in life.

Here’s a recent illustration: kids who receive positive attention and care from their parents have high incomes, increased happiness levels, high grades and strong morality later in life, a new Japanese study has revealed.

The research team — led by Nishimura Kazuo of Kobe University and Yagi Tadashi of Doshisha University — investigated the effects of prevailing parenting techniques in Japan. They surveyed 5,000 women and men and asked questions about their relationships with their parents in their childhood, eliciting responses to statements such as “My parents trusted me” and “I felt like my family had no interest in me.”

The researchers then established (dis)interest, rules, trust and independence as key factors, along with time spent together as well as scolding experiences.

Based on the findings, the group divided parenting techniques into six, namely: Supportive, Strict, Indulgent, Easygoing, Average and Harsh. The first was marked by average to high levels of independence and large amount of time spent together, while the last was characterized by strictness, low interest in the child, low independence and low trust levels.

The discovery: individuals who went through “supportive” child-rearing — where their parents provided a lot of care and positive attention — reported having high salary levels, academic accomplishment and happiness levels.

Those who were raised through “strict” parental ways — where their fathers and mothers paid them attention, but implemented strict discipline — disclosed having high salaries and academic achievement, yet reduced happiness and increased stress levels.

The findings were detailed in a paper presented at the Japanese policy think tank Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

A separate study in 2015 suggested that parenting style and the bigger social situation could affect a child's chance of becoming obese, citing parenting and poverty as important predictors of childhood health as well as weight.

The results showed that schoolchildren raised by authoritarian parents, who were demanding, but not responsive, were 41 percent more likely to be obese compared to those with authoritative parents, who were both demanding and responsive.

"[C]ertain types of parenting would be associated with a higher risk of childhood obesity ... the strength of this association would differ between children living in poverty and those who aren't," said lead author and Concordia University professor Lisa Kakinami.

Another recent research warned that changing economic conditions can impact children’s health, finding a link between unemployment during the Great Recession and children’s risks of becoming obese or overweight.

For instance, 28 percent of kids were classified as overweight in 2008, the start of the recession. Yet the percentage climbed to 40 percent by 2009 and stayed high at 37 percent in 2012, reflecting increasing trends.

Photo: Stephan Hochhaus | Flickr

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