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Monday, February 08, 2010

Mailvox: the impact of nurture

M reports how science compares paternal behavioral patterns:
I thought you might enjoy this excerpt from the book NurtureShock:

"Dr. Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan did a study of parenting styles, and how they relate to aggressiveness and acting out at school. The fathers in her study fell into three camps--the Progressive Dads, the Traditional Dads, and the Disengaged Dads.... However, Schoppe-Sullivan was surprised to discover that the Progressive Dads had poorer marital quality and rated their family functioning lower than the fathers in couples who took on traditional roles...

[The Progressive Dads'] inconsistency and permissiveness led to a surprising result in Sullivan's study: the children of Progressive Dads were aggressive and acted out in school nearly as much as the kids with fathers who were distant and disengaged."

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest and my own observations tend to bear out the research. It makes sense if you think about it, since it doesn't really matter if the figure who is theoretically supposed to provide discipline is present or not if the discipline isn't provided in a predictable manner. Of course, anything that can reasonably be described as "progressive" is usually a reliable indication that someone is in the process of unnecessarily screwing something up by attempting to improve it.

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