Can the educational style of parents make their children develop certain psychological disorders?
Since the dawn of time, the family has taken care of their offspring, showing them the world around them and teaching them how to relate to it. In this way, each family instills its own values and teaches the norms that it considers to be followed to achieve physical, emotional and social well-being.
In this sense, numerous studies have highlighted the enormous influence that the family has on the subsequent emotional development of children. That is, in the identification, understanding and regulation of their emotions.
Thus, those families that manage to transmit values and skills that generate greater personal well-being will probably make their descendants opt for a healthy lifestyle, in which not only academic performance or sociability have been promoted, but also moral values and emotional intelligence.
However, while it is true that educational styles play a fundamental role in the cognitive, social and emotional development of children, it must be taken into account that this is only one – and not necessarily the most important – factor that influences the development of children. possible development of psychopathologies .
In short, parental style is a contextual variable that by itself does not justify the appearance of a psychological disorder. It has been shown that the parenting style can influence the psychopathological symptoms and the child’s self-esteem.
What are and what do educational styles consist of?
The educational styles make up the set of strategies aimed modeling parenting behavior through socialization and education of the child, so that the parent-child interactions regarding end up creating what is appropriate behavior .
These interactions have been classified by different authors until reaching four educational styles:
In this case, the parent is a highly demanding, rigid and tough person . He shows coldness towards the minor and grants him little autonomy due to the permanent control to which he is subjected to comply with the restrictive parental rules.
The parent is interested and involved in the life of his child, showing sensitivity to the child and allowing him to express himself and develop his autonomy. But, not for this reason, stop being demanding with the minor, setting limits and trying to avoid punishments. In short, this parent would direct the conduct of the minor, but considering the opinion and ability of the minor.
It is a parent who usually gives in to the whims of the child . Thus, it is the minor himself who decides on his activities. These parents are characterized by high involvement and acceptance of their children together with a low level of control and demand.
Negligent style .
What characterizes the negligent parent is that he demands as little as he gives. This means that there are no rules or affection , just indifference towards the minor, who is allowed everything by acting passively. As expected, there is no cohesion or communication between the two. The father is distant and unavailable to his son, showing only irritation, discontent or rejection towards him.
How do the different educational styles influence the minor?
Numerous studies have confirmed the relationship between parental educational styles with psychopathological symptoms, as well as with the child’s degree of self-esteem. However, it is necessary to emphasize that, although discipline, support for children and the development of their autonomy are intermediary variables in psychological problems, in no case is the educational style decisive, since the minor learns from their environment, creating new value systems. However, the psychological profile that minors usually develop depending on the educational style is explained below:
Authoritarian educational styles.
Children of authoritarian parents are obedient and follow the rules, but only because they feel controlled. Therefore, they tend to get out of hand when they are not being supervised. In case of being discovered, they are punished, which reflects a certain infantilism .
In addition, the fact of not having been able to develop their own autonomy has a negative impact on their self-esteem .
It should be noted that educational styles serve as a direct example of how to relate to others, so they tend to be imitated. Thus, the adolescent will tend to control others, without respecting their opinions and with little empathy .
If this is coupled with the fact that the minor is physically punished, he may end up seeing the aggression as a way of expressing his anger to others, so this style would favor the development of the antisocial personality (manipulation or violation of the rights of the child). another without suffering remorse).
They can also develop depression or anxiety due to feelings of guilt when they do not fulfill their mission. On the other hand, the desire to rebel against the rules, together with possible problems such as impulsivity and irritability, could lead to the consumption of psychotropic substances and alcohol or to carry out criminal behaviors .
Permissive educational styles.
Children with permissive parents often develop impulse control problems and difficulties in obeying and taking responsibility. This is because they are used to deciding on their own activities, so they could also develop immaturity problems . Likewise, they are people with higher levels of anguish and insecurity because they lack predictable norms, because when these are broken, their parents justify and defend them before others, which can lead them to behave in an arrogant way .
To all this, we should add a possible low self-esteem due to their low self-control and social incompetence as they are used to deciding on their entire lives, without taking into account the point of view of others. Likewise, children can develop socially deviant and aggressive behaviors during adolescence (even towards their parents), in addition to consuming illegal substances and alcohol because they consider that they can do whatever they want with their lives because they will not suffer the consequences.
Negligent educational styles.
The lack of coherence and the minimum control and emotional involvement of the parents causes frustration and hostility in the adolescent, which usually leads to the manifestation of aggressiveness and school problems . On the other hand, the lack of supervision and help generates feelings of insecurity and instability , which also negatively affects their social relationships . Likewise, the lack of control can make it easier for the adolescent to have criminal and / or abusive behaviors due to the little or no control that parents have over the minor. In addition, neglecting the offspring can influence the appearance of developmental disordersin the child, as well as lead to problems of self-esteem, impulsivity and depression .
Democratic educational styles.
This educational style generates a good attitude and school performance, as well as good mental health and few behavioral problems, by having a figure on which to lean and carry out their confidences, having confidence in their own abilities. It should be noted that this educational style helps reduce problem behaviors associated with hyperactivity .
What behaviors of the parents can give rise to manifesting certain psychopathological symptoms?
As expected, the greater the affection shown towards the child through communication, involvement in their upbringing and the promotion of their autonomy, the lower the psychopathological symptoms. But what happens when any of the above factors fail?
Lack of affectivity.
In the first place, it has been found that the lack of affection coupled with a feeling of rejection on the part of the parents, as well as little control over the child’s behaviors and inconsistency in the parenting rules, generate feelings of anger and hostility.
These feelings can lead the adolescent to show aggressive and even antisocial behaviors . Regarding the development of aggressive behaviors, it should be noted that they do not have to arise as a form of maladaptive relief in situations of stress and conflict, but can also be the result of learning, seeing that their parents use these behaviors as a way of relating.
It should be noted that, before reaching this point where aggressiveness is a frequent behavior in adolescents, as children, at younger ages, they can show disruptive behaviors , for example, abuse of peers, discipline problems, vandalism, fraud in the exams. This is due to a rigid parental discipline where the parents communicate with the minor in a physically aggressive and affectively negligent way. With regard to child -to-parent violence , it should be noted that it tends to occur more frequently in the permissive style and less frequently in the authoritarian style.
Likewise, negative affect can not only lead to aggressive behaviors and other behavior problems, it can also lead to attention problems . In this sense, it has been found that the democratic style is the one that most helps to manage the problems derived from the child’s hyperactivity. On the other hand, it has been seen that those adolescents whose parents are highly taxing have a greater tendency to pessimism and show a borderline personality , characterized by emotional instability, distorted self-image and impulsive behaviors such as unsafe sex, substance abuse, overspending or suicidal behavior.
Both the low acceptance and the excessive criticism of parents towards their children are highly related to depression and other behavioral problems (eg the use of alcohol and other drugs). On the contrary, it has been shown that parental support at an emotional and instrumental level protects adolescents from the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and illicit substances. Likewise, parental support has been found to reduce early initiation of sexual activity and increase contraceptive use, thereby reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.
Regarding the influence of educational styles on depression and anxiety, it has been found that the democratic style is the one that generates the least depression and anxiety, since it reinforces the achievements of the minor and their autonomy. Although it is true that it is not a causal relationship, it has been found that depression occurs to a greater extent when parents interact with the child in a negative way or are negligent in their care, while anxiety tends to occur when there is excess control in children’s behaviors, as it generates insecurity and fear of making mistakes.
Lack of control.
With regard to suicidal behavior , numerous testimonies from adolescents show that those whose parents are involved in their upbringing and make them feel accepted are less likely to commit suicide. On the contrary, not feeling supported or having a close relationship with parents is a circumstance that occurs more frequently in suicidal adolescents. In summary, the acceptance of children, the expression of affection towards them and the monitoring of their activities reduce suicidal ideation. Although, if there is something that reduces suicidal ideation, it is resilience , that is, the ability to overcome adverse circumstances in a positive way.
In this sense, it has been shown that the most resilient people are those who have been raised by parents highly involved in the education of their children, who are affectionate with them and instill positivity in them. In addition, for the development of resilience it is essential that children have been able to develop their confidence in themselves, that is, their self-esteem. The latter is achieved when the minor has been able to resolve their conflicts autonomously, gradually and successfully. This autonomy , fostered through parental support, immunizes against possible difficulties that may arise in the future, which they will trust in being able to overcome, as they have done in the past, circumstances that do not occur in minors who are overprotected.
At this point, it is essential to talk about the importance of socialization, since the parent-child relationship is the first contact that the newborn has with others, so that this attachment relationship will determine the way in which the child you will perceive their relationships. That is why the level of social sensitivity is related to the quality of this relationship, resulting more open and empathetic the greater the acceptance and involvement they perceive from their parents.
In addition, this empathy and feelings of acceptance of oneself promote feelings of interpersonal competence, positive interactions and the development of so-called prosocial behaviors , that is, sharing, cooperating, helping and empathizing with others.
However, it has been seen that the lack of supervision and inaccessibility of parents to communicate and ask for help from them leads to relationships with conflictive partners, to carry out risky behaviors and to the development of an antisocial character.
On the other hand, it is important to note that overprotection leads to self-esteem problems and facilitates the appearance of numerous disorders such as social phobia, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or eating disorders.
With regard to eating disorders , it should be noted that the family context acquires special importance, since it has been shown that a cordial environment reduces symptoms. In addition, the family can also instill that thinness is not synonymous with social success and help regulate the behaviors of adolescents through emotional support, teaching them to express their feelings and resolve their conflicts without having to resort to these behaviors to alleviate their anxiety or reduce your fears.
Likewise, it is important to note that low self-esteem is the key that opens the door to numerous psychopathological problems (eg, use of psychotropic substances, eating disorders or risk behaviors), since the adolescent will not be able to find other tools to do face your situation and increase your discomfort.
- Educational styles are an essential factor, but insufficient to justify the appearance of psychopathology, although they influence its symptoms.
- The educational style is a risk factor for violence, attention problems, hyperactivity, aggressiveness and delinquency. It also influences other emotional and eating disorders, as well as relationships with others and the child’s self-esteem.
- Parental support together with the promotion of the minor’s autonomy through adequate discipline, serve as a safe-conduct for psychological disorders.
- The psychological control (invalidation of feelings and emotional manipulation) predicts a worse physical and emotional health (anxiety and depression), especially as regards the autonomy and self – esteem of the child.
- The behavioral control (excessive punishments and limits that prevent the development of autonomy itself) has been linked to antisocial behavior, risk behavior and deviant, as well as mood and self-esteem problems.
- The lack of communication can lead to problems of anxiety and depression in the child. Too much criticism can lead to depression and behavior problems.
- The parental rejection can lead to the development of anxiety symptoms, depression and psychosomatic as well as social isolation, self – esteem an impaired, aggressive and antisocial behavior.
- The little parental care was associated with the development of emotional disorders, while overprotection leads to insecurity, maladjustment and depression.
- The lack of parental support increases the probability of an early initiation of sexual activity and less use of contraceptives.
- The lack of closeness in parent-child, relationship with an unsatisfactory support from one or both parents is a risk factor associated with suicide attempts.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.