- February 2011
- Vol. 12, No. 1
Predictors of Harsh Parenting Practices With Young Children
Research shows that harsh parenting behaviors negatively impact the emotional development of children and may place them at risk for child abuse. A recent article published in Child Abuse & Neglect looked at maternal harsh parenting practices from birth to age 3 years in relation to contextual and interpersonal risk factors.
A sample of 488 at-risk mothers who did not have an open case with child protective services was assessed at 1, 2, and 3 years after baseline (birth of child). Researchers analyzed predictor variables that included maternal variables as well as partner aggression.
Key findings from the study indicate:
- Maternal harsh parenting increased significantly between ages 1 and 2 years and remained high at age 3.
- Maternal alcohol use and maternal history of abuse tended to be related to maternal harsh parenting.
- Partner aggression was significantly and positively associated with maternal harsh parenting across time.
- Maternal age and household income showed limited associations with maternal harsh parenting.
Researchers suggest that these findings can be used as a first step in creating developmentally sensitive early intervention programs addressing mother's alcohol use and past history of abuse.
"Trajectories of Maternal Harsh Parenting in the First 3 Years of Life," by Hyoun Kim, Katherine Pears, Philip Fisher, Cynthia Connelly, and John Landsverk, appears in Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 34(12), and is available for purchase online: