According to a new study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, over-critical parenting might be the reason for a child’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Specifically, how critical a parent is of her child, and how emotionally involved she is in dictating what’s right for her child, may have an impact on whether teens “grow out of” the disorder.
What the study reveals
Erica Musser of Florida International University and her colleagues studied 515 families with children with and without ADHD, ages 7 to 11 when the study began. Of those with ADHD, 69 percent were male, 79 percent were white and 75 percent lived in two-parent households. About 30 percent had the inattentive type of ADHD and 70 percent the combined inattentive hyperactive type, a breakdown that is similar to that in the overall population.
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the study aimed to try to provide some insight into the perplexing question of why the trajectory of kids with ADHD seems to diverge during the teenage years. It also opens doors in understanding the changing symptoms and their relationship to parental criticism and emotional involvement.
Harsh and negative statements may heighten ADHD symptoms
The results showed that parental emotional over-involvement did not seem to impact whether a child continued to have ADHD symptoms into the teenage years, but sustained critical parenting did.
Sustained critical parenting — which was defined as high levels of harsh, negative statements about the child at both measurements — appeared to be associated with the continuance of ADHD symptoms.
Are you being too critical?
Critical parenting has been consistently associated with depression and, to a lesser extent, anxiety. Parents who criticise and minimise the child’s feelings might undermine the child’s emotion regulation and increase their sensitivity to emotional health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Parents should remember to take it down a notch and allow your child to make certain mistakes in life. As long as they are doing their best (in studies especially), there’s really no reason to pressure them into anything.
What are your thoughts on ADHD and critical parenting? Comment your thoughts down below!