Thursday, February 09, 2006

Back to blaming the parents

There was an article in the SMH yesterday about how we are wired for aggression.

Richard Tremblay, professor of pediatrics, psychology and psychiatry at the
University of Montreal, says children are never more violent than between the
ages of two and four. But with the help of their parents most learn how to
control their natural aggression by the time they start school. "The question is
not how adolescents learn to be bad, it's how they learn not to be bad."

But by age four, despite greater exposure to potentially violent media, he said, aggression in children waned. The self-control, and social and emotional skills children learned in the preschool years were vital, he said.
"By the time children are school age, the frequency of use of physical aggression depends almost entirely on the environment they have been brought up in."

So we're back to blaming the parents for the bad behaviour of their children entirely. The expert calls for more early intervention in the form of helping parents through the toddler years. But it seems to me that this kind of research is just another example of the "society has nothing to do with it" school of childraising. An aggressive child at any age is deemed to be due to early parental shortcomings, not other factors that bear on their lives at older ages.


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