Freaking Out Can Make Your Kids Freak Out, Too

A new study shows that parents who overreact to their kids' mistakes and misbehavior might be teaching those kids to overreact too. And more disturbingly, there may be a genetic component to flying off the handle.

According to ScienceDaily, study authors looked at 361 adoptive families in 10 states. They examined whether parents over-reacted — if they, for instance, got excessively or quickly mad when kids made minor mistakes. Toddlers raised by adoptive parents like this showed more "negative emotionality" — tantrums, bad behavior, and the like — than kids with steadier moms and dads. Says lead study author Shannon Lipscomb, "Parents' ability to regulate themselves and to remain firm, confident and not over-react is a key way they can help their children to modify their behavior. You set the example as a parent in your own emotions and reactions."

What's a little scary, though, is that study authors also looked at kids' birth parents, and found that when birth moms had high "negative emotionality," toddlers did too — even if their adoptive parents were chilled-out. Which suggests that even if you try hard to be calm in front of your kids, your genes might make them throw tantrums anyway. You'll fuck them up no matter what! It's certainly possible that calm parenting could counteract the effect of bad genes, but until we know for sure, we should probably devote our energies to developing hyperintelligent, nurturing robots to take care of our children for us. This is clearly the only solution to the near-universal problem of parents being people.

Over-Reactive Parenting Linked to Negative Emotions and Problem Behavior in Toddlers [ScienceDaily]

Image via Jana Guothova/Shutterstock.com