We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is a story from the mother's point of view about the entire history of her teenage son who, one sunny day, embarks upon a kill-spree at his school. It's a story of a child who fits these descriptions: deviant, psychopathic, evil.
Understandably, the mother in the story (read 'parents in real life') resorts to harsh and punitive discipline.
New Australian research which will be presented in Paris next week at the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. It will present the findings of a 3-year study which shows that nurturing, love, empathy and emotional warmth do in fact work.
"A University of Sydney psychologist, David Hawes, will tell the conference that contrary to earlier studies which found that the quality of parenting had no bearing on the behavioural problems of deviant children, parents who maintained a warm and emotionally engaged parenting style could protect their children from developing aggressive and anti-social behaviour."
Obviously, the parents of these kids need a lot of support, understanding, advice and time out. But what a breath of fresh air to know that there is something to do in response to such difficult personalities, that parenting can indeed have a positive bearing, when previously the 'wisdom' was that such kids are just born evil and no amount of parenting will change that.
How sweet the one thing that looks like being influential is love. But I'd like to point out something of note:
Why do we need constantly need numbers and science state the bleeding obvious? (This is one of my favourite moans regarding psychology, I'll try not to be too boring in my repititions).
The science means it will be made credible and therefore respected, which in turns gives a higher possibility of being acted on.... So I promise not to complain about that part.