New study: Overbearing parents foster obsessive children

Sep 18, 2008

A new study has found that parental control directly influences whether a child will develop a harmonious or obsessive passion for their favorite hobby. Conducted by Professor Geneviève Mageau, of the Université de Montréal's Department of Psychology, the study will be published this fall edition of the Journal of Personality.

Mageau focused on 588 musicians and athletes between the ages of six and 38 who practice their hobby at different levels (beginner, intermediate and expert). Mageau used a Likert-type scale to measure how parents support the autonomy of their child.

She also evaluated the psychological well being of the child regarding their hobby, which in this case was piano, saxophone, skiing or swimming.

"The more controlling parents are, the harder it is for the child to have a harmonious passion for their favorite activity," says Mageau. Her concept of supporting autonomy means allowing a child to face up to his or her responsibilities, while considering the child's point of view and also providing answers to their questions without being authoritative.

"Youngsters with a harmonious passion had parents or an entourage that supported them, while those with an obsessive passion were raised in an oppressive environment," she says.

According to Mageau, adults often admit exercising abusive authority over their children and sometimes forcing their offspring to pursue an activity against their will. "The child learns that by obeying their parents they will be loved," she says. "The risk is that as adults they continue to pursue the activity to maintain their self-esteem."

Source: University of Montreal

Explore further: Education Dept awards $75M in innovation grants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Putting children first, when media sets its own rules

Sep 30, 2014

In an age when a significant number of parents won't let their child walk down the street to post a letter because of "stranger danger", it's ironic that many pay little attention while media organisations ...

English language variation in the classroom

Dec 09, 2013

Anne H. Charity Hudley has spent 11 years bringing her message about linguistic and cultural diversity to teachers involved in kindergarten through 12th grade. Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation and the ...

Reddit co-founder campaigns for power of Internet

Dec 05, 2013

The lanky 18-year-old in a blue mortarboard cap, his shoulders festooned with tassels and other regalia, stepped to the lectern, gave Howard High School's Class of 2001 a nervous snicker and spoke words heard in countless ...

Modern relationships made, marred, mended by technology

Nov 29, 2013

Lia MacDonald sat down at her laptop and clicked on Facebook. There he was, her old flame, asking for her. It had been years since their last encounter, long before she met her husband, started a family and moved across the ...

Recommended for you

Research band at Karolinska tuck Dylan gems into papers

Sep 29, 2014

(Phys.org) —A 17-year old bet among scientists at the Karolinska Institute has been a wager that whoever wrote the most articles with Dylan quotes before they retired would get a free lunch. Results included ...

A simulation game to help people prep for court

Sep 25, 2014

Preparing for court and appearing before a judge can be a daunting experience, particularly for people who are representing themselves because they can't afford a lawyer or simply don't know all the ropes ...

When finding 'nothing' means something

Sep 25, 2014

Scientists usually communicate their latest findings by publishing results as scientific papers in journals that are almost always accessible online (albeit often at a price), ensuring fast sharing of latest ...

User comments : 0