Toddlers allowed to run wild risk being violent adults, parents told

Daily Mail 20th October 2007
Curbing aggression in children in their pre-school years is the key to ensuring they do not grow into violent adults, parents are being warned. Toddlers do not learn aggression from other children, TV, video games or adults, says a leading child psychiatrist. Instead, most are naturally physically belligerent, claims Professor Richard Tremblay, from the University of Montreal.

He says children reach their peak of aggressive behaviour between 18 and 42 months. If parents fail to intervene at this stage, it could make the difference between a child growing up normally or turning into a violent adult. There is even evidence that uncontrolled aggression in the first few years is linked to criminal and drug-taking behaviour as adults, said Professor Tremblay. Professor Tremblay – who is due to present his research at the Royal Society in London today, warned: “Learning how not to be violent – which mostly takes place during the pre- school years – is dependent on both genetic and environmental factors.”Studies have found a link between mothers who smoke during pregnancy, and children who never learn to curb their natural aggression, he said. Other risk factors for aggression in children include having parents with low incomes and troubled family relationships, and mothers who had families at an early age or who had a history of anti-social behaviour during their own school years. Professor Tremblay said: “Identifying the factors which stop children becoming wellsocialised adults should help us design preventative measures which are employed at the right time in a child’s development.
Family First Comment: But didn’t Bradford, Clark and Kiro tell us that it was smacking, smacking and smacking that led to violent kids??? Perhaps a ‘reasonable’ smack is just what is needed! Yet more proof that the ban on smacking was ideologically driven rather than based on solid evidence and research.