Q. I heard a talk show that said children who are over-controlled and those who have little if any supervision often exhibit similar behaviors. That makes no sense whatsoever! What’s your opinion?
A. When colleagues and I were working with young people who were in Youth Authority for misbehaving, it quickly became clear that behavioral outcomes were uncannily similar for two groups of kids. One group came from lassez faire environments with little functional guidance and healthy role-modeling, and that contained dysfunctionality in the form of addictive behaviors, either poverty or extreme affluence, and/or abuse. The other group were the produce of very rigid (often rigidly religious) home environments with a plethora of rules and/or extreme patriarchal-styles of parenting and leadership, where they were micromanaged and kept so busy that there was little time for play. Typically, the behaviors exhibited by both groups were very similar and one could rarely tell who was who and which was which without reading their case histories.