Parental warmth refers to a supportive and nurturing relationship between the parent and an adolescent. Different parental behaviors may help increase or decrease the levels of psychopathic traits in teenagers. A new study published in the https://www.springer.com/journal/10826 shows that warmth as a parent may help lower the risk of future criminal activity by preventing the development of psychopathic traits in troubled teens. The more warmth the parents, the more opportunities they have to know their children and discuss challenging issues.
According to O’Donnell and Hetrick (2016), psychopathy can be defined as a set of personality and behavior domains frequently associated with lack of emotional sensitivity and empathy, impulsive and antisocial behaviors, superficial charm, and insensitivity to punishing consequences. Psychopathy traits are more common in males compared to females. Parental behaviors play an essential role in developing young children and adolescents and their mental health.
The Pathways to Desistance study, which included 1,354 offending adolescents charged with serious crimes, was examined. This research indicated that the juvenile offenders who reported having more supportive and nurturing parents had mild psychopathic traits. The results also indicated that the teens who reported higher parental hostility had a higher level of psychopathic traits. The study also showed that higher parental hostility and less parental warmth strengthen psychopathic traits, leading to more violent and illegal activities among teenagers. The researchers concluded that parental warmth during this development stage may still protect troubled teens from psychopathic traits.
The lack of parental warmth and harsh parental treatment in childhood may also predict psychopathic traits in young adulthood. Young adulthood psychopathic traits are usually associated with less parental warmth during childhood (The British Journal of Psychiatry). They develop low self-concept, feel inferior, tend to withdraw from other people.
Research shows that maternal warmth is associated with low levels of psychopathic personalities and delinquency, while paternal warmth prevents the teens from these traits but not from minor crimes.
Another research was carried out to find out whether teens with psychopathic traits provoked their parents’ hostility. The results indicated that psychopathic personalities in teenagers do not provoke hostile parenting styles.
Although some parenting styles could lead to teen psychopathic traits, there lacks a prove that parental hostility causes future criminal activities.