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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume I, Wellbeing in Children and Families by Cary L. Cooper, Susan H. Landry

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8

Parenting and Executive Function

Positive and Negative Influences

Claire Hughes, Gabriela Roman and Rosie Ensor

University of Cambridge, U.K.

For 5 days in August 2011, several cities in the United Kingdom were in flames, with rioters looting high street shops and destroying buildings in their local communities. Distressing video footage of the violence and chaos quickly went viral on the Internet, and considerable energy has since been devoted to gathering evidence on who was involved in these unprecedented scenes of unrest and why. In their most recent report, the Riots Communities and Victims Panel (2012) concluded that the riots were fueled by a range of factors, including a lack of opportunities for young people and failures of the justice system to rehabilitate offenders, coupled with materialism, widespread problems of self-control, and poor parenting. Having met people convicted of all kinds of riot-related offenses, as well as people from disadvantaged backgrounds who chose not to get involved in the riots, the panel concluded that the ability to make the right decision in the heat of the moment hinged on character: self-discipline, application, the ability to defer gratification, and resilience in recovering from setbacks. As the panel noted, it is parents who are best placed to instill positive attitudes and behavior in children. Thus fostering children's character and self-control should be key goals for parents. This chapter provides a summary of research on a closely ...

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