The relationship between a parent and a child is one of the most tumultuous, deep relationships you can possibly have — whether you’ve got a super tight mother-daughter relationship like Chrissy Teigen and her mom or you’re more of the call-and-check-in kind of pals. If your parent was splitting parenting duties with someone else, you may have grown up very familiar with the bad cop/good cop routine. It turns out this strategy might be something you want to rethink if you have kids, says science.


According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Iowa State University, there might be more negative associations to this dual parenting style than previously thought. While having a “good cop” might help buffer some of the negativity of the “bad cop,” the study shockingly found out that, regardless of having a nurturing parent, harsh parenting can increase a child’s Body Mass Index (BMI).

They studied 451 two-parent families where the family income, adolescent’s age, parents’ education and family size were controlled. Anyone with a harsh parent — no matter how nurturing the other was — ended up with a higher BMI, although not high enough to count as obese or overweight. The study had some pretty solid parameters for harshness, and they include a parent who rejects or coerces their child, gets physically aggressive with them (such as pinching, not hitting) or is self-centered.


The scientists behind the study suggest that this chronic, stressful environment is still dangerous to a child’s health and can result in released hormones, inflammation and other detrimental health issues — yikes! It’s a good reminder that your parenting does in fact have a direct effect on your kids. While every kid and parent is different, this might be something to consider.

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