The Eccentric Child [Part 3]: Raising An Eccentric Kid

Parents who fear freely spoken individuality, or the creation of personal privacy and separateness, construct more intrusive approaches in which basic intimacy implies risk, even threat.

An accent on rigid parental control in child-rearing is usually related to the formation of conservative attitudes and opinions in their children when they grow up, at least among females. These parental attitudes may then generate behaviors that may be either accepting or punitive. Given that there are so many possibilities for faulty translation of adult performance criteria to actual child-training, parents are often not consistent, and understandably so.

For eccentric children, the primary specific means of parental control was hostile criticism. The most commonly occurring overall atmospheres in their families were neither distinctively warm nor cold. Though strict, the parents were not entirely restrictive, though permissive and democratic approaches were shown less frequently. Boys and girls were treated equally and affected by both of their parents’ frequently varying approaches to child-rearing.

Eccentric children’s early rebellions could also be cast as reactions against overly strict parental dominance. A number of them suggested that they themselves had precipitated their parents’ efforts to discipline them.

There was a modest positive relationship between how much emotion, positive or negative, was expressed and the degree of criticism directed at the particular child in question. Those families that did express emotion were more frequently critical. There was a much higher, significant correlation between the general level of criticism among family members and the amount of criticism leveled at the young eccentrics-to-be. So, emotional hostile criticism, by itself, cannot adequately explain how eccentricity develops in certain children, though usually not any of their siblings.