Now that I’m riffing aimlessly about nature/nurture, here’s a related theory about parenting inspired by Dr. Thompson:
In a novel finding, Robert Plomin and colleagues suggest that negative aspects of parenting are more heritable than positive aspects. They call this The Dark Side of parenting. The effect is interesting and subtle: it suggests that whilst parents are generally consistent in their handling of their children, some genetically driven characteristics of their children lead them into more negative parenting styles.
Dr. James Thompson
Is the dark side of parenting genetic?
Doesn’t summarize well, you probably should skim the rest for context. Dark side here means such horrible behaviors as spanking and shouting. You know, like “dark” parents are famous for.
Could be this is adaptive. Every living creature understands fear, and some children seem to understand little else. Some other children are bright and need to be parented differently, but that subject is popular enough to have books in Barnes and Noble. There isn’t an “Everything Guide to Raising a Retarded, Uncooperative Low-Functioning Psychopath”. Maybe you really do need to beat the shit out of ’em to put the fear o’ God in ’em.