Finally, while structured and authoritative is good — rigid without rationale can actually backfire. For example, in research presented last year, investigators found that parents who are generally warm while laying down the law had better odds of avoiding unhealthy weight gain than Great Santini dictator dads (see our chart to find out where you fall on the strictness scale). Parents who maintain discipline without much dialogue were 30% – 37% more likely to have obese kids, compared to those who had reasonable discussions about why boundaries were set.
“Parents should at least be aware of their parenting style,” said Lisa Kakinami, Ph.D., a post-doctoral epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. “If you’re treating your child with a balance of affection and limits, these are the kids who are least likely to be obese.”