Background Family farms are unique in that children live in the midst of a dangerous workplace. Farm youth continue to experience high rates of injuries and premature deaths as a result of agricultural activities. Increased parental permissiveness has been known to be positively associated with high-risk behaviour in youth, including more frequent sexual activity, elevated pregnancy-rates, and risky driving behaviours. This study explored whether lax-inconsistent or permissive parenting (fathering and mothering) predicts youth unsafe behaviours on the farm.
Methods This study was a part of a larger family-based randomised control intervention study focused on youth farm safety. Pre-intervention data were analysed for 67 youth, their fathers and mothers. Families were recruited through farm publications, youth organisations, local newspapers, farmer referrals, and the Cooperative Extension Network. Two hierarchical multiple regression models were run.
Results Fathers and mothers who practiced lax-inconsistent disciplining were more likely to have youth who indulged in unsafe behaviours on the farm. Lax-inconsistent disciplining by fathers and mothers continued to predict youth unsafe farm behaviours, even after age, youth personality (risk-taking) and father’s modelling (of unsafe behaviours) were all taken into account.
Conclusions Findings affirm that farm behaviours belong on the list of adolescent behaviours (like traffic violations) known to be positively influenced by permissive parenting styles. A key implication is that parents play an important role in influencing youth farm safety behaviours, and therefore need to be made the focus of farm safety interventions. Farm safety interventions need to focus not only on safe farm practices, but also promote positive parenting practices, including increased parent-youth communication about safety, consistent parental disciplining practices, increased monitoring and modelling of safe farm behaviours for youth.
- Youth farm safety
- unsafe farm behaviours
- permissive parenting
- lax-inconsistent disciplining
- youth risk-taking
- and parental modelling
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