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Parental control procedure can predict whether a child develops a harmonious or obsessive passion for a hobby, according to Genevieve Mageau, psychology professor at Montreal University (MU).
“We found that controlling adults can foster obsessive passion in their children by teaching them that social approval can only be obtained through excellence. An activity then becomes highly important for self-protective reasons that don't necessarily correspond with a child's true desires" says Mageau.
The study is based on the research which evaluated 588 musicians and athletes from swimmers to skiers.
Participants were between six and 38 years and were involved in hobbies at different levels: beginner, intermediate and expert.
Kids were recruited from high school or specialised summer camps and adults were recruited at training camps and competitions.
The scientific team used a Likert-type scale to measure parents support to child autonomy and evaluated child well-being regarding hobbies.
While parents support becomes obsessive it put unwelcome pressure on children.
Children and teenagers who are allowed to be autonomous are more likely to actively engage in their activity over time.
Being passionate should not be taken as a personality trait - it is a special relationship one develops with an activity.
These findings were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Personality.