So is it all down to nurture or nature? In other words, do parents make their children bad, or are they just born that way?
A brave group of researchers decided to try to answer this vexed question when they assessed the impact of positive parenting techniques on a group of 330 fifth-grade girls with an average age of 11 or so.
Around a quarter of the girls were 'early maturers' and were prone to delinquent behaviour, but those whose parents who took little or no interest in their development were also more likely to behave aggressively.
Levels of aggression rose depending on parental involvement in areas of nurturing and communication.
In short, nurture was much more important than nature.
(Source: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2008; 162: 781-786).