Why the 'Brangelina' Divorce Has Sparked a Debate About Parenting Styles

September 20th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting a divorce. TMZ reports that Jolie is asking for physical custody of their six children, according to legal documents.

TMZ also reported that one of the reasons for the divorce is deep differences in parenting methods:

"Sources connected with the couple tell us ... Angelina's decision to file has to do with the way Brad was parenting the children ... she was extremely upset with his methods."

Whether it's true or not that Pitt's parenting methods were at the center of the split, this high-profile divorce has sparked a discussion about parenting.

E! News compiled a list of comments Pitt and Jolie have made about parenting, and it paints the picture that Pitt was much more strict than Jolie.

"I feel like my job is to show them around, help them find what they want to do with their life, put as many things in front of them, and pull them back when they get out of line, so they know who they are," said Pitt to the Telegraph in 2015.

However, in 2012 Jolie said that she's much less strict that Pitt.

"I used to be the tougher parent but since the birth of the twins, Brad's had to play bad cop more often," Jolie said to Britain's OK! Magazine.

So is strict parenting better or worse for children?

There is no one successful parenting style, but some maybe more damaging to children. As ATTN: reported last year, strict "helicopter" parenting can be damaging for children, according to a 2015 study by Brigham Young University. Helicopter parenting was defined as parents who make important decisions for their children — intervening in their issues and not allowing them to solve problems themselves. Helicopter parenting can cause "lower self-worth and higher risk behavior, such as binge drinking."

The researchers studied 438 undergraduate students to see the effects of helicopter parents on adults.

"Overall, stepping in and doing for a child what the child developmentally should be doing for him or herself, is negative," Larry Nelson the lead author of the study said to Brigham Young University News.

Another 2016 study published in the journal of Social Science and Medicine found that harsh or strict parenting may lead to children becoming overweight and having poorer heath. The study followed 451 two-parent families, according to New York Magazine's the Science of Us. However researchers also found that one "warm" parent can counteract the effects of a "harsh" parent.

Although there is no "secret' to being a good parent, researchers at the University of Washington found more than 20 years ago, that good parents who raise healthy children have some things in common.

"Parents need to learn as many tricks of the trade as possible, including how to play with their children, communicate with them, praise and reward them and set limits for them, as well as how to handle misbehavior using a variety of techniques," Dr. Webster-Stratton, director of the Parenting Clinic at the University of Washington told The New York Times in 1991.

RELATED: New Study Shows Helicopter Parenting Backfires