Research carried out by Professor Karen McComb and Dr Graeme Shannon at the University of Sussex has discovered that orphaned elephants, the result of culling, become hyper aggressive, and their inability to differentiate between the calls of friend and foe lead to random responses.

elephants entwined

There are young male humans on our city streets displaying some of these traits for similar reasons.

In extreme situations, such as where parents have become addicted to hard drugs, there will be little or no interaction between parent and child. If a parent overdoses, that trauma can shape the subsequent pattern of their child’s behaviour.

More commonly the ‘orphaning’ of our children occurs through inertia and laziness. The kind of parenting where the latest computers, flat screens and gadgetry is provided for the offspring in the expectation that the parents will be left in peace. Keys and mobile phones provided by parents to very young children are symptomatic of a lack of interaction.

I probably sound like an old fuddy duddy not in tune with the zeitgeist. That might be true, but I suspect that there is a correlation between the lack of parental interaction and antisocial, aggressive behaviour in their children.

More information on Professor Karen McComb and Dr Graeme Shannon’s research can be found here:


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