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10 Signs of Bad Parenting Styles in The 21st Century 


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Now, before you get worked up over the bad parenting styles discussed below, rest assured there is no such a thing called perfect parenting. We all succumb to parenting howlers every now and then, but somehow get to do the right things when we have to. Matters are not made any better now that we live in the 21st Century and have to deal with the protracted influence of technology and globalization.

Unlike traditional parenting styles inherited from the last century, we now have gadgets and computers all around us, and our urban settings are crammed with too many people. We also have to weave our way around the diverse cultural experiences, especially now that intercultural relationships have become commonplace.

All these can be scary, and the situation can easily get out of control if we remain bystanders and choose to remain ignorant.

Just a few signs of bad parenting to address

Despite everything, certain fundamentals will always remain at the core of parenting, and our ability to embrace them fully or partially will make or break our children. The demands are that we tweak parenting to suit the new century, to avoid new parenting howlers!

We have to watch out for negative excesses mentioned below:

1. Improper Use of Technology

cell phone off the menu
Cell phones during mealtimes is a sign of bad parenting

The intrusion of technology and related devices in our lives demand we twist parenting styles to suit technology in a positive manner. We must harness the positives in technology use while staying away from extremes.

It is bad when we use technology in all the wrong places, especially in the presence of children. For example, cell phone use during mealtimes and over-indulgence in social media apps is bad. It gets even worse when we have to rebuke children for doing the same.

Instead, guidelines must be set and followed and the use of technology in the house should be kept to a minimum, especially during family interactions. Technology must be controlled during mealtimes when doing laundry, in the bedroom, and when children have to do homework. Double standards should be avoided during these moments!

We also have to learn and understand the emerging challenges so as to stay clear of technology abuse. The mom and dad in the 21st Century have to use technology in its entirety to understand the bottle-necks that come with its extremities in particular. Only then shall the modern parent understand the challenges of addiction and health-related side effects.

2. Indifference in Parenting

This is perhaps one of the most damaging examples of bad parenting styles. When we choose or ignorantly allow everyone else but us to raise up our children, we cross all known parenting boundaries. They will become exposed to ideas and behavior provided by volunteers, and the general public. Everyone else will parent them in the manner they deem fit and make choices for our children.

The general public does not abide by streamlined parenting guidelines and will unleash both positive and negative ideas and behavior. The latter usually takes precedence. Children will grow up with zero moral foundation and will thrive on peer and external influences. Consequently, they indulge in negative excesses detrimental to their upbringing and wellbeing.

When we are indifferent, we are also disengaged, unconcerned, uninvolved, unsupportive, unresponsive and care little about the desires and the wellbeing of our children. We fail to praise, advise, admonish, correct or even punish them for the wrong they do.

To avoid indifference, we should do these with our children:

  • Listen
  • Admonish
  • Correct
  • Help
  • Love
  • Talk to them face to face

3. Lack of Affection

We should go ahead and love our children even amidst the challenges of the 21st century

We all live a busy lifestyle today that we easily forget the importance of emotional indulgence with our children. The hustle and bustle of life, the stresses, and other distractions easily take center stage, thus leading to bad parenting styles. Lack of emotional indulgence is known to lead to unsocial behavior such as selfishness, social disorder, substance abuse and other forms of negativity.

All children want constant emotional involvement and doses of warmth from parents. Positive warmth and affection also make children achieve academic excellence when they start the academic pathway. They are also less likely to adopt deviant behavior.

According to Child Trends, a leading nonprofit organization involved in extensive child research,

Higher self-esteem, better parent-child communication, and fewer psychological and behavior problems have been linked to warmth and affection between parent and child.

Children feel loved when parents hug, compliment, thank, walk with and sit with them to read, and talk.

4. The Poor Listener in Us

It is interesting how ignorant we probably are about our poor listening skill. We are so eager to speak and command but less willing to listen. Even away from home, we listen in order to respond and not to understand the words we are told.

One symptom we are not listening to our children is when they repeatedly call us out, and for one reason or another, we are unresponsive because we are attending to other matters. Our attention is only drawn back to them when they scream aloud.

When a child yells out ‘Daddy’ or ‘Mummy’, we must sure to pay attention, look them in the eye, and partake in the communication. It does not matter where we are, with whom or whatever situation. We must lean over, listen and attend to their excitement and worries.

The feeling that we are listening and care builds a healthy and emotional relationship with them.

5. The Anger Trap

Manage anger
We must manage the anger trap in us, especially in the presence of children

When we become overwhelmed with work, are fatigued and angry at everything around us, there is always the possibility we tend to yell and scream at our children.

This is bad, and it gets worse if accompanied by swearing. Often times, younger children do not understand the wrong they have done. An angry tone will probably scare but not change children. On the contrary, they become fearful and associate less with us. Angry parents will only turn them into aggressive teens and adults. On the other hand, a warm and gentler tone is reassuring and makes them feel comfortable.

Parents who are very controlling when interacting with their infants may increase the likelihood that their babies tune in to angry voices, a new study shows.

When babies heard recordings of angry voices, an area of the brain involved in processing emotional vocalizations responded more sharply in infants with mothers and fathers who practiced more “directive” parenting, according to the study published in PLoS ONE.

Certain parenting behaviors may tune baby brains to angry tones

It is good to admonish, warn and make it clear what went wrong and what should have been done. This should be done in a friendly and warm tone. It is, however, an example of bad parenting styles when we always to use the angry tone at children.

If we must yell, which we all do, it is important to sit back and reflect and try not to do it again. We must also make amends by apologizing and explain that yelling is bad.

6. Lying

lying is a sign of bad parenting styles
We should always speak the truth in the presence of children

Lying is an addictive sin many of us find hard to shed off. It probably stems from inherited habits, and because it is easy to lie to children for convenience. We usually tell white lies to protect them and hide the truth. For example, we claim Santa actually exists just to cement the cult figure of Santa and entrap them in the cycle of gifts and presents.

Many African cultures will tell children they will receive money from rats every time they extract the milk teeth. When a rat ‘eats’ an extracted tooth, it is alleged, it leaves money behind for the child. Often times, parents actually place money strategically in the house to cement the lie.

We also believe white lies will protect the innocence in them against the harsh realities of the world. Whenever a child dislikes the birthday gift from a neighbor, whom we do not want to offend, we nudge them to report that the gift is actually wonderful!

As simple as this lie may appear, it is serious stuff. The trust and communication between the two sets of people receive a beating and may never be repaired. We need to be aware children know the truth or will find out eventually.

Children learn the trickery early on before 3 years when they lie for convenience e.g. crying just to grab our attention. They will perfect the trickery if we fall for it every so often.

Excessive lying will lead to dishonesty and cheating which can derail truthfulness altogether.

7. Child Comparison

Comparison is one of the not so much spoken ills in parenting. As simple as the habit may seem, it actually messes up the attitude children have in peers and their self-esteem. At a tender age, kids are not mentally prepared for negative criticism. They easily become emotional and therefore angry. Just as it hurts adults, they too take it badly and will nurse the hurt for long.

Important to remember is that no human, not even twins share the same characteristics to the dot. The differences may range from the obvious up to the shocking. While the eldest child will excel in mathematical tasks in class, the younger sibling may find solace in art. These differences are children normal and should not be used for manipulative reasons. We should never berate and favor one child over another.

According to research by BYU in 2015, comparing makes them remarkably different. The continued perception will create a rivalry that will last a lifetime!

The research goes ahead to say

… to help all children succeed, parents should focus on recognizing the strengths of each of their children and be careful about vocally making comparisons in front of them.

Out of the many side-effects, comparison as an example of bad parenting styles may lead to

  • low self-esteem
  • self-doubt
  • aggressiveness
  • nervousness

9. Excessive Pampering

Our desire as parents is to provide for our children in order to make their lives comfortable. This is a noble desire and of course, an obligation. Problems come in when we want to provide whatever they demand to the extent of spoiling them. This builds the spirit of materialism and the assumption that anything is available at the press of a button.

When availing stuff for children we need to consider a few things:

  • They will take everything for granted
  • We should never provide what a child can acquire through input at home
  • They should not be made to worship material things
  • The stuff we buy should not keep them busy all day, away from human interaction
  • We may be nurturing egoistic teens and adults if we over provide
  • The stuff we buy should not be used to compensate for our absence

Ultimately only shop for what is necessary.

10. A Bad Role Model

indulging in execessesis a sign of bad parenting styles
Set a good example by becoming what you want your children to become

Whereas we want children to do as told, little do we know that our actions matter more to them than our words. They look at us as role models and will re-invent themselves in our footsteps when they grow up.

How we interact with others, use technology, eat, drink, drive and even walk will be wired deep into their DNA. Everything we do and speak in their presence is absorbed and stored in bulk for future use.

Below are habits that children will pick from our bad parenting styles:

  • Alcoholism, especially when we become a nuisance after consumption
  • Driving: driving very fast, not using seat belts, drunken driving
  • Smoking
  • Foul language
  • Bad manners and etiquette
  • Money; how we manage, borrowing and fighting over money
  • And all the other ills outlined above

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