Now, before you get worked up over the signs of bad parenting styles discussed below, rest assured there is no such thing as perfect parenting. We all succumb to parenting howlers every now and then. Parenting challenges keep piling even as we tag along in the 21st Century.
Question is, how do we
Unlike traditional parenting styles inherited from the last century, we now deal with the protracted influence of digitalization and globalization. It is a bit scary yes but the situation could become worse if we choose to remain ignorant of the new trends.
Just a few signs of bad parenting to address
Despite everything, certain fundamental basics will always remain at the core of parenting, and our ability to embrace them fully or partially will make or break our children.
1. Unmetered Tech Use
The invasion of tech and related devices demand we twist parenting styles to suit them. We have to adopt and adapt. It all starts with parents getting into the nitty-gritty of technology and globalization and using the knowledge to provide informed parenting.
An informed dad and mom will get to understand the health and social related side effects of tech if not controlled. And through leading by example, can set the right path for children.
For example, it is bad for a parent to use a cell phone during mealtimes and spends the whole evening on social media, while ignoring the rest of the family. Kids will assume it is the normal way things are done.
Instead, guidelines must set and followed and overall tech use in the house should be set to a minimal.
2. Indifference in Parenting
This is perhaps one of the most damaging examples of bad parenting. When we choose or unknowingly allow everyone else but us to raise up our children, we cross all known parenting boundaries. This way, we are leaving our children exposed.
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 advise, admonish, correct or even redirect their mistakes. Still, we do not praise their good deeds. As a result, they indulge in negative excesses detrimental to their wellbeing.
Such parenting implies we have no set rules at home, which ultimately allows everyone else to set them and make choices for our children. Thus, society takes the lead role in doing what a parent usually does.
And since society does not abide by streamlined parenting guidelines it will unleash both good and bad. The latter usually takes precedence. The child will grow up with no moral foundation and will thrive on peer and foreign influence
To avoid indifference, we should do these with our children:
3. Lack of Affection
We live a busy lifestyle today that we easily forget the importance of emotional indulgence with our children. The hustle and bustle of life, the stress, and other obstructions easily take center stage and leads to bad parenting styles.
The fact is, children love constant emotional treats and doses of loving warmth from parents.
Higher self-esteem, better parent-child communication, and fewer psychological and behavior problems have been linked to warmth and affection between parent and child.
This is according to Child Trends, a leading nonprofit organization which is involved in extensive child research. Positive warmth and affection also make children achieve academic excellence better during adolescence. They are also less likely to adopt deviant behavior during the same age bracket.
Children feel loved when parents, hug, compliment, thank, walk and sit with them to read, talk and watch a movie.
The lack of emotional indulgence is known to lead to unsocial behavior such as selfishness, social disorder, substance abuse and other forms of negativity.
4. Poor Listening
It is interesting how many of us are ignorant about our poor listening skills. We are so eager to speak and command but less willing to listen.
One symptom you are not listening to your child is when she repeatedly calls you out and for one reason or another, you are attending to other matters. Your attention will be drawn back only when your child screams out.
It is fulfilling when children get us to listen to them. When a child yells out ‘Daddy’ or ‘Mummy’ make sure to pay attention, look them in the eye, and partake in the communication. It does not matter where you are, with whom or whatever situation. Lean over, listen and attend to your excited or otherwise worried child. The feeling that we are listening and care builds a healthy and emotional relationship with them.
5. The Anger Trap
When we become overwhelmed with work, are fatigued and angry at everything around us, there is always the possibility we shall yell and scream at our children.
This is bad, and it gets worse if accompanied by swearing. Often times, kids do not truly understand the wrong they have done. If you yell once, which we all do occasionally, it is important to sit back and reflect and try not to do it again.
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. Reflect on the effects your anger and tone has on children.
An angry tone will probably scare but not change the child. On the contrary, the child will become fearful and will associate less with you. It could also turn him into an aggressive teen and adult. On the other hand, a warm and gentler tone is reassuring to children and makes them feel comfortable.
If you find out you are yelling at your child, make amends by apologizing and explain that yelling is bad. Otherwise, he or she will learn that yelling at others helps to make a point clear.
Lying is an addictive habit many of us fail to shed off. It probably stems from inherited habits, or because it is easy to lie than, to tell the truth.
Children learn the trickery early on before 3 years when they lie for truthful convenience e.g. crying just to grab your attention. They will perfect the trickery if parents fall for it.
Parents tell lies to children to hide the truth. For example, we claim Santa is real just to cement the cult figure of Santa and for other reasons. We assume the white lies are will protect the innocence in children against the harsh reality of the world.
Whatever the case, a lying parent will cement this habit in the child especially when the lies are about serious stuff. In case the child dislikes the birthday gift from the neighbor, he or she is told to lie that the gift is 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 revived. We need to be aware children know the truth or will find out eventually. Excessive lying also leads to dishonesty and cheating. This can derail truthfulness altogether.
7. Child Comparison
It is one of the not so much spoken ills in parenting: the habit of comparing one child against another.
As simple as the comparison may seem it messes up the attitude and development of a child that is deemed lesser. At a tender age, kids are not mentally accustomed to negative criticism. 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 the younger sibling may find solace in art. This is absolutely normal. In the event of this and other difference never berate and favor one child over another.
According to a research by BYU in 2015, comparing one child against another makes them remarkably different. The continued perception will create rivalry which may not be what parents wished for in the first place.
Out of the many, the comparison may lead to,
- low self-esteem
It is smart to accept, praise and appreciate the ability of children but in terms of comparison.
9. Excessive Pampering
Our desire as parents is to provide for our children to make their lives comfortable. This is a very noble desire and obligation.
Problems come in when we are driven to provide whatever they demand to the extent of spoiling them. This builds a foundation of materialism and assumption that anything is available at the press of a button.
When availing stuff to children we need to consider a few things:
- They will take everything for granted
- Never provide what a child can acquire through input at home
- They should be made to worship material things
- The stuff we busy should not detach from human interaction the whole day
- We may be nurturing egoistic teens and adults
- The stuff we buy should not compensate for our absence
Ultimately only shop for what is necessary.
10. A Bad Role Model
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 reinvent themselves in our footsteps.
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. This starts right from the first year and intensifies through the 3rd to the 8th.
Habits that children are picking up from us:
- Alcoholism: becoming a nuisance after consumption, and drunken driving.
- Driving: driving very fast, not using seat belts.
- Foul language.
- Bad manners and etiquette.
- Money; how we manage, borrowing and fighting over money.
- And all the other ills outlined above.