It has been a fun, tongue in cheek look at bad parenting, but you can learn a lot from looking at how NOT to parent your child. If you missed the previous installments, click here to Start at the first article.
8. The Screaming Match
Bad parenting most often results in a screaming match. For both parent and child, frustration and stress on the relationship are often expressed by emotions, and the most common emotion is yelling.
Screaming at your child, standing over them or poking your finger at them is rude, demeaning and closes communication with them. It lowers their respect for you and even if you scream but they fall silent, damage is being done which can last a lifetime.
Emotions are part of living in a family, and if you’ve had a particularly stressful day it’s not uncommon to feel like you want to scream. However, if you lose your temper you lose the plot, so take a breath, count to 10 and walk away until you are in control of your emotions.
Once you are calm enough, sit with your child and discuss the issue, focusing on them not on the problem. Allow them to express their emotions, but take a break if they are getting worked up. If you can calmly express the reasons for your decision without it becoming a screaming match then you have achieved a major victory.
Remember, the words you say cannot be retrieved, so take time aside to think and speak rationally and carefully to your child.
9. Criticizing Your Child
Experts tell us that criticism and verbal abuse can, like physical abuse, have a slow and negative affect on the development of children. In older kids it can cause low self-esteem and depression, and leave your kids feeling humiliated and betrayed as they grow up, oftentimes unable to maintain healthy relationships in later life.
Comparisons between siblings are some of the most damaging forms of criticism for developing children. It causes resentment between the kids and a feeling of favouritism which can negatively affect both children.
Public putdowns and shaming them in front of others can be equally as damaging. No one likes to be made to feel like a failure, so emphasizing that failure never causes good and always hurts a child.
Kids fail just like we all do at times. Instead of making negative comments in front of friends, and instead of comparing your children’s strengths and weaknesses, concentrate on building your child up, both publicly and privately.
Try to identify your child’s strengths and qualities that make sure that they feel great about these strengths. If you need to blow off steam about your child’s failings, do it alone to a trusted friend and make sure that they cannot hear you!
10. Too Much of a Good Thing
Most parents want to bless their children, but some feel that giving them everything they want is quite often not a good idea at all.
In our modern world there is a constant flow of new gadgets and fashions that every kid wants, especially as they hit the teenage years. Many parents give their children everything they ask for, and rather than their respect and love they receive venomous anger if they refuse to buy an expensive or inappropriate gadget.
Also, there is a constant stream of activities that your child can be involved in, and if you are not careful every afternoon and evening could be filled with things that your child wants to do, from tennis lessons to Karate, from guitar lessons to dance classes. Over-scheduling is a clear and present danger for the modern parent, and while the child might enjoy these activities, eventually they can give rise to tiredness, depression, headaches and declining grades.
Bad parenting gives children everything they want and finishes with miserable kids, but good parenting will choose selected activities and fashions and grant only these requests. Once again, parenting in the right way is a balancing act and wisdom and experience are your our allies.
As long as mankind has existed bad parenting has also existed. It is not an easy business trying to raise children and help them develop into successful adults, but it is among the most satisfying things you will ever do in life.