Parenting is not an easy task. It takes a lot of patience, understanding, and skill to be a good parent. If you are struggling with bad parenting skills, then this blog post is for you! We will discuss 20 signs of bad parents as well as what you can do if it’s something you’re struggling with.
What is bad parenting?
The idea of bad parenting is open to a wide array of interpretations. At a very basic level, it’s parenting in a way that hurts your kids, either in the short term or the long term. But bad parenting can also mean something more specific, like not providing for your kids or putting them in harm’s way. Sometimes bad parenting is about neglecting one of the kid’s needs (food, shelter, safety).
Why bad parents aren’t always bad people
You’ll get no shaming or judgement here. Parenting is really really hard. Most bad parents aren’t deliberately damaging their kids. They just lack the skills to be good parents.
Sometimes it’s not even your fault. There’s plenty of research that indicates that humans are predisposition to parent the way our parents parented us (sorry, that was a mouthful). So if your parents were terrible parents, then there’s a high likelihood that parenting is going to be a struggle for you.
20 Dangerous Signs of Terrible Parenting
If you’re worried about your toxic parenting strategy, look no farther. Here are 20 of the worst signs of bad parenting.
You dish out punishments that don’t fit the crime
Using extreme or punitive punishments is a common sign of bad parenting. Here are a few examples of extreme punishments:
- If you don’t stop playing video games right now, you’re grounded for the entire summer.
- If you don’t answer your cell phone when I call, I’m going to sell your car.
- Clean your room, or I’m going to throw away all of your toys.
- If you don’t pass the ball in soccer, I’m going to make you quit the team.
You call your child names
Name calling is never acceptable. You’re the adult. You’re supposed to model good behavior. If you wouldn’t allow your children to call you names, you should never, ever do it to them. This includes common names like “brat”, “jerk” and “bad kid.”
This is a particularly bad habit if you’re calling them offensive or naughty words.
You shame your child
Shaming is bad for a number of reasons. Shame has been shown to undermine our self-esteem and diminish our ability to learn from mistakes or failure. It can also cause serious mental health problems like depression, anxiety and eating disorders (and those are just some examples).
You make comparisons between
Comparing one child to another is a bad parenting habit for many reasons. First of all, it’s unfair. It pits siblings against each other and creates bad feelings in the family dynamics (and sometimes even outside the home). Secondly, you’re teaching kids that they’re only as worthy as someone else thinks they are. This sets them up for unhealthy relationships and a bad self-perception.
You label your kids
This is an extremely common habit of parents! You might hear a mom refer to a child as her “athletic one” or “the naughty child”. Labeling kids puts them in boxes and limits their potential. It creates a fixed mindset, where they believe they are who they are, and there’s nothing they can do about it.
Labels tend to demotivate kids as well. And it can be really bad for the child’s self-esteem.
You yell and scream
If you find yourself yelling frequently, it means you’re not communicating effectively. Parents who yell and scream tend to have kids who yell and scream. It’s a bad cycle that can turn into a bad habit for both parent and child.
Your child’s opinions don’t matter to you
A child’s primary goal in life is to feel a sense of belonging and significance. If you never take their thoughts, ideas, and opinions into consideration, you’re sending the message that they don’t matter. This will seriously damage their self-esteem and feelings of worth.
You’re sarcastic and passive aggressive
Sarcasm and passive aggressiveness are defense mechanisms. If you’re using these on your child, you’re probably damaging your relationship with your child. They’re likely to feel bad about themselves, and they’re definitely not learning the lesson you’re intending to teach.
You have no idea what your child is up to
Neglectful parenting is a scary parenting strategy. If you have no idea what your child is up to, it’s time for a parenting intervention! Kids need boundaries and guidance. If you’re not providing them with these things, they’re at risk for a number of bad situations, such as physical harm, bad grades, bad relationships and even crime.
You never show affection
Kids need affection. If you’re not showing them love on a regular basis, they’ll be missing out on some very important bonding time with their parent. This is bad for the child’s mental health and emotional well-being in general! Try to give your children at least 12 hugs a day.
You dismiss them constantly
Telling your child to “stop”, “go away” or “quit it” isn’t always bad, but when it becomes a constant, it’s an issue. This is not an effective form of communication, and their attention-seeking behavior is likely due to inadequate time with you.
You don’t provide a safe place for mistakes
Kids make mistakes. Great parents welcome mistakes and the opportunities to teach their kids to do better. It’s common for parents who lack parenting skills to expect perfection out of their kids. But kids are human, and they’re learning how to live along side other humans. As parents, we need to provide a safe space for children to learn from mistakes and grow as human beings.
You never offer advice or instructions
Sometimes bad parenting happens because of lack of communication. If you never give your kids advice and instructions, they’re going to be lost and confused. This is dangerous for them in many ways (such as not knowing how to make good choices or not understanding the consequences).
You don’t express your pride or gratitude
Praise and gratitude are a huge part of healthy parenting. If you’re not expressing your pride or gratitude to your child, they’ll believe that what they do has no value and isn’t worthy of praise from anyone else either.
You set poor examples
Kids do what you do, not what you say. If you’re badmouthing people or bad-mouthing yourself, your kids are going to mimic you. If you lie and cheat, they’ll lie and cheat. They’re watching everything you do and imitating it in the hopes of being just like their parent(s) (whether they realize it or not).
You clear every obstacle for your child
Lawnmower and helicopter parenting are dangerous parenting styles. They’re often used out of love – wanting to make every thing easy for your precious child. This includes calling their teachers to discuss test scores, making all their appointments, and talking to the coach to make sure they play their fair share of minutes during the soccer match.
By clearing every obstacle in your child’s path, they never learn how to handle tough situations. They won’t develop coping mechanisms to handle disappointment. And they won’t develop the sense of pride and confidence that comes with overcoming challenges. Ultimately, they will turn into entitled teens and adults who struggle socially.
You physically intimidate or abuse your child
Parents are expected to protect their children, not hurt them. If you physically intimidate or abuse your child, they will likely grow up feeling bad about themselves and bad towards others. They may also retaliate by becoming abusive themselves (and eventually repeat the cycle with their own kids).
You don’t make time for your child
Bad parenting often happens because of bad time management. We all have busy lives, but there’s always time to spend with your kids (even if it means canceling an appointment or meeting).
You don’t know how your child is doing in school
If you don’t know how your child is doing in school, you’re probably not involved enough in your child’s life. Kids brains are still developing up until the age of 20, and until then, they need guidance and support. If you don’t provide this for them, bad things can happen (such as your child dropping out of school or failing courses).
You always have a criticism
If you constantly find fault with your child, they will start believing that they’re not capable of doing anything right. It’s a great way to create a bad self-esteem that will stay with them their entire lives.
Being overprotective is bad parenting in a number of ways. For starters, it’s frustrating to the child because they want more freedom and aren’t being given any space or room for growth. Secondly, you’re creating an “entitled teen” who will eventually blame you for all their problems (even though these are things that your kid should have learned to handle themselves).
The Long Term Impacts of Bad Parenting
Bad parenting shapes kids into who they are as adults. And it’s difficult for adults to overcome the challenges of poor-self esteem, mental illness, and trauma that occurred during childhood.
If bad parenting continues throughout your child’s life, they’ll have trouble learning how to behave appropriately in social situations. They might also develop bad habits that are hard to break (such as lying or cheating). And the cycle of bad parenting will continue on for generations with their own kids!
And bad parenting can lead to parent/child estrangement, which can be extremely difficult for the parents.
How you can turn around your parenting
Parenting skills are learned. If you’re not deliberate about your parenting strategy, you can’t expect to see progress and change.
So the best way to tackle your bad parenting habits is to take a parenting course. Find a parenting methodology that speaks to you, and dive right in.
We love Positive Parenting Solutions. It’s a yelling-free parenting philosophy that can change your family dynamic in a matter of days. And you can take the introductory course for free right now.
It’s a jam-packed 60 minute parenting class that will change your thoughts about parenting. It’s the best 60 minutes you’ll spend all year.