Parenting might be the toughest job that anyone can ever do. At every stage, anything you do is mostly irreversible, and especially if you’re a first-time parent, it can be horrifying. For most parents, they learn along the way, getting better at it day by day. In the end, all a parent wants is for their child to be happy, successful, and healthy. There are lots of things that can go wrong, which are unavoidable but there are a few points that you can definitely keep in mind. Here are nine things that bad parents get up to without realising they’re bad for their child.
1. They Don’t Encourage Independence
As a parent, one can be afraid of letting the child do his or her own thing. After all, something terrible could happen – kids don’t know what they’re doing! However, a study at Vanderbilt University has found that this could lead to more harm than good (1). Not encouraging independence leads to low self-esteem and low self-confidence. It may even cause the child to be unable to resist peer pressure and be poor at resolving conflicts.
2. They’re Over Controlling
The need to control might come naturally to some parents as they believe they know what’s best for their child. After all, who is to question that the wisdom of an adult is greater than that of a child? But being over controlling can cause the child to have increased levels of anxiety and depression (2).
3. They Yell
Verbal discipline is one thing, but yelling at a child, or sometimes even swearing, can be severe on them. A study at the University of Pittsburgh found a link between shouting and depression as well as behavioural problems (3).
4. They’re Authoritarian
In the 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumride found there to be three kinds of parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive (4). The best approach is authoritative: pushing the child in the right direction using rational and open communication. The worst approach is authoritarian: parents who tell their kids, “Because I said so.” Not giving them a reason they can understand can lead to a lot of trouble in the future.
5. They Use Their Cell Phone Around Their Kids
A study showed that parents who use technology-based distractions can have a negative impact on the well being of the child and long reaching negative effects (5).
6. They Allow Too Much TV
A study published in the Journal of Paediatrics showed that a lot of television before the age of three showed the negative impact it has. It showed an increasedrisk of bullying other children, lower language skills development, and participation in activities (6). It can also cause attention problems and worse performances in mathematics overall.
7. They’re Cold Or Distant
Various studies have shown that parents who do not offer the warmth that a growing child needs have a negative impact (7). It can lead to insecurity, emotional difficulties, and subsequent behavioural problems. Children who don’t get the praise of their parents for accomplishments could suffer from social withdrawal or anxiety.
8. They Use Spanking As A Punishment
Spanking used to be the go-to punishment not long ago. Black-ish even addressed the topic in one of its season one episodes (8). The question of how to discipline a child is a debate that is unlikely to die down anytime soon. However, science, after decades of research, has concluded that spanking is definitely harmful. It causes hyperactivity, aggressive behaviour, and frequent opposition in children. Not to mention the myriad of mental health problems and cognitive difficulties.
There are many pitfalls of child rearing when you’re doing things the same way your parents did them. Thanks to science and years of research, we now know what not to do. Hopefully, these eight tips can allow you to avoid the obvious mistakes that a lot of first time parents make. Remember, you want your child to be happy, healthy, and successful and definitely not have any of the negative characteristics discussed above. Best of luck!