You hear a piercing scream and turn to see a child knock a row of boxes off the grocery store shelf, then observe flabbergasted as the mother smiles mindlessly. Reality TV shows show parents getting drunk and cursing while their children play and mimic their behavior in the background. The effects of bad parenting are evident from incidents such as the former to parents who lock their children in cages for disciplinary purposes. Raising kids is not always a “Brady Bunch” episode, and parents are no more perfect than their children. Because you do not want your little one on the psychiatrist’s couch in the future complaining about the woes of her childhood, it is crucial to know the effects bad parenting might have on your children.
You are not a friend to your child. Permissive parents who treat their child like a BFF might end up with a monster who decides that if no one else chooses to be king of the castle, she will. Child psychologist Kenneth N. Condrell states that permissive parents abdicate authority by not being assertive with their children. A child needs guidance at every fork in the road in order to successfully navigate the series of choices he will face as he grows.
Helicopter parents who hover over their kids from the womb through college are the nemesis of doctors, teachers and others who work with children. These parents want to help their child but often end up crippling them by not allowing them to make decisions that can lead to failure. Without the risk of defeat, she might never experience victory. It is in your nature as a parent to protect your children, but too much caution might lead to your precious darling not leaving home until they are 40. Let your children fail to lead them to success.
OK. That’s it. You’re grounded for a month. That might be a scenario you are familiar with from your own childhood. And you also might remember that some parents retreat from enforcing that punishment because they realized that they have punished themselves for their child’s misdeeds. Do not lay down repercussions if you cannot stick to them. Children need to know they can trust what you say, and that goes double for consequences. If you back down enough times they will peg you for a pushover. FamilyDoctor.org suggests that being consistent means keeping the rules the same all the time.
Negative vs. Positive Reinforcement
When little Johnny sticks his finger in a light socket, do you smack his hand and say, “Bad boy,” or do you calmly explain the dangers of electrical outlets while? Some instances might require a “Great job!” and others a stern rebuke. Studies at the Yale Parenting Center studies show that specific praise is a powerful tool for changing behavior, whereas harsher negative punishments work only in the short term. It is likely you will do a little of both, and a balance is the best you can hope for when raising children.
Physical Punishment or Verbal Abuse
Is it OK to physically punish children, call them names or verbally assault them? The spanking debate rages on in communities around the world, and it is always a touchy subject. Much of how you choose to discipline your children has to do with culture and upbringing. It might be helpful to look into alternatives to physical admonishment, including timeouts, grounding, removing favorite toys and limiting screen time. These punishments might work just as well as corporal punishment. Don’t verbally abuse or put down a child. You might lose control at times when the kids are running wild, but take a breath, get a grip and remain calm. Try to control hurtful comments that might come out during moments of parenting weakness.