16 Signs of bad parenting and how to fix them


So you have been locked in your house by COVID-19 and you have realized that it’s not really the environment that you had thought it was, and definitely not what you had dreamt it would be. Nobody wants to be a bad or toxic parent, let alone create a toxic home environment. My previous post looked at how to stay sane in a toxic home environment. This post will look at 16 signs of bad parenting and how to fix them.

When reality hits

You have realized your marriage is not what it really seemed to be. And your children are not the perfect kids that you had thought you had raised. It’s easy to believe that all is rosy when you leave home at 6 AM in the morning and return home at 6 PM in the evening. There’s so much to overlook and so much to be missed. The eight to nine hours or more that you spend away from home act as an asylum for you.

Until you are locked in and you begin to crawl under each other’s skin. There’s no getting away, no asylum. You are forced to spend so much time with your family especially children. Did you know that its easier to pretend for a few hours? When locked in, how long will you pretend?

As parents, Its never obvious what the results of our parenting are likely to be. We can only hope and pray for the best. How ever, delinquent or toxic children are often as a result of bad parenting styles, dysfunctional families, and toxic home environment. Bad parenting styles create a toxic home environment that can leave devastating effects on a child’s outcome as an adult emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.

16 Signs of bad parenting and how to fix them

Parenting is the most difficult task on earth because of the lives that are being built under your care and watch. Usually, bad parenting is not intentional. Most often, we parents do certain things in the name of love and wanting the best for our children and dependants. But your love shouldn’t hurt and the best that you hope for should not turn someone into a monster or a dysfunctional person whose whole life has been ruined by your rigidity.

So you have realized that you have created a toxic home environment for your children or dependants by being a bad parent. And you feel bad about it. You may feel that the harm is already done and there’s nothing you can do about it, but that’s not true. You can fix this. But you have to be patient with yourself and those around you. All good things take time to take effect, change cannot be forced. Gradual change is the most effective kind of change, abrupt change does not usually last.

Let’s look at the 16 signs of bad parenting and how to fix them.

You have a favorite child

Ideally, you should have equal affection for all the young ones under you. But if for some reason you happen to have a very soft spot for a particular one, try not to show it to the others. Showing it may increase sibling rivalry and create psychological and emotional problems for the less favored one. The best is for you to avoid favoritism because children are very perceptive and no matter how hard you try to hide it, they will catch it.

You compare your children

They are your children we understand, but they are also independent human beings with different personalities, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Nothing hurts more than being compared to someone else. If you want to encourage the child to do better, try to do so without saying things like; “Why can’t you be like…” or “… got better results than this!” This causes feelings of inadequacy and damages self-esteem.

Another thing you have to consider is that every one of your children has different emotional needs. Don’t assume they all have the same needs. They have different personalities thus value things differently. Try to discover and respect that.

You often get physical

Beating or spanking should be your last resort of discipline. It has been proven by psychology scholars that violence and aggression are actually addictive. Because of the rewarding relief that one gets out of avenging oneself or executing “punishment” for bad behavior. To avoid making a habit of getting physical, try other compassionate forms of discipline. Or try not to act when you are really upset. Allow yourself to calm down before you react to a situation.

You have a tendency to discipline the child in public

There’s always a time and appropriate place for everything, discipline inclusive. Doing this will cause shame and bring down the child’s self-esteem. It may even encourage bullying from peers. A well-groomed child will rarely embarrass you in public. If they do, it can wait till you get home. This may even give you enough time to cool down. However, don’t fuel your fury while you’re waiting to get home least you blow the discipline out of proportion and end up hurting the child.

Your children or dependants are unreasonably afraid of you

There’s a fine line between respect and fear. The ideal thing is respect in the home. Throwing your weight around doesn’t make you more of a parent or win you genuine respect. It has been proven that loyalty is better won by love and not tyranny.

You expect perfect results all the time

Perfectionism is toxic in the sense that it often leaves those around you feeling lonely, insecure, worthless, and unable to perform. Parents that exhibit traits of perfectionism are likely to produce children with insecurity issues, anxiety, depression, mental health problems, and personality disorders. Be patient with children, learning is a gradual process, and accept good effort.

Some parents demand perfection because they want their child to become something or someone they had hoped to be but for some reason had failed to achieve. Avoid the temptation of living your dreams through your children. They are people with their own dreams and hopes for the future. You had your run and your race may be done, you can’t be in the race twice. If you still have the energy, go and do or be what you had always dreamt of yourself, unlike breathing down the child’s throat.

You demand unreasonable respect or reverence

Unless you run a dictatorship kind of parenting style, demanding excessive reverence from a child is considered toxic. Try to teach the child how to respect and love you without installing fear.

Your children or dependants are not free to express themselves to you

16 Signs of bad parenting and how to fix them

Allow the child to express themselves freely. That is the only way you can learn and understand what you are dealing with. Children are not little robots. They are little human beings with emotions and a mind of their own. I often learn a thing or two just listening to my sons speak their mind. I find myself being a better parent when I take the time to hear what they think about how the home is being run. Occasionally, I sit with the adolescent dependents too and hear them out. It promotes liberty, peace, and harmony in the home.

You criticize more than you give affirmation or praise

Try to give positive affirmations more than you criticize. Probably you criticize so much because they never do things properly according to your standards. How about you give them a chance to be children a little? They will never do things according to your standards by virtue of them being children. Children will always be children, their brain and levels of reasoning are not as developed as yours. If there’s one among them who is exceptional, that’s ok, people mature at different levels.

You think you are always right

As long as one is human, he/she is not always right and that includes parents. We are all prone to wrong decisions and wrong perceptions. Children are obliged to respect and submit to their parents, however, parents should also accept their humanity in that at times, it’s possible that you may be wrong and the child might be right. Especially if it’s matters that concern the child personally.

You are overprotective

As a parent, it’s your duty to protect the child from both the known and the unknown, however overdoing it has adverse effects. Studies have shown that overprotective parents tend to produce children that have dependency syndrome, chronic anxiety, psychological disorders such as low self-esteem, depression, and chronic lying.

Such children are usually doubtful, insecure, attention seekers, and people pleasers. They are also likely to grow into perfectionists which is often a toxic trait. Try to balance up your parenting styles to avoid smothering your child. Sadly, we protect the child from everything else and forget to protect him/her from ourselves.

You are a bad example

Happy parents produce happy healthy offspring. You are a bad example to your child if you are unhappy, grumpy, bitter, reckless, petty, negative, nagging, violent, a substance abuser, impatient… the list goes on but I think you get my point. Get rid of negativity and have a positive attitude towards life.

You yell, scream or cuss at the children or dependants

This is often a sign of bad temper and poor anger management. Constantly yelling generates fear, low self-worth, low self-esteem, and psychological disorders. Nothing hurts more than words, It’s known that words have the power to build and to destroy. Its been proven that yelling and harsh parenting alters the development of a child’s brain in a negative way. As a parent its important to watch your mouth and your mood. Read 7 ways of dealing with an anxiety attack if you are a parent affected by anxiety.

The children or dependants around you are often sad or crying

16 Signs of bad parenting and how to fix them

This is the best indication that your parenting style may both be bad and mean. The happiness of those under you is your responsibility. It is from you that they will learn how to be happy as people in adulthood. Find other ways of dealing with stress other than projecting on those around you especially not on helpless defenseless children. This is another form of bullying.

Your children or dependants go out of their way to please you

If this is happening, it might mean that nothing anyone does is ever good enough for you. Which is a big problem. It’s also most likely that you rarely even notice their efforts to please you. Try to notice more of the good things that the child does than the bad. This will impact positivity in the child and they won’t have to feel like they have to lose a limb just to win your affection or attention. Try to be supportive.

Your children or dependants often lie to you

Scholars of psychology say abused or traumatized children have a propensity for chronic lying. Overprotective and strict parents also tend to have lying children. The same goes for perfectionist parents or those that rule with an iron hand thus installing fear and depriving adequate self-expression in their children. If you are having a lying child, instead of raining down anger and spite on them, try to revisit your parenting styles and loosen up a little.

Take caution if your child has;

  • Written you a heartbreaking note or letter at one point with a heartfelt complaint.
  • Has attempted running away from home at one point or another.
  • Tendencies of constantly speaking of self-harm or says bad things about themselves.
  • Not spoken to you for a long time.
  • Abandoned social events especially family activities.

Why the kind of home environment you create matters?

The world is becoming an unsafe place to be with an alarming rise in levels of crime, murder cases, abuse cases, violence, theft, psychopaths, failed and dysfunctional marriages, etc. The people behind all such evils are created in the home. Background plays a significant role in one’s outcome as an adult.

If you want to change the world, go home and love your family

16 Signs of bad parenting and how to fix them

We complain about the world every day and yet we are neglecting the answer to all that. I’m not saying working on your parenting styles in order to create a conducive home environment will fix all the problems of the world. But in the long run, cases of delinquency will reduce and the world will be made a better place. If each of us parents takes responsibility for the betterment of mankind by bettering our home environment, we will make a huge difference. Just as mother Theresa said, if you want to change the world, go home and love your family.

You cannot love your family by creating a toxic home environment. In my previous post, I spoke of a ripple effect in which a bitter child grows into a bitter adult, and in turn, raises bitter offspring that will also grow into bitter parents to raise bitter children… Its a sequence of bitter generations and generations creates communities and cities. If you are reading this article, you have to help put an end to the lethal ripple effect as I call it.

If you run a home and you have young ones under your care, you literally have been entrusted with the power to create. What you will decide to create is totally in your power. However, you should understand that every individual is unique with a distinct personality. Some characters are unbreakable, some are fragile. You cannot really tell which one is strong because some children merely build a brick wall around them pretending not to care while they are hurting inside and turning into cold monsters. If you are a parent right now, you are simply creating tomorrow. Are you creating a mess or a masterpiece?

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