Everyone faces different challenges when growing up.
While some children can flourish and become well-adjusted adults, others may not be so blessed with ideal conditions.
And while you love them for the most part, a big attribute to this disfunction is how your parents raised you.
Here are some parenting mistakes that negatively affect their children’s growth.
Disclaimer: If you can relate to any of these signs, please do not take this feedback as an attack on your character. This article was meant to be a self-improvement guide for those of you who have been feeling a little stuck.
Comparing to other kids
Do your parents always try to compare you with their friend’s child? Or the smartest kid in your class?
If so, this can build insecurity. A parent plays a big role in a child’s confidence in their earlier years, and by comparing and diminishing their efforts, you’ll lead them to feel a sense of inadequacy. While it’s natural to ascertain a child’s development relative to others, doing so verbally can cause more harm than good. This can make them feel immense pressure for something they may not naturally have — which can cause anxiety, low self-esteem issues, and the potential inhibition of talents that they can develop and be good at.
Overly involved parenting
Have you ever heard of the term ‘helicopter parenting’?
A helicopter parent is overly involved and protective of what their child does, so much so that it hinders the child from making necessary independent decisions that can lead to growth. The reason many parents do this is usually rooted in well-meaning sentiments: they don’t want their child to get hurt, suffer from loss and disappointment, and so on.
But in doing so, the child can encounter setbacks. According to a study published in Developmental Psychology®, children with helicopter parents have a harder time navigating complex school environments. In addition, they’ll also have to undergo unlearning coping skills and expectations of how the world treats them, as well as learning how to resolve failure and conflict resolution later in life.
Not setting boundaries
Do your parents have a set of boundaries for you to work with, or are they more loose and compromising?
For some parents, you may feel guilty when you go against the wishes of your child. But setting limits and boundaries teaches children about having appropriate behavior and self-discipline.
Setting rules can also help keep them safe and healthy. One way to implement this is by making them choose between two variables. If you want a child to stop playing video games, tell them they have to clean the dishes or take out the trash. Chances are, that’ll make them do one of the tasks — even if they’d probably prefer doing neither!
Failure stings at first, but it’s a chance for growth. And this is especially true for children.
For the most part, it’s perfectly acceptable for a child to experience failure. If your child insists on not wearing a coat out and ends up being cold, or some other low-stakes task, consider allowing it! The learning experience shapes them into realizing the consequences of their actions, which can pave the way for growth and a more failure-resilient mindset.
Discouraging failure and promoting perfectionism (ala helicopter parenting) leads to a child feeling paralyzed, guilty, and ashamed once they go through eventual obstacles later in life. It can lead to procrastination due to the fear of having to get things right the first time. Instead, teaching your child that failure is normal and recognize their efforts to try can instill confidence in them to stand up and try again.
Do you often pick up your child late after school? Are you often too busy to pay attention and engage with them daily?
An attentive, caring parent is one of the hallmarks of a good childhood. While parenting can be a daunting balance between juggling work and family, children need plenty of love and affection, especially when they’re still figuring out who they are and how they interact with the world.
If a parent is absent or unreliable in a child’s life, this can physically alter the way a child’s brain is formed (Harvard, 2013). This imposed brain architecture follows them into adulthood and, more often than not, can increase the risk of behavioral and cognitive disorders, as well as make it harder to maintain intimate relationships.
Do you feel like you relate to any of the mistakes above?
While it can be a major hurdle to overcome challenges in childhood, we hope you know that you’re so much more than your past. You’re a great, wonderful, and considerate person — and we all know we need more people like you in the world.
And as for parents — there’s nothing harder than raising a child, especially if you’re doing it by yourself. We hope you know that you’re doing a great job, and although you may not be perfect, the fact that you’re taking steps to recognize these mistakes means a bright future for your child.
That’s all for now Psych2Goers!
N.A. June 18, 2018. Helicopter Parenting May Negatively Affect Children’s Emotional Well-Being, Behavior. Retrieved at https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2018/06/helicopter-parenting
The Contemporary Psychoanalysis Group. (Mar 13, 2017) Why We Shouldn’t Fear Failure. Retrieved at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201703/why-we-shouldn-t-fear-failure
no name. no date. Stop Comparing Your Child with Others. Being the Parent. https://www.beingtheparent.com/stop-comparing-your-child/
Gill, K. (Sept 12, 2019) What Is Helicopter Parenting?. Retrieved at https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/helicopter-parenting
Harvard. (nd) Neglect. Center of the Developing Child. Retrieved at https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/deep-dives/neglect/
Lindberg, S. Sept 25, 2020. Bad Parenting: Signs, Effects, and How to Change It. Healthline Retrieved at https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/bad-parenting
Center on the Developing Child (2013). The Science of Neglect (InBrief). Retrieved from www.developingchild.harvard.edu.