Parenting behaviours that can be toxic for kids.

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There is no surprise that the presence of a parent(s) in childhood has a direct impact on a child’s learning and behaviour. Child psychologists have explored the relationship between parents and child over the years and it is evident that consistent responsiveness across early childhood predicts faster rates of personal, cognitive, social and educational growth. Of course, when it comes to parenting, there is no “one size fits all.” In fact, changing styles of parenting is important depending on different situations. Child psychologists have suggested that four parenting styles; Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive and Neglectful, are pivotal to shaping a child’s development. These Parenting styles are based on the work of Diana Baumrind, child psychologist, and Stanford researchers Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin.

Parenting styles by a Child psychologist

1. Authoritative - These parents are highly involved in their child’s lives and tend to have set boundaries, rules and expectations as to how their children should behave. While having a strong presence in the child’s life they also try and understanding their child's thoughts, feelings and opinions, and encourage them to have open communication and discussions with their child

2. Permissive - Parents who are more “happy-go-lucky” when it comes to parenting and usually allow their children to make their own decisions to avoid any conflict or to please their child. These parents tend to have low to no demands for their child.

3. Neglectful - Neglectful parents are those that are not very emotionally present in their child's life. They tend to mostly be occupied or overwhelmed by other things that they don't respond to the child’s needs and wants nor do they expect or demand much from the child. They are almost indifferent to the child's day to day life.

4. Authoritarian - These parents are usually the overbearing parents who tend to expect and demand a lot from their children while not providing them with much response to their behaviours. For example expecting alot in achieving academic success at school while offering little praise if they do well. They usually demand behaviours by saying “because i said so '' rather than having an open discussion with the child.

Of these parenting styles, previous research done by child psychologists has shown that Authoritative parenting styles are likely to have the most positive impact on a child’s development because of the warmth and acceptance the child feels with this style of parenting.

Some parents' behaviours can be toxic for kids. Parenting styles that may be toxic include; Authoritarian parenting, neglectful and permissive. For instance, Neglectful or “uninvolved” parents prevent the child from feeling loved and accepted and thus the child may go on to having low self-control, low self-esteem, and be less competent than their peers. Moreover, parents who are Authoritarian in nature and have high demands or expectations, may inculcate obedient and proficient personalities but a child can also feel like they are ‘never good enough’, causing lots of stress and developing an overall low feeling of happiness. Finally, although permissive parents are very involved in their child’s life and tend to have very low demands or expectation from their child leading to minimal stress, it may mean a childs anti-social behaviours will be overlooked and thus a child is more likely to show behavioural problems which will affect different aspects of their learning and developmental progress.

We discussed how certain parenting styles can directly have toxic consequences on children. However, sometimes, it's not the relationship parents have with their child that can be toxic but the relationship between both the parents and the toxic behaviours i.e. arguments and fights that the child observes that can negatively impact their development. Conflict exists in every family. It has been widely researched by child psychologists that parental conflicts can be especially toxic for kids, as it affects their educational, social, cognitive and bio-psychological performance and can also later on have negative impacts on marriage-life and other aspects of their whole life.

Research by child psychologists have shown that parental conflict is a more potent predictor of child adjustment than divorce. Parental conflicts are the disagreements between parents and when these disagreements lead to emotionally-dramatic

behaviours such as increased criticism, aggression, making threats, shouting, hitting, or even long periods of silence, they cause a panic-state or increased stress for a child. Also being overwhelmed in these disagreements means the parents are mostly inattentive to their child’s needs and wants. When a child is regularly surrounded by parental conflict over a long period of time it may lead to them developing a lower self-esteem, or feeling more alienated, hostile, aggressive or even anti-social.

It is important to note that not all conflicts are destructive in nature, in fact according to child psychologists some conflicts can even be constructive in nature leading to more positive impacts on a child’s development. This non-linear relationship between parent-child relationship and child’s developmental progress depends on a multitude of factors i.e. how a child perceives relationships, how the situation is managed by parents, the child’s coping mechanisms for stressors and so on.

Also read,

Best parenting strategies that will help your child to succeed in life. Seek help from the best parenting counsellors.

How can a strained parent child relationship be prevented? Find the best relationship counsellor or a parenting counsellor in Mumbai.

How over-parenting affects your child’s mental health?

To seek help from a child psychologist in Mumbai, check out some of the best psychologists in Mumbai-

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