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Parenting comes with the natural inclination of loving your children. From the day you hold your baby in your arms, you make a silent promise of showering your baby with everlasting love. While there is no right or wrong when it comes to parenting, excessive control by parents exhibited on their children’s lives can develop into serious emotional issues in later life. Experts are suggesting that certain parenting styles, often seen as harmless and even important, can actually leave your kids feeling anxious and depressed!
Parenting styles refer to the way in which you bring up your kids in various aspects of his life such as social and emotional development, academic growth, and relationship with family and friends. These styles differ from one family to another. While all of us definitely want the best for our children, there are certain things we need to guard against. As per research conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, there could be certain things you are unknowingly doing as a parent that are having a serious impact on your child’s mental health.
As per the study, the most dangerous parenting styles are authoritative parenting and over protective parenting. Both these styles interfere with the creativity and self expression of your child which ultimately makes them fearful and upset. What you think is good for their well-being may in reality be affecting them and stopping them from reaching their full potential!
Authoritative parenting refers to imposing rules and discipline through punishment which sends a message to your the child that if he doesn’t abide by the rules he will be punished. You may think that this tells your child the importance of discipline and the consequences of not following it. But sadly, it has been found that this is actually causing anxiety and sorrow. Children who grow up with authoritative parenting actually turn out to be less resourceful, have poorer social skills and are also prone to depression. They may even end up being rebellious. Rules are important, yes, but not when they instill such a deep fear of punishment that your child feels suffocated!
Likewise, the study also notes that overprotective parenting or the style when parents are way too invasive and helpful can also be very harmful for the child. Such a style triggers anxiety and the inability to decide things for their own even after reaching adulthood. Your child’s independence gets severely weakened as a result. For your kids to grow up happy and strong, they must have the freedom to work on their emotions.
Why These Parenting Styles are Harmful
Parents today are informed about the importance of securing a bond with children. They understand how much care, attention, and praise words have positive effects on children. However, what happens when parents fail to balance this love and affection? This is the damage that such behaviour causes to the kids:
1. Overprotective Parents Curtail a Child’s Sense of Independence
For these parents, protection of children is of prime importance. They believe they alone know what is best of their children. They will sweep the floors their babies step on, they will refuse to let them climb trees, they will direct their children’s daily routine. As children get older, these parents refuse to let them make mistakes. Keeping children safe is imperative amongst parents, but over protection can make a child rebellious. Children may revolt against their parents once they step into the outer world, causing disharmony in relationships.
2. Rescuing Parents stop Kids from Fighting their Own Battles
These parents are always on their feet to rescue the children from any trivial calamity. They are running behind their children doing homework for them, submitting the kid’s projects for them and so on. These parents never let their children learn responsibility and accountability. As a result, children do not take things seriously and are laid-back more than often. Moreover, rescuing parents also participate in their children’s fights with friends, teachers, neighbors. Children do not learn to fight their own battles and often come home complaining to parents.
3. Indulgent Parents don’t let Children Distinguish between Right and Wrong
These parents bend to every wish and whim of children. They practically let the children rule the house. Indulgent parents believe that by providing children with the latest smartphone, clothes, and gadgets, they are giving them love. These parents refrain from asking children to do any of the house chores for the fear of burdening them. They cover for every little mistake children make and give excuse for every wrong deed they do.
How to Stop Following a Toxic Parenting Style
Studies show that parenting styles affect intellectual development of children. They are also known to affect socioemotional development, and markedly influence the kind of personality your child develops. Given this fact, it is important all parents make a conscious effort to steer clear of doing certain things. Some tips on how to effectively parent your child are given below.
1. Do not Lie
Tell them about situations they might encounter in real life. Let them try their strengths and use their brains. Make them understand accountability, responsibility, and consequences that might arise from the decisions they make.
2. Ask Them for Help
This will make them realize the importance of daily tasks, which they took for granted.
3. Say ‘No’
Saying no to a child, though heart wrenching, plays a significant role in raising them. Children understand that rejections are a normal part of life.
4. Let Them make Mistakes
Children learn more from making mistakes than through preaching. Failure is the first step towards success. Making mistakes will rouse curiosity to try things differently. A mistake makes space for reflection and understanding.
5. Do not Control
Let them decide how they wish to spend their day or a summer vacation. If you control everything, they will slack and will not realize the value of prioritizing and using time effectively. Through planning, they will learn about decision-making. In addition, it will boost their confidence and sense of worth. Even the simple act of making tea can work wonders when trying to improve their self-esteem.
6. Respect their Space
Provide them with enough freedom to choose their clothes, pick up food at hotels, join a hobby class, or pick TV shows to watch. It lets them build up their own opinions and thoughts. Foster their independence rather than dictating terms.
7. Learn to Control your Emotions
As a parent, the first instinct during stressful times is to protect your children. Parents immediately rush to the spot when their child injures himself, or is called into the principal’s cabin. Understandably, safety is of prime importance but take a step back and let the children handle the situation occasionally. On the other hand, one major negative emotion parents need to learn to control is anger. While we may have legit reasons to be pissed off at our children, we need to ensure they do not grow up ‘scared’ of our anger, and that our anger does not emotionally stunt them.
8. Accept that your Child is not Perfect
He has his flaws and that is what makes him human. If you help them overcome their flaws, you can help them build their character.
Parenting can sure be tough. There are parents who love too much and then there are parents who ignore their kids too much. The secret lies in balancing!