What Negative Parenting Looks Like & Its Effects On Children Of All Ages

The job of parents is to be there for their children. To support them so that they can thrive and not only be successful through childhood, but also to adulthood. But when parents follow the approach of being rude, critical or even hurtful when raising their children, it can have long-term effects. Not just in childhood, but beyond. This is why, when negative parenting is the basis of parent-child relationships, nothing good can come of it. It is a type of parenting that looks exactly like the name implies and that affects children of all ages. And the longer it is used, the more detrimental it becomes.

According to BMC Pediatrics, those who are most at risk of developing and adopting the negative parenting role are younger mothers. This seems to be even more the case when children are boys, as opposed to girls, according to the publication. However, this does not mean that girls are immune to this type of parenting. And when that happens, everything is affected by self-esteem, confidence, attitude and so much more, which really makes it one of the worst parenting styles to be classified.

RELATED: Negative Childhood Experiences Contribute to Poor Mental Health

Here’s what negative parenting looks like and its effects on children of all ages.

What is negative parenting

According to PsigSentraal, negative parenting is defined as “when parents expressed negative emotions towards their children, treated them rudely, and so on.” As such, instead of nurturing and caring for their children, parents went out of their way not to make them feel good about themselves through punishment. They are not only verbally abusive but also physical. Something that only serves to reduce self-esteem, self-esteem, self-worth and more in children.

How children’s brains change as a result of negative parenting

Negative parenting is a constant emotional and physical assault on children. This assault not only changes the way children interact with others and feel about themselves, it also physically changes their brains.

According to Pittsburgh parent, the early years of children’s lives are important to them not only emotionally and developmentally. It is a time when the brain is growing fast and changing to accept all the information being sent in their direction.

Most of what the brain forms during this time time is related to how parents deal with their children. For those who have positive interactions and consistently encourage their child in what they are doing, the brain grows in size and becomes stronger.

However, when negative parenting exists, the opposite happens. According to the publication, the brain shrinks in size. And not just the brain, but the hippocampus as well. This is the area, according to Pittsburgh Parent that is responsible for how children deal with stress, create memories, how they learn and how they develop cognitively.

When the hippocampus is smaller than it should be, it negatively affects children and how they develop. And once the opportunity for the brain to grow and develop is over, there is no going back. This means that these are all issues that children and later adults will have to deal with and overcome. Something that is not easy to do.

Effects of negative parenting

Children raised in homes where negative parenting is the norm will experience a myriad of negative consequences of the parenting style. According to Health lineincludes those effects:

  • Feeling ashamed
  • Believer labels that parents place on them
  • Must always be in control
  • Excessive rebellion
  • Emotional issues
  • Behavioral issues
  • Aggressive tendencies
  • Inability to follow directions to school

Negative parenting has far-reaching consequences. And the longer children are in an environment where parenting style exists, the worse it is for children as they get older.

Problems in Primary School linked to negative parenting

When negative parenting is present in the home, the dropout not only appears behind closed doors, but also makes it known to school-going children in the classroom.

According to a 2000 study, primary school children who were the recipients of negative parenting were more likely to behave in class. It has been seen through aggression, hyperactive behavior and oppositional behavior, according to the publication.

When this happens, children are more likely to get into trouble while in school. It then turned into a cycle of there not being an environment for children to check where they are not labeled as the “bad kid”.

As such, negative parenting becomes an eternal cycle in that emotional and physical abuse is found in the home because children are told their behavior is reprehensible. Acting, as a way to get attention at school, only attracts negative reactions from teachers. And at the end of the day, there are no reliable adults in children’s lives because of the treatment they receive at home.

Primary school learning issues contributed to negative parenting

It was found that those whose parents continued to use the negative parenting style on them in middle school performed academically worse than their peers who did not experience the same parenting style when they grew up. Something that will lead to academic dissatisfaction in the future.

According to a 2021 study, when children were mentally and physically abused by their parents, they had less motivation to do well in school. There was because when there is no parental support to encourage children to do well in school, children need to find that motivation from elsewhere. But when it is consistently beaten mentally and physically, there is little to exhaust in the form of personal motivation.

Fewer children were also able to regulate themselves emotionally when they experienced negative parenting, according to the publication. It has further contributed to poor academic performance in school, showing that when negative parenting is the chosen parenting style, it affects all aspects of children’s lives.

Negative parenting causes negative effects on mental health in high school students

For adolescents in this age group who have lived through their formative years through negative parenting, it has taken its toll. This is because teens who had parents who used the negative parenting method had poor mental health. Something that can all be attributed to how they were raised.

According to a 2015 study, conflict between parents and teens was high due to the poor relationship from childhood to adolescence. While this was not surprising, what researchers also discovered was that teens suffered from higher anxiety and depression, had self-esteem problems, had higher rates of aggression, and were not extremely successful in school. They were also more likely to engage in risky behaviors, which could equate to violence against others or early sexual activity.

All of these emotions and self-perceptions are what teens would take with them when they graduate high school if there was no intervention. Something no teenager should do when trying to navigate the world away from home for university, work or the like.

How to change negative parenting

Many parents believe that they need to turn to negative parenting to get their children to stay in line and do what they are told. But what is really happening is that parents are conditioning their children to rely on their peers, according to CNN. And while those peers may give a sense of stability, they may not be the best influences when it comes to making life decisions.

According to the publication, what parents need to recognize is that when they choose to be tough in their parenting, there will not be a positive outcome for children. Instead, there will be only “negative consequences” for them. And while many parents do parenting in the way they grew older, it does not make it the right way of parenting. Parents should rather look seriously at their parenting style and determine if they are helping or hindering their children as they grow up.

In most cases, what parents are going to see is that they are too hard. And while there are merits to being rules present and “firm,” according to CNN, emotional and physical abuse is never appropriate. This is something that needs to be removed from parenting practices so that children can thrive and not be suffocated before they have even had a chance to grow.

Source: BMC Pediatrics, PsychCentral, Child Psychiatry and Human Development, Scientific Research, Pittsburgh Parent, Healthline, CNN, Journal of Clinical Child Psychology

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