5 Bad Parenting Habits that Can Trigger Anxiety
Parenting is a “make or break” job. If you do it right, good for you. If you do it wrong, not good for your children.
Ineffective parenting, more commonly labeled as “Bad Parenting”, is oftentimes a major determinant on how kids will turn up later in life. More often than not, bad parenting causes a negative impact on children that ultimately shapes their behavior for life. According to a report from Harvard psychologists Dr. Jerome Kagan and Dr. Doreen Arcus who have studied and followed up infants for 5 years, parents’ actions can affect the probability that their child will develop an anxiety disorder.
With these conclusions, let us discuss some of the common bad habits that parents practice.
Naturally, parents do their best to keep their child safe and away from harm. However, parent’s extreme fears for their child’s well-being can have a serious negative effect on their child’s morale and judgment. By not letting the child take one step away from the security of the parents’ arms, parents prevent their child from learning to do things on his or her own as well as from being more self-sufficient. This parenting habit, although mingled with care, inadvertently relays to the child that he or she is incapable of handling things and situations on his or her own.
Moreover, the fears evoked by parents tend to rub on to the child who, in consequence, begins to presume dangers behind each new exercise and experience. As these children turn into adults they tend to become more dependent, more anxious, vulnerable, self-conscious and less open to new ideas. With this fear, the adult is more apt to believe that the world in general is an unsafe place to live.
2. Deliberate Criticisms
At one point or another, we have experienced some form of verbal criticism from our beloved parents. The words “stupid”, “idiot”, “moron”, and other humiliating words you can imagine have crossed their tender lips in the belief that such lashing is for the betterment of the child. Unfortunately, many of these parents are barely aware of the intense damage they do when they put down, ridicule, and criticize their kids. They do not see the profound psychological hurt that their children bear. The child’s ego, self esteem, and overall psychological well-being are broken. The damage does not leave jagged cuts or dark, purple marks on skin but the humiliation will be forever printed on the child.
Besides, the criticism which the parents wrongly believe to be the best way to motivate their children to do better has the opposite effect. It actually de-motivates the child and crushes any attempt he or she will make in trying to learn something new. As a result, the child will grow up to become very insecure, very fearful of life, and afraid of doing something wrong.
Parents often expect their kids to do everything perfectly. Their dream of becoming the “perfect parents” is based on how perfect their kids turn out to be. And so, to achieve this dream, they set unreachable goals and standards that leave little room for mistakes. They push their kids to succeed thinking that how well their child fairs at school is a reflection of their parenting skills.
However, this perfectionism leads to very unhealthy physical and emotional results. The constant pressure to achieve reduces the child’s productivity and causes an even lower self-esteem. The pressure on children can be the root for anxiety to develop that may progress to anxiety disorder. This anxiety can manifest in the children’s sudden underperformance in school works and activities. They can also end up with symptoms of stress such as unexplained tummy aches, diarrhea, headache, sleeplessness and nightmares.
4. Sibling Comparison
Many kids have been victims of sibling comparison. Intentionally or unintentionally, parents do this mistake without fully thinking of the consequences of the act. Generally, it is not wrong for a parent to compare a child with his or her sibling if it is merely a way of showing the child his or her mistakes. The important thing is the way the comparison is delivered should be done in such a manner that the child does not feel inferior. A tactless sibling comparison can affect the child and hurt his or her ego. Instead of realizing his or her mistake, they might end up nurturing feelings of anger, hatred, depression, and worthlessness that can all contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.
5. Parental Neglect
Studies have shown that a child growing up without proper parental nurturing, love, and care are most likely to develop an anxiety disorder later in life. In the early stages of life such as in infancy, a child has to feel that he is loved. The child needs to feel that he can trust the world and that there will always be someone who will lull him to sleep, change his wet diapers, and cuddle him every single day. Without these nurturing experiences from a loving primary giver, the child will be distrustful of the world. He will grow up feeling innately nervous, fearful, and distrusting ? the roots of anxiety disorder.
The effects of ineffective parenting on young children can have lifelong consequences. As the saying goes, “children learn what they live”. If the child lives within a home where his or her mental, emotional, and physical needs are not adequately addressed, the child is set up for a lifetime of difficulties. Anxiety disorder symptoms may be one of them.
Ryan Rivera is an anxiety disorder survivor. His website www.calmclinic.com provides guides and information on how someone with anxiety and panic disorders can cope and manage these conditions.