The Effects of Bad Parenting on Children

Parents tend to underestimate the influence that they have on their children, according to a 2007 study that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation conducted. In 2011, the UK's Department for Education found that children who are exposed to bad parenting are two times more likely to misbehave. Inconsistent disciplinary approaches, poor supervision and physical punishment are poor parenting attributes that can negatively affect children, regardless of their ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

A parent's behavior has a lasting impact on a child. (Image: JackF/iStock/Getty Images)

Antisocial Behavior

When a child demonstrates antisocial behavior, she doesn't consider how her actions may harm others. According to the UK's Department for Education, severe forms of antisocial behavior can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, poor health, mental health problems, unemployment and adult crime. Parenting styles that could lead to this type of behavior include inconsistent and harsh parenting, as well as parental drug abuse, maternal depression and domestic violence. Adults who are permissive, coercive, negative and have critical attitudes are more likely to have children with antisocial tendencies.

Poor Resilience

Resilience refers to a person's ability to cope with social, emotional, behavioral, physical and educational hardships. Parents with poor resilience are more likely to have children who also lack resilience, according to Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Bad parenting in this regard comes in the form of failing to buffer the adverse affects of crisis that a child experiences, not teaching a child coping skills and not being responsive during a time of need. When a child has poor resilience, this can stem from a parent's inflexibility, inability to handle change well or failure to cope with negative emotions in a healthy manner.

Depression

In the article "Parenting and Its Effects on Children: On Reading and Misreading Behavior Genetics" for the psychology journal "Annual Reviews," professor Eleanor E. Maccoby, Ph.D, of Stanford University links parental negativity to child depression and the internalization of behaviors. In the National Institutes of Health journal article "Relation of Positive and Negative Parenting to Children's Depressive Symptoms" by Danielle H. Dallaire et al, found that harsh and negative parenting behaviors correlated with symptoms of depression in children. Other factors that may contribute to childhood depression include low levels of overall support, parental depression, physical punishment, unhealthy expression of negative emotions and a lack of emotional support.

Aggression

In the report "Negative Parenting Style Contributes to Child Aggression" for Psych Central, Rick Nauert, Ph.D., reports that researchers at the University of Minnesota found that the explosive kindergarteners studied had poor relationships with their mothers from an early age. The researchers concluded that bad parenting during infancy contributed to childhood aggression. The mothers studied handled their children "roughly," expressed negative feelings towards their kids and had escalating conflicts with them. The researchers concluded that negative parenting caused the children studied to demonstrate "higher levels of anger," which made the mothers more hostile. What was not studied was the relationship between the mother and the father, and how that might have influenced the mother's feelings or behavior.

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