While I'm sure every preceding generation says this about the next, poor parenting choices seem to be a major problem today, and there are so many ways to spot bad parenting! From outright physical abuse to more subtle (but just as harmful) lapses of parenting, who hasn't been tempted to step in once in a while? I've felt the need to tactfully step in a few times recently, so I thought I'd share a few of the ways to spot bad parenting, so you're aware, too.
I know that one of the first ways to spot bad parenting is if the parent is completely ignoring the child, and not meeting their basic needs. If the parent does not care about the child enough to pay attention to them, then they are neglecting their child. Parents need to nurture and spend time with their children in order for them to grow up as social people, so if you suspect there's neglect going on, consider stepping in.
This is the other extreme, the opposite of neglect. You shouldn’t ignore your children, but you shouldn’t be over-protective either. If people are over-protective of their children, eventually when they become teenagers they will rebel and possibly damage themselves in the process just because it is against their parent’s will. Of course, some of this rebellion is part of the natural teen experience, but still and all, by over-protecting a child, you're doing them something of a disservice.
3. Emotional Abuse
Many people think that emotional abuse is not as serious as physical abuse, but the truth is that emotional abuse can be far worse than physical in some ways. Emotional abuse can last a lifetime because it lingers in a person’s mind. Emotional abuse can consist of manipulation, lying to, and insulting the child. Again, if you see this, please consider stepping in.
4. Physical Abuse
If you see someone hitting their child, pulling their hair, shoving them, or any other rough movements, there is a great chance that physical abuse is going on. If you see abuse going on then you should point it out, and get help for the child. Nobody deserves to be abused, and sometimes, to stop it, an adult just needs to step forward.
5. No Discipline
This is kind of the same thing as ignoring a child. If you don’t acknowledge when your child is doing something wrong, they will never learn the appropriate behavior for society. However discipline does not mean abuse. Parents should pull a child aside and explain what their child is doing wrong, and what the appropriate behavior is. This is much more subtle, and unless you're close to the parents who are doing this, there's no tactful or helpful way to mention this.
I have noticed this a lot in my friend’s household. He has siblings, and his mother tends to treat the middle daughter with more respect than the oldest and youngest son. She gets everything she wants, while the other two kids have to sacrifice things that they want for her schedule. This favoritism can damage a child's self-esteem. If you see this in a friend's household, it's not a bad idea to find a tactful way to ask about it; some parents may not realize they're doing it!
Just like the daughter who was the favorite, spoiling is a characteristic of bad parenting. Giving a child anything they want whenever they want it makes them spoiled. They will become uncontrollable and when they get older, they will be horrible to live with and deal with for anyone who is around. It's hard on the child, too... they won't understand why, in real life, they're not given everything they want at the asking. This is another difficult subject to broach, but again, the parents may not realize they're doing it, and might appreciate some gentle advice.
Bad parenting is becoming more of an issue lately, isn't it? If you see signs of abuse, step in and say something. It may be hard, but a parent who is abusing their child needs to be stopped, and the child will be thankful that you stepped in. What are some other things that you consider bad parenting?