How someone is raised decides a lot about how their personality and worldview is. Nature and nurture that someone receives during growing years decide the type of personality and coping skills they acquire.
Sometimes knowingly or unknowingly, deliberately or non- deliberately children raised in highly adverse and abusive conditions can become types of human who will never e able to achieve a normal happy life, and being miserable and sad can be the only choice in their life. Children raised by parents who were themselves raised in dysfunctional families or adverse living conditions like war camps, brothels, war zones, slavery, domestic abuse, extreme poverty, parents with mental illness, parents who abuse drugs, etc cannot learn healthy family dynamics and parenting skills while growing up and hence after becoming parents cannot provide a safe and nurturing atmosphere to their own kids and the legacy keeps getting transferred from generation to generation if left unchecked.
Adults who were raised in adverse conditions become very controlling as parents because they fear that everything needs to be in control for everyone's best and since they are unaware of healthy life patterns so they practice unhealthy controlling methods in raising children and intimate relationships.
Children raised by following these types of parents cannot help being sad and miserable unless they try really hard to repair the damage done to them by their toxic parents. This blog talks about the facts based on scientific researches by professionals in the field of psychology.
Here are the seven parenting styles, according to Dr. Dan Neuharth in his bestselling book “If you had controlling parents”, that can damage children beyond repair:-
1. Abusive Parents.
According to psychologists, these types of parents have extreme anger issues. They not only physically, emotionally abuse their children but also hold them responsible for it. They feel entitled to abuse their kids even if the situation doesn’t make sense.
This type of parental behavior results in trust issues, vulnerability to abuse, hypervigilance, depression, and drug abuse in adulthood.
Readers are advised not to confuse abuse with discipline. All parents need to be strict and dominating at some point in time when it is important for the safety-security and well-being of the child. This difference can be understood only by having a clear conscience and honest mind.
2. Parents with Childlike behavior.
As the terminology suggests, this type of behavior is shown by parents who are literally incapable of parenting. They do reverse-parenting, i.e. expect care from kids. People of this nature end up marrying an abusive partner, resulting in the worst parenting scenario. Such parents induce unnecessary guilt in their children for their own benefit.
This type of parenting creates adults who are doormats to others because of difficulty in expressing anger and resentment. Such children can never feel carefree.
This behavior should not be confused with rare incidents where any parent will teach his child to feel sorry for genuine wrongdoings like breaking the law or hurting some innocent person. This also doesn’t include the situations where parents are genuinely in need of help from their kids due to medical or financial situations. The key is again honesty and truthfulness in the relationship.
3. Parents who smother or lay overbearing scrutiny.
In this case, parents often take “love and care” to a level where it is suffocating and dangerous to emotional health. These parents don’t treat their kids as individuals rather as their own extension and try to control their life by overly scrutinizing every move. They discourage their children to develop their individuality.
This type of parenting diminishes the sense of boundaries in adult child causing issues in other relationships. This also causes high dependency, poor body image, and a low level of confidence.
The key point is that we have to train our kids to fly with their own wings rather than carrying them on our backs and flying for them. They may fly less perfectly than we expect, but it’s better than not flying at all. Every individual has his own journey and right to live it.
4. Parents who Love conditionally.
Some parents use love. They cannot love their children consistently . Kids are so hungry for parental love that they can be controlled by withdrawing and giving it as per the situation. These parents don’t love their children for what they are, rather for what they do. They use emotions to fulfill their agenda and never let their kids connect emotionally with them.
Adult children of such parents are depressed, doubt full, have low confidence, withdrawn, and feel unloved.
As a mother even I feel sometimes that I unconsciously love my kids more when they achieve something. This is wrong. The love should be consistent, irrespective of the situation. If one feels the same way as I do, help is out there in the form of books. Discipline should not be mixed with the expression of love. Kids thrive on parental love and there are numerous ways to get your child to do something, withholding love might get you your way temporarily but will have everlasting negative effects on your bonding with them and their thought process. Everyone deserves to be loved for what they are irrespective of their achievements, this should be taught at a very young age.
5. Parents with NPD
NPD means Narcissist Personality Disorder. Read https://www.theexhaustedsouls.com/2021/03/what-exactly-is-narcissistic.html to understand NPD. Parents who sffer from NPD or other such personality disorders along with narcissistic traits are emotionally immature parents who are insensitive to their children’s feelings but they themselves expect complete loyalty and obedience from others. They see life as a war and they feel a deep need to win it at the cost of other's happiness, safety and peace, even if the other person is their own child. They are extremely jealous of others, including their own kids, and believe that others feel the same for them. They have a distorted sense of reality.
Children raised by such parents have a poor self-image, are unable to take emotional care of themselves, and feel used even in adulthood. They feel difficulty in understanding the concept of “Love”. Read https://www.theexhaustedsouls.com/2021/03/how-does-narcissistic-dysfunctional.html to know about effects of parenting by a Parent suffering from NPD.
6. Chaotic Parents
These parents are highly unpredictable and therefore cause chaos in lives of their children. They want their kids to strictly abide by the family rules but keep changing the rules in the blink of an eye. Not only rules but their thinking and reasoning also keep changing as per their own selfish requirement. And when asked for justification they give bizarre reasons. Families with such parents have no unclear rules and consistent limits. There can be chaos at any moment and issues never settle but there is only the blame is shifted to others.
For example, a father destroys his son’s toys while mishandling them and shifts blame and induce guilt by scolding the child for not keeping the toy in the proper place. The next day he, out of his regular behavior of carelessly keeping his belongings, finds one of them damaged. At which, he again scolds his son accusing him of the act even without conforming. Here you can see that the rules change with the father’s convenience and the child is receiving mixed messages and unclear rules.
This type of behavior creates adult children who see life as an emotional roller coaster because it is full of confusion, guilt, hypervigilance, and trust issues. This type of parenting is carried to one’s own life as a legacy if not checked on time.
7. Perfectionist Parents.
These parents put immense pressure on their children to be perfect and on top of everything they do. They compel their kids to keep themselves and their surroundings clean, organized, articles kept in order, flawless view, and up to date in every aspect. They won’t hesitate even in compromising the basic human needs of their kids to impress society. Material possession, academic achievement, social status, and appearances are given more importance than love, peace, physical and emotional health, relationships, and morals.
This particular type of damaging parenting style is also affected by culture. For example, in my own country, it is a part of the culture and its shade can be seen in even the wisest parents’ thought process. In my language, there is a saying. ”loge kya kahengay?” which means, “What people will say?” This is very deep-seated in the society I was raised in.
A desire to see one’s child on the top of the world is normal for every parent but putting pressure on them to achieve it at any cost is unhealthy and dangerous for the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of the child. Every child is unique and special. We should love and respect our kids for their abilities and encourage them to do “their best” not “the best” in whatever they do. We must accept them as a package of whatever qualities and shortcomings
A parent who shows one or more of the above parenting traits is considered a toxic parent in psychological terms. If someone has the above traits it's high time to get professional help along with help from good self-help books.
There is no hard and fast rule for parenting if you are an honest, responsible, and compassionate parent. On the other hand, if someone is not a loving caring person or lacks a true conscience, then any amount of suggestions or tips won’t help much.
The last thing that can be tried is praying to God for the purification of consciousness of such parents and help them become spiritual. Because the researches suggest that when psychology cannot help any more, then spirituality is the last hope.
God bless you!
Have a wonderful day!
(Credits: The terminology of these seven types is suggested by Dr. Dan Neuharth in his bestselling book “If you had controlling parents”.