What makes you a bad parent? This is a question I asked myself when I had my first child. Unfortunately, there isn’t a handbook that comes out when you give birth telling you just the right way to raise your child. There will always be mistakes made along the way, and it’s up to you to do everything you can to be a good parent.
There will be an internal struggle between bad parenting vs good parenting, but if you’re reading this article, you must be trying your best to be a good parent.
I don’t think a bad parent would even bother to worry about being bad or good – they just don’t care.
But, if you’re trying to strive for perfection, let’s take a look at what makes a parent good and what makes a parent bad.
Table of Contents
5 Characteristics of a Bad Parent
It’s hard to judge a parent without being in their shoes. You might see a parent scold their child and assume they’re a bad parent, but little did you know they stole money from their grandmother.
It’s difficult to characterize a bad parent without knowing the circumstances behind a parent’s behavior, but there are poor parenting signs.
Signs of terrible parenting include:
1. Kids Have No Rules or Boundaries
Children need guidance, and when a parent doesn’t set up rules and boundaries, it can quickly lead to chaos. Some of the issues with no rules include:
- Lack of a proper bedtime
- Throwing fits when kids don’t get their way
- Failing grades
Some parents aren’t meant for parenting, and without guidance, kids are in charge doing what they please and disobeying whenever they see fit.
Good parents will set boundaries for their children, ensuring that they have rules in place that help them excel in life. If you have trouble setting rules or your child’s big eyes are too hard to say “no” to, you need to dig deep and find a way to set boundaries regardless.
2. Not Having Time for Your Kids
Are you the type of parent who is too busy to spend time with your child? If so, you may find yourself:
- Glued to the television
- Telling your kid to go watch television
- Being annoyed when your kid asks questions
Kids need to feel bonding, and if they don’t have a bond with their parent, they’ll go through life feeling like a burden. If your kid asks for help and you tell them to “Google It,” they often know there is another method of finding the information, but they’re seeking your guidance and attention.
3. Kids Cower When You Raise Your Hand
Spanking your child isn’t necessarily a never-do, but this is a whole different article on morals. The truth is that sometimes, a child may do something so bad, that the parent reacts and spanks the child. Kicking the dog or throwing the cat out of the window may require some form of discipline besides just a “bad Joey.”
But, physical punishment can lead to serious psychological disorders.
If you find your child cowers when you raise your hand, this is a sign that they’re fearful of you. Oftentimes, a parent doesn’t realize how much they spank their child until the child cowers in fear.
There’s always room to sit down and talk to a child rather than physically or verbally abuse the child.
Good parents will always try and talk to their child rather than physically or emotionally abusing them. You need to think long-term about the effects that your actions will have on your child. In many cases, you’ll see that hitting your child or screaming at them is very damaging.
Your kids should come first. One of the best qualities of a good parent is that they will do anything in their power to ensure that their kids have a good life. If you show favoritism to another child or another person over your child, you may find that this affects them well into adulthood.
Sometimes, dad will favor the boys or mom will favor the girls – it gets super complicated.
And almost every time, neither parent wants this favoritism to happen. In truth, most parents don’t realize that they’re showing favoritism at all. The truth is that it happens without a concious thought from either parent.
A good sign that you may be playing favorites is that you’re always complaining about your child to other parents.
If you compare your children to others or are too critical of your child, you may be putting them on a psychological rollercoaster.
Good parents don’t show favoritism even if they have a favorite. The truth is that a child needs the love of their parent no matter what they do. Emotional support helps a child excel in life and beat the odds that many children don’t have in their lives.
5. Pampering and Interfering
Negligence and pampering are equally as bad. The issue is that a child needs just the right amount of guidance, and if you pamper the child too much or interfere in their growing up, you may find that your child becomes spoiled.
Too much interference is bad for your child.
And when you’re not around to guide your child, you’ll find that they can’t function on their own. One day, your child will want to become independent and live a fulfilled, happy life. When you’re not meeting your parental duties, you may find that your child is so pampered that they can’t function as a teen or an adult.
Unless you want to have a child that lives in your basement until they’re 45, you’ll want to put a stop to this pampering.
Good parents don’t pamper or interfere with their child growing up. There is a fine line of pampering, interfering and letting a child go. Part of the parenting skill list is finding a way to nurture your child to be an adult who is self-sufficient and able to tackle the world without mom or dad by their side.
The how to be a good parent book is written by you.
A few signs of a bad mother or signs of a bad father include:
- Screaming at your child for everything they do
- Talking bad about your child
- Hitting or emotionally abusing your child
- Not allowing your child to grow into their own person
- Not trusting your child
- Making fun of your child
- Comparing your child to “better” kids
- Say “no”: If you find yourself always saying “yes” to everything a child asks, this may do irreparable damage. Kids need limits, and if you don’t learn to say “no,” your child will think the world owes them something.
- Parenting requires strength: You need to be strong to be a parent. It’s easier to read what you’re supposed to do rather than do it, but it’s true – parenting is really hard. If you find yourself in a rut or with the feeling like you’re failing your child, know that it takes a very strong and special person to raise a child.
- Discipline not beating: Disciplining your child doesn’t mean beating them. Parents are often confused as to how much discipline is too much, and if you find yourself hitting your child, this may be a sign that you’re going too far. Always remember that discipline can be a stern talking to your child or taking something away that they love (i.e. television or video games).
Parents will need to work on themselves as much as their child while raising a child to ensure that they’re able to raise a child without being a bad parent.
When in doubt, you can work alongside your spouse to plan together on how to raise your child and be a good parent. It’s always better to have the input of both parents, and it can also help to remove any spouse barriers in the way.
If you’re divorced, it’s especially important that you and your ex are on the same page with parenting. Parents who agree with each other instead of fight amongst each other on how to raise a child will find that the process is a lot easier.
Children who have severe behavioral issues may also need to seek treatment. Anger issues, channeled in the right way, can help a child work through these issues without driving mom and dad crazy in the process.