Lots of jobs are hard. But parenting might just be the hardest. Despite all of the books, pamphlets and research that parents can delve into before their child is born, parenting often ends up being a “learn as you go” process. Most parents have a subtle but constant fear that something might go wrong.
The things that most parents wish for their children are the same: for them to feel loved, to be happy, to be healthy and successful. There are so many social factors that can affect each. Socioeconomic status, the living environment and the education level of the parents can often have a large impact on the future success of a child. While there is no set rule book on parenting techniques, researchers have found certain parental behaviors that could be linked to problems in children later on in life, including depression and anxiety.
Scientists found that parents who do these nine things could be causing their children to be unsuccessful:
1. They Don’t Encourage Independence
A study at Vanderbilt University found that parents who psychologically controlled their children created a whole list of negative outcomes for their kids, including low self-confidence and low self-reliance. On the other hand, encouraging children to be independent can enhance their ability to resolve conflict and have interpersonal relationships. This has also been linked with an increase in teens’ ability to resist peer pressure.
2. They’re Over-Controlling
Being involved in your child’s life is a good thing, but being over-controlling can result in higher levels of anxiety and depression in children. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that students who reported having over-controlling parents reported significantly higher levels of depression and less satisfaction with life.
3. They Yell
A study from the University of Pittsburgh found evidence that harsh verbal discipline like shouting, yelling, swearing or using insults is detrimental to kids’ well-being. Harsh verbal behavior was linked to negative effects such as behavioral problems and depressive symptoms.
4. They’re Authoritarian
In the 1960s, developmental psychologist Diana Baumride found that there are three kinds of parenting styles: permissive, authoritarian and authoritative. The ideal style is authoritative — a parent who tries to direct their child rationally. The worst was found to be authoritarian — parents who are demanding and discourage open communication. This is a parent who says, “You need to get straight A’s because I said so.” They have strict guidelines that kids don’t understand.
5. They Use Their Cell Phone Around Their Kids
A stufy published in the Journal of Translational Psychiatry showed that distracted parents could have negative impacts on the development of their children. Parents who are more interested in technology-induced distractions can have long-term psychological affects on their children.
6. They Allow Too Much T.V.
A study published in The Journal of Pediatrics indicated that heavy television viewing for kids before the age of three negatively affects vocabulary, participation and makes them more likely to bully other classmates in school. Heavy television usage has also been linked to attention problems, along with impaired reading and math proficiency.
7. They’re Cold or Distant
Multiple studies have found that low levels of parental warmth can contribute to behavioral problems as well as insecurity and emotional difficulties in children and adolescents. Kids who don’t get parental praise for accomplishments may also experience social withdrawal and anxiety.
8. They Use Spanking as a Punishment
The effects of spanking have been studied since the 1980’s, and it has consistently been linked to hyperactivity, aggression and oppositional behavior in children. A 2016 analysis from the University of Texas at Austin confirmed that based on 50 years of research on 160,000 children, spanking is associated with mental health problems and cognitive difficulties.
9. They Let Their Kids Choose Bed Time
Researchers from the UK found a link between irregular bedtimes in children and worsening behavior, including hyperactivity, conduct problems, peer issues and emotional difficulties. Irregular bedtimes can also affect the brain. Disruptions in sleep during early childhood development can have lifelong negative health impacts.