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Signs of a bad parent-child relationship

10 Signs of a Bad Parent-Child Relationship

The first and most important relationship that a child makes is the one with a parent (parent-child relationship). Parents are the first human beings in a child’s life hence they are the first people a child becomes attached to. This shows the power of such a relationship as it determines the child’s ability to form relationships in the future. Building and maintaining a healthy relationship with a child becomes challenging as the child grows. It might be easy while the kid is a toddler, but once he is a teenager, it might be a nightmare for some parents. As a child grows, one should be able to identify the signs of a bad parent-child relationship.

 A bad parent-child relationship is mainly due to bad parenting. By bad parenting, what is meant is behavior traits such as emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect, from a parent towards a child. During such experiences, a child has little or nothing to say to their parents since he is still a child whose body and mind are yet to fully develop. Gradually, these traits damage the relationship between a parent and his child as the parenting becomes a burden to the child instead of being inspirational and positively modeled.

Signs of a bad parent-child relationship

Signs of a bad parent-child relationship

To know if a relationship between a parent and a child is bad, there are certain signs or rather indicators to look for:

1. Fear

This is a common sign of a bad parent-child relationship. A child who is constantly afraid of his parents even when he has not done anything wrong has a bad relationship with them. Generally, children love spending time with their parents and feel free to share anything with them. If your child shows signs of fear or is frightened by your presence or voice, then you should know that your relationship is bad. Such fear should be shown by your child a couple of times, not just once.

2. Often quiet and secretive

Children are talkative beings and they can even call their parents over and over again without getting tired. A child would share secrets with his parents, even what he heard or saw their neighbors saying or doing respectively. If your child is silent and doesn’t talk much when you are around, then something is wrong with your relationship with that child.

3. You are acting as their friend

As a parent, you should let your children know that you are their parent, not their friend. You should treat children as a parent and children should see and treat you as their parent. This is because being a parent and a friend to a child are two different things. If your child misbehaves, act as a parent and don’t be afraid of what will happen next. Even if the child gets mad and says he will never talk to you again, don’t be frightened. Consider it as a time-out because they will come back to you as soon as they calm down.

4. They don’t listen to you

Children are good imitators. If you don’t listen to your child and you mostly ignore them, they will probably do the same to you. It’s not that they are being hard-headed, it is because they are reciprocating your behavior. Children can identify sarcasm and also condescending. Deciding to discipline them won’t do much good, the best thing to do is to try to pay attention to them. By doing so, you will note their change in behavior as well.

5. Don’t follow set rules

Rules are set to be followed and if broken, a consequence should follow. If your child doesn’t follow the set rules nor meet the set expectations even after warning them, then something is wrong. A child will try his best to avoid a consequence, whether a positive or a negative. If your child repeatedly repeats the same mistake and doesn’t respect you even after disciplining him, then your relationship with him is bad.

6. No respect for boundaries

Boundaries are very important in each family and ought to be respected. If your child doesn’t respect the boundaries you have set, then know that is one of the signs of a bad parent-child relationship. If a child is not supposed to get into his parents’ bedroom, it should remain like that and no child should even think out doing so without their parents’ permission. This is what it means by respecting boundaries. You only cross them when you have permission from an authorized person.

Signs of a bad parent-child relationship

7. Lack of trust

Children should trust their parents the most. Parents should also trust their children. You should be able to let your child, especially teenagers make decisions for themselves and face the consequences that come with their decision. This way, they will be able to learn from their mistakes. If you don’t trust your child even when he tells the truth, then your relationship with him is bad. You should be able to believe in your child and let them make decisions.

8. Lack of praise and support

Children love being praised for their achievement even if they are small. They also need support from their parents when they are going through stressful moments or sad experiences. If you are not concerned at all as a parent, then you have a bad relationship with your child. You should try to be part of your child’s life and praise his achievements (whether big or small). Create time for your child and support him in whatever is he doing.

9. Invalidating feelings

Parents should make an effort in understanding their child’s feelings and respecting them as well. When a child shares something, don’t rush towards ruling it out without first understating the child’s opinion and feelings. If you don’t take your child’s feelings and opinions serious, this is a sign that you do not have a good relationship with him or her.

10. Forever irritated with what your child does

Parents who yell, scream or even strike their children when they do something wrong tend to have a bad relationship with them. As a parent, one should understand a child is still growing and his mind is still developing. There are many things that the child is yet to know if they are bad or wrong. You should direct them and advise them accordingly but if you find yourself reacting negatively, then something is wrong with that parent-child relationship and you should try to fix it.

You might want to read about the best environment to raise a child

Tips on improving the parent-child relationship

Below are some tips a parent to use to better relationship with their child if there are signs of a bad parent-child relationship:

  • Pay attention to your child’s opinion and feelings
  •  Be a good role model by setting a good example
  • Let your child make a decision sometime and trust them in doing so
  • Show your child affection and love, give him or her a hug
  • Do not reprimand your child excessively
  • Support your child and praise his or her achievement no matter how small they are
  • Use a friendly tone when talking to your child

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