What Are Poor Parenting Skills?

By Kathryn Hatter
Parent with child on back
Parent with child on back

Parenting children demands ongoing efforts to protect, teach, encourage and set behavioral limits. In this process, some parents fall short of standard goals and their efforts may fall under the heading of “poor parenting.” Although the definition of poor parenting may be somewhat subjective, various parenting practices usually fit this description.

Problems with Over Control

One type of poor parenting involves over-controlling. This parent uses an “authoritarian” parenting style, according to developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, with the University of California, Berkeley. Authoritarian parents attempt to exert too much control over children’s attitudes and behavior to the point of demanding absolute obedience. In the process, parents often miss opportunities to respond to children in a loving and nurturing manner. Children typically have little opportunity to develop their own opinions and beliefs, especially if they contradict the parent’s beliefs, according to Baumrind.

Not Enough Discipline

The other end of the spectrum involves a permissive parenting style, with limited or no disciplinary measures. The permissive parent may make few demands of a child, not requiring the child to follow behavioral requirements and not assigning household chores. The parent who engages in this parenting style may not set an effective example to teach desired behavior to the child. This parenting type often involves the parent attempting to reason with a child or manipulate the child into obedience instead of setting clear expectations for behavior.

The Pitfalls of Negativity

Parents may fall into habits of negative parenting, which could include expressing negative emotions toward children and handling children roughly, states Rick Nauert, associate professor with the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals, writing for Psych Central. If this conflict continues or escalates over the childhood years, kids often exhibit hostility and aggression toward the parent and toward others. This aggression can lead to behavioral problems at home and at school.

Lack of Positive Reinforcement

Parenting requires ongoing positive reinforcement to discipline and teach children. Instead of focusing on positive and desired behavior, some parents focus on the undesired behavior of children. When undesired behavior claims a parent’s attention, it can become difficult to positively encourage better behavior. In general, it’s more effective to praise and reinforce positive behavior when it happens than to punish undesired behavior, states the Child Abuse Prevention Services website. While discipline is necessary to discourage undesired behavior, it’s also important to notice the good behavior and praise it.

Abusive Parenting

Parenting can be challenging and frustrating. Some parents give in to the frustration and resort to abusive parenting tactics. Child abuse can include physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse or physical neglect, states the American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org website. Out-of-control anger can cause a parent to lash out and hurt a child physically or emotionally. Using violent force when parenting children can lead to injury. Child neglect can include a lack of supervision that might lead to injuries, states the AAP.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.