5 Bad Parenting Habits that Harm Children

Today, we'll tell you about 5 bad parenting habits that you should avoid in order to keep from hurting your kids. Find out what they are.
5 Bad Parenting Habits that Harm Children

Last update: 03 December, 2021

As adults, we’re not always aware of the things we do or say in front of our children. Therefore, it’s not so easy to admit that we have bad parenting habits that harm them.

It’s difficult to keep our guard up at all times, and when we feel tired, low on energy, or overwhelmed, we act and speak without thinking.

Parents are the most important example for children to learn to behave, speak, and act. Therefore, if we have bad habits, they’re likely to imitate us. Therefore, we need to change our bad parenting habits as soon as possible.

Recognizing bad parenting habits is the starting point for change

To change the course of things, you have to start by recognizing your flaws. With this in mind, we must review certain habits in our behavior and change what’s not appropriate. This not only benefits our children but also has therapeutic value for us.

A father threatening his daughter, who's cowering on the floor.

“People do not decide their future, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures”

-FM Alexander-

1. Using bad words

The use of bad words usually transmits a certain rebellion, and for this reason, captures the attention of our little ones. In any case, it’s best for them to disappear from the vocabulary of children, especially when our kids reach adolescence.

There are already too many environments in which little ones can learn profanity. There’s no need for the child’s home to be one of them.

2. Criticizing other people

Up to a certain age, children don’t grasp the meaning of certain expressions, such as those we use when criticizing others. They understand what we’re saying literally.

So much so that, afterward, they may reproduce what they heard without any filter. And above all, without being aware of the damage they can cause to others.

In addition, this way of acting sets an example on how to refer to other people in the environment. By criticizing or speaking disparagingly about others, children can hurt other people whom, in many cases, they don’t even know, just as we adults do. This is something we need to modify.

3. Showing a lack of self-esteem

If we elders show a lack of self-esteem and insecurity, our children understand that this is a normal and accepted way of behaving. Unfortunately, this very human feeling, when expressed, also causes low self-esteem in children.

Let’s remember that little ones are in the process of development. Therefore, any negative expression, especially if it’s recurrent, can become a habit for them. And what’s worse, it can become a way of being and behaving that’s quite harmful to them.

4. Speaking as if the child weren’t there

Ignoring children and talking about them as if they weren’t present is a bad habit that we must avoid at all costs.

If they feel invisible, they’ll learn that this is normal and they’ll behave that way across the board. Therefore, it’s best to make them participate in any conversation that involves them and that they see themselves as an active part of it.

5. Looking at your cell phone while they’re talking to you

If you’re having a conversation with your children or with anyone, for that matter, it’s best not to be looking at your cell phone.

Your little one deserves your full attention in order to understand that you care about their needs, their desires, and their concerns.

If, when you talk to them, you don’t pay attention to them and you’re more aware of your smartphone, what example are you sending to your kids?

A family out for dinner while they all stare at their phones.

Now that you’ve spotted these bad parenting habits, make a point to improve!

We shouldn’t be absent parents because, while our children are developing, every detail is key.

They notice everything and learn from what they see. Any poor gesture or bad word can have serious consequences on their future behavior.

As parents, we must try to control our bad habits so that they develop as integral, happy, and self-confident beings.

“Don’t worry because your children don’t listen to you; they watch you all day long.”

-R. Fulghum-

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Perry, P. (2020). El libro que ojalá tus padres hubieran leído: (y que a tus hijos les encantará que leas). Barcelona: Planeta.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.