Consequences of Lack of Communication in Parenting

When there's a lack of communication in parenting, your children can be affected by negative consequences. Learn more.
Consequences of Lack of Communication in Parenting
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Have you ever stopped to think about how the lack of communication in parenting could affect two adults? Or how that lack of communication could affect their children? Miscommunication could cause collateral damage that will have serious consequences in children, as well as adults. 

The following situation may sound familiar to you: One parent tries to convey a message of authority to a child, but the other parent takes the opportunity to joke about their partner’s childishness or worthlessness because they’re trying to educate their child. We often see this scenario on television shows, and they make it out to be a joke. 

The reason we continue to laugh at this joke is because it reflects the tension we feel in our own families. However, the problem reflected in the joke can be one of the most serious threats to successful parenting. 

A deeper communication problem

When the above situation happens, children may start to see one parent (usually the one who is the victim of these verbal attacks) as less intelligent and less capable of making good decisions. That will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the family.

These types of messages have a negative impact on the entire family unit. There’s a connection between children’s behavior and parental disagreement. The problem isn’t that parents have disagreements and that they disagree sometimes about parenting. Instead, it’s how they express those disagreements in front of their children.

Consequences of Lack of Communication in Parenting

Is this a sign of a deeper communication problem? Parents disagree, but that’s a normal experience in family relationships.

However, it’s the style and the intensity of these disagreements that tell us whether or not there’s a more serious problem. When the disagreement undermines the efforts of the other parent, or the intensity is extreme, the parents could be creating a lot of tension in the family. In that case, the parents should know it’s time to deal with the situation. 

Causes of lack of communication in parenting

What are some common underlying causes of lack of communication in parenting? We’ll tell you some of them below. When partners don’t work on these issues, they’ll end up having consequences on their children. 

  • Unspoken hostility. Tension builds naturally in a marital relationship. However, some couples don’t have the tools or skills to relieve that tension through normal communication.
  • Stress.Some parents have added stress and strain from raising a child with developmental or behavioral differences. When they don’t express that tension, it doesn’t go away, even if you try to convince yourself you can forget about it. Instead, it will show up when your partner may need your support, like when they need you to have their back.
  • Resentment. Unexpressed resentment in this situation turns into contempt. In addition, it can be used to sabotage the other parent’s efforts to deal with a child’s problems.
  • Need for control. In some situations, parents will use disagreements or parental communication to exert control over the other parent. Mothers and fathers who have a great need for control may have had prior experiences that led them to experience a lot of anxiety if they aren’t in control.
Consequences of Lack of Communication in Parenting

Other consequences to consider

In addition to the ones we’ve already mentioned, you should also keep the following in mind:

  • Instead of dealing with these feelings, a parent may try to control everyone around them. As a result, children won’t see their parents as a team. Instead, they’ll view one parent as the “boss” and the other as part of the group of children. Because of that, they may misinterpret the other parent’s intentions. In addition, sometimes lack of communication in parenting is simply the result of one parent not understanding the other parent’s reason for doing something. In most situations, parents weigh the factors they consider most important before making decisions. However, since we’re not mind readers, the other parent may not be looking at those same factors.
  • Lack of time. The reality is that we often have very little time to discuss our parental reactions after our children act out. This causes a lot of confusion about your partners’ reasons for saying or doing something.
  • An emotionally damaging family environment. In some situations, the family environment seems emotionally dangerous or disruptive to children. Families dealing with violence, verbal tirades and screaming fights, or drugs and alcohol are likely to have parents that will “hide.” They do this to try to fix the harm that their partner has caused. In addition, parents sometimes resort to this strategy when they feel that they’re stuck in their situation or they aren’t willing to break up the family to deal with the harmful behavior. 


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