A person is shaped by the type of childhood s/he had. This translates to raising kids the same way or entirely different. Parents might have all the intentions of giving their kids the best life they want, but it might not be expressed as such. Some methods used to discipline kids cause more harm than good, sometimes called dysfunctional families. A dysfunctional family is when one or both parents struggle with their issues and project on to the kid/s.
When the parenting side is less nurturing and more control is inconsistent, children can become affected mentally, emotionally, & physically and carry it all the way to adulthood. If these traits are not addressed, then it is passed down to the kid, who then passes to the next, and this compiles into what is known as generational trauma. Generational trauma refers to unhealed traumas passed down from parents to children to grandchildren.
When parenting style is the right balance of nurture and firmness, children grow to be confident, self-sufficient, expressive, and more. This involves the parents being aware of their issues and working on them actively to prevent their kids from inheriting the pain they experienced.
Children with poor behavior usually come from parents who didn’t give them enough nurture, attention, and structure. In addition, if a child is neglected, ignored, or dealt with a lot of aggression, then s/he will act out in different ways to get attention, such as smoking, drinking, hanging around, bad influences, and the like. This can develop into developing mental disorders such as sociopathic, narcissistic, and other tendencies. There are multiple styles of parenting, but the common ones are:
- Neglectful/Passive: This is when parents aren’t fully involved in their kids’ lives and don’t provide them with guidance. Parents aren’t immersed in their child/s’ life and treat their child as a burden or not wanted. They don’t give them enough attention and are mentally &/or physically absent. Kids are forced to raise themselves and/or their siblings, which can present itself in the future as being too independent and pushing people away. In addition, kids can feel a sense of low self-worth due to the lack of attention & reassurance from their parents.
- Aggressive/Hostile: This is when parents make their kids’ life difficult and miserable with aggression or create conflict with each other or others. This includes criticizing, insults, yelling, throwing objects, and physical abuse. This is one of the most dangerous forms of abuse because it causes the child to suffer psychologically, affecting their development in multiple ways.
- Overprotective/Helicopter: This is when parents are too worried for their children’s safety, preventing them from anything they deem too “dangerous or unsafe.” This might seem like it’s not a big deal or good, but this deprives the kids of developing the proper responses learned by dealing with several of life’s challenges. In addition, these kids will not develop the appropriate social skills and will have difficulty interacting or getting along with others.
- Permissive: This is when parents don’t create boundaries with their children and let the kids do whatever they want. These parents don’t deny their kids anything and give them anything they want. This causes kids to feel entitled and have no self-control., which can lead to delinquent behavior such as underage drinking, crimes, and more.
- Idealizing: This is when parents praise their kids’ behavior, whether they’re behaving or not. This creates a sense of superiority in the kids and makes them believe they are better than everyone and disrespect or put others down as a result. This is one of the causes for developing a narcissistic personality, an excessive/inflated form of self-worth.
Effects of Unhealthy Parenting:
As mentioned above, bad parenting can significantly impact a child’s life and change their trajectory. Kids take all the emotional and possibly physical scars that can lead to a life of misery, with a high likelihood of passing on these traits to their children.
Bad parenting can result in kids developing:
- Low sense of self-worth and confidence
- Anger issues
- Being overly emotional
- Irrational or obsessive thoughts
- Lack of respect for others
- Excessive sense of self-worth
- Exaggerated independence
- Distrust in others
- Unhealthy ways or inability to express oneself
- Substance addiction
- And many more
Overcoming/Healing from Difficult Childhood:
The environment a child is exposed to determines their personality or behavior as an adult. The first step is to be aware that you are from a dysfunctional family and accept it. The next step is to take charge of your healing and build a better emotional state for yourself. Healing takes time and isn’t linear. There are multiple highs and lows but remember the goal. Once you’ve dealt with your traumas, you will have the mindset and mental freedom to do as you please. Some ways to change your path into a better one include:
- Awareness: The first step to healing is to be aware of all that you’re dealing with emotional baggage. Read books and listen/watch videos on the types of parenting, their effects on kids, and how to deal with them. There are multiple resources available that can help you deal with difficulties and help you elevate your life.
- Distance: Children usually feel trapped as they grow up when they are raised with unhealthy parents. It is vital to reduce interaction with those who cause harm. This can help you heal by experiencing life without their influence and being exposed to healthy patterns from healed or aware people.
- New support network: Surround yourself with people who can help you through rough times and show you the joyful parts of life. Sometimes, having people who’ve experienced similar or adverse childhood helps the healing process even more.
- Therapy: For some, healing requires some sort of therapy, which has a negative stigma. Some opt out and prefer going online, whether on different websites or YouTube channels of psychologists, to find tools for dealing with their issues. It is undoubtedly better to visit a therapist to go deep and discover what’s causing you a profound impact.
- Emotional Regulation: This is the ability to manage your emotional state. You should always be aware of what emotions you are feeling to prevent outbursts or unhealthy communication. Always ask yourself what you are feeling and why. This will lead you to an answer/s that can help you deal with the situation. Learning how to regulate your emotions and be able to express yourself is one of the most important skills everyone needs to have.
- Mindful meditation: This is when you train your mind to slow down, release bad thoughts, and relax. By practicing meditation, you can examine what goes on in your mind, leading you to hidden or unanswered questions from your past, which may not always be easy to deal with. You might have parts of your life that you’re not proud of or not willing to acknowledge. However, suppressing these parts will only add to your mental struggles. There are many tutorials online on how to meditate, some with guidance. It is essential to clear your head and remove baggage for your life to be joyful.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Always track what you’re putting into your mind and body. Avoid unhealthy lifestyles such as excessive alcohol, smoking, junk food, sugar, and so on. Your mental state can impact your physical condition and vice versa. Make sure you regularly exercise, eat nutritious foods, and monitor your mental & emotional state.
Parenting is challenging, especially if the parent/s have their baggage. Parents need to be able to show their kid/s care, attention, ability to recognize self-worth, and the tools they will need for emotional regulation & more to have a healthy life. Parents should strive to give their kid/s the best life they can provide.
There are different ways to develop your child healthily, one of the best ones being ‘Authoritative Parenting.’ This balanced parenting style means that parents are firm when disciplining their kid/s but are also nurturing and supportive. They recognize that a child needs to learn boundaries & respect as well as how to be self-confident and receptive in different aspects of life. In addition, some ways to bring up a child in a healthy way include:
- Nurture: Parents need to be able to show their kids love and attention. This teaches kids that they are valued, allows them to be kids, and how to work on their issues in a healthy & expressive way. Kids will learn to make decisions, have manners, and respect themselves & others.
- Structure: Parents need to create frameworks for children to be aware that there are boundaries that cannot be crossed. Creating structure allows kids to respect people’s beliefs & requirements and understand that there are consequences if they don’t. When kids understand this, they not only will develop a healthy communication style but also have boundaries to keep them safe.
- Recognition: Parents need to praise their children whenever they do something commendable. This is important to develop self-esteem and recognize their potential.
- Empowerment: Parents must empower their kids with social, mental, and psychological skills to make accurate decisions and recognize their value. In addition, kids will learn how to recognize kindness, empathy, cooperation, and more because they are secure themselves & therefore have no need to bring others down out of insecurity.
Substance abuse is when a person is uncontrollably dependent/addicted to alcohol, drugs, and illegal substances. Not only is this person putting themselves in danger, but the people around them as well. These substances include alcohol, marijuana, prescription medicines (pain pills, stimulants, or anxiety pills), methamphetamine (taken to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)), gasoline, paint thinner, cocaine, heroin, opiates, hallucinogens, inhalants, and the like.
There are different reasons for a person to become addicted, such as:
- Sudden loss of a loved one
- Feelings of loneliness or low self-worth
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- Family issues
- Financial concerns
- Peer pressure: starts as a way to fit in but becomes addicted
- Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more
A person suffering from substance abuse has different symptoms, including:
- Extreme weight loss
- Low self-control
- Losing motivation and avoiding responsibilities
- Social problems (work, school, or home)
- Constant emotional outbursts
- Decreasing interest in taking care of themselves or hygiene
- Insomnia or Hypersomnia (sleeping too much) at odd hours
- Red eyes
- Craving the substance
Treatment is a challenging process that involves withdrawal or detox at home (outpatient) or in a hospital/treatment center (inpatient). Detoxification is a process when a person stops taking all the addicting substances as quickly and safely as possible. A person mustn’t stop immediately as this can have serious health risks.
Specific treatment differs and can depend on:
- Age and over health & history
- Symptom severity
- Type of substance and dependency level
- Specific medicine, procedure, or therapies tolerance
The drug treatment plan also consists of behavior therapy, a psychotherapy treatment from an alcohol & drug counselor. The counselor could:
- Discuss the patient’s substance and mental issues
- Provide ways to handle the cravings & avoid the substances to prevent relapse
- If the patient relapses, the counselor will provide tools to help and get back on track
- If necessary, include certain family members to help them better understand the patient or help the patient develop communication skills to talk to them
- And anything required to help the patient end their addiction successfully.
Some treatment plans can also include a long-term follow-up to track how the patient has managed recovery independently, including medical and psychological checkups.