Are they bad parents or is it the child that makes them bad parents?

@JenInTN (27549)
United States
December 27, 2011 5:55am CST
Ok...not as cut and dry as it sounds but my psychology teacher kept harping on that question. The thing was that there are parents who are bad...abusers, molesters, neglecters...but we aren't talking about those. We are talking about parents in general that try to raise their children. The questions "are their parenting skills bad because of their child's personality" and "Would they be better parents if their child acted in a different manner?" OR could it just be their parenting skills all together would not work for any child. Apparently this is a huge question with psychologists that do family therapy. Now I never really considered the fact that the personality of a child could effect parenting skills..but if you think about it...the way a child reacts to certain situations can increase or decrease stress and or determine the way a parent reacts to them. Remember..we are not talking about abusers...there is no excuse for them. Children start to develop personalities very young and although we contribute to them, I don't think we control them. What are your thoughts about this? Do you think the personality of a child can effect parenting skills?
6 people like this
27 responses
@1hopefulman (38701)
• Canada
27 Dec 11
Each case has to be examined on its own merit. The better the parents, the more pluses in the recipe. I like the African proverb that says that it takes a village to raise a child. And still, some children with all the help possible still go bad. That's because each child is unique and the child might just resent and refuse discipline and want to go bad. Some children with many factors against them still become a success. Both parent and child contribute to successful child-rearing. But in the end, the child has its own mind and bears the responsibility of what it becomes.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
The end result is ultimately up to the child. There is only so long that parents can be held accountable. I like that African proverb too. It has been a long time since we could trust the "village to help raise a child" in my area. It is alot worse in other places though. I have to be thankful for the area I live after it's all said and done. Thanks for the input!
1 person likes this
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
29 Dec 11
I think that is an excellent proverb. The development of the nuclear family and its isolation from the larger family in modern society prevents the parents from having that whole village to ensure the rasing of a balanced child. I sometimes think we should go back to it but I doubt that is possible these days. The modern world of work has been structured to prevent the building of extended families.
@1hopefulman (38701)
• Canada
29 Dec 11
We will go back to doing things right. That's the whole message of the Bible. We just have to patient until it is God's time for doing things the right way. Now, we can only do the best we can and hope that our children will respond to the love and concern we show for them.
@celticeagle (122447)
• Boise, Idaho
29 Dec 11
I can see where there would be a definite problem. If children have an attitude and taking their privileges away doesn't do anything to the child then you have a problem. This would affect parenting skills. Most times this works but if the child doesn't care then what do you do? Yes, I think the personality of a child could affect parenting skills!
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
There are a lot of parents out there that feel helpless. They have tried everything and still can't get their child to behave. I didn't think that the Psychology field knew that but, by the statement that the instructor kept harping on, I guess they do. She said they ask that question so that they can focus their therapy. Of course both parent and child are given attention but the need of focus is what they want to find. Thanks for the response!
2 people like this
@celticeagle (122447)
• Boise, Idaho
29 Dec 11
That is interesting. Do need to find the right thing to focus on.
@Shar19 (8236)
• United States
28 Dec 11
I do think that the personality of a child can affect the parenting skills. Even if a parent is nice and calm but the child is being really bad or bratty it is often hard for the parent to stay calm so therefore the parent's personality will change into being a more stressed or angry one.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
Stress can change anyone Shar. I have to say that the concept does make sense. I don't think that it is the sole reason for bad parenting or good parenting but I think that it does have an effect. Thanks for the response...oh...and the due date is 6-29-12
1 person likes this
@AidaLily (1450)
• United States
28 Dec 11
Well I am a parent and so I will answer this as being a parent and having one of my children unfortunately living with his father. Children do start developing personalities, but I believe for the first five years of the child's life that it has a lot to do with what is going on in the home or what they learn from the more 'laid-back' parent. I think parenting skills are more a factor of when the couple. one of the parents or single parent grew up rather than based on the child. My youngest child is extremely polite. Thanks everyone that he can even when he was getting Halloween candy. He has his moment like any child his age (3) would do but mainly when he is grumpy and tired. My parenting skills are fine and I was able to adapt to the changes I needed to make in my child's schedule so that he had a bit longer for nap time and now he is rested and I spend the time doing mid-afternoon tidying up from the morning. With me, while i have periodic fun with friends I matured a lot faster. Now my oldest child (4) lives with his father who is older than me. He used to be the sweetest boy as well but now he calls people stupid and makes jokes at other people's expense and rarely wants to listen to authority. His father is used to complaining and tricking people into getting what he wants and is so focused on what he wants that the child's needs go unnoticed unless he is going to get in trouble. Maybe psychologists, including your teacher, should ask or consider how the parent was raised to determine if it affects parenting skills. In that case from just having other mothers, fathers, and couples as friends with children... I know for a fact it has something to do with how the parents are raised. A parent who was raised on more practical values or who didn't have as much or learned real responsibility as a child is less like to have problems with their parenting skills. However on the flip side a parent raised with little self control or parental strictness (like a child who is told they can charge up six candy bars or more a day on their parent's charge account or whose parents pay anything to get them out of trouble and/or help them out at least 5 times a year), will have less effective parenting skills because not only are they still dependent (and near demanding that people help them) but the child(ren) pick that up as well. I hate to use this comparison but it covers the majority and not everyone: Parents that were raised a little stricter with boundaries tend to treat their children as growing human beings who need lots of love, nurturing, and to be taught values. They make sure all the basic essentials and more are done for the child. Parents that were raised less strict with barely visible boundaries tend to treat their child(ren) as more of a pet. They feed and water them, make sure they have a roof over their head, get them checked and send them to a pet program (like training dogs) with all the basic essentials, walk them and spend whatever free time they have with them. In my opinion, children do not make bad parents... people are raised as bad parents.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
Interesting concept. We actually did discuss parenting styles. Not where they come from but apparently they have been narrowed down to three because of classification purposes. Two are the ones you mentioned. I can see why you would say that it depends on the raising of the parents too. The only thing with that is that I have seen a lot of people that have based their lives on being everything their parents weren't. That was kind of the case with me. I never wanted to be like my mom but she was not my caregiver so that might not count. I was, however, more of a boundary setter than my grandparents were. I really had no true rules growing up. My children did though and respect in my home was number one. They could say anything just about it as long as they did it in a respectful manner. I think that there are so many things that make us different it is hard to put people in certain groups. Psychology must be a very tough field. There is still alot unknown about it too. Thanks for sharing your opinion!
1 person likes this
@RitterSport (2452)
• Lippstadt, Germany
1 Jan 12
hi dear Jen, not sure as I dont have kids but I guess that the personality of a child will affect parenting skills. If a child is very submissive, always doing what he or she is told and striving to fulfill their parents dreams and hopes for them sure everyone will say the parents have excellent parenting skills although this may not be true as the child only is too timid to be her or himself........
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
1 Jan 12
That is a good point! I think that there are a lot of things that play into the recipe but there is a possibility that a child's personality can make a parent look good or bad either one. Thanks for the response..it was a very well put example!
• Lippstadt, Germany
2 Jan 12
just my example of my own childhood cause when I didnt match my mothers goals let alone dreams for me the reaction was silent treatment. How often did I not get spoken to for days up to two weeks for just being me, and for reasons which would not have been a problem in normal families.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
2 Jan 12
It is a shame...but that was not your fault. The thing is that we have a god given right to be who we are. It is not up to anyone to control us or turn us into what they want is to become. One thing that I have noticed that parents do that I think is not so great is trying to live out their dreams through their children. Because they didn't or weren't able to be something or someway, they try to do it through their children. It's not fair to the children who have dreams and ambitions of their own in my opinion.
@ANTIQUELADY (36471)
• United States
27 Dec 11
I think some people are just bad parents. I sure don't think the kids make them that way.There is alot of people who are parents that should never have been due to selfishness i think.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
Some people really aren't cut out to parent. How was your Christmas? Did you get to see the grandbabies?
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36471)
• United States
29 Dec 11
That is so true & some of them have more kids than others. All my kids were here Christmas eve. We had a good time.The baby said BOBO which is what my other grands call me. made my day, lol.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
30 Dec 11
@hmkoct5 (2066)
• United States
5 Jan 12
I live this question every day. My son is hard to deal with. He never wants to listen to anything we say. It is very difficult because when things go wrong, he will turn around and blame us for the outcome even though he didn't listen to us in the first place. There are many more personality issues that he has. It has taken us many years of trial and error to learn how best to handle him. I think this makes us good parents. We never give up on him. We always treat him fairly. We don't let him walk all over us. We are certainly never abusive and I wouldn't even say we are mean. I think some children are just harder to deal with than others and it could lead parents to make some bad parenting decisions. But overall, I think parents who try are good parents.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
5 Jan 12
I think you are right and I am so glad that you have shared your story. It can sometimes be very easy to say it is all up to the parents when one has never been faced with some of the issues that others have dealt with. I regained a little respect for the mental health community when my instructor focused so much on this particular question. Thanks again for responding!
@Kalyni2011 (3503)
• India
1 Jan 12
Parents are never bad, i know of many instances where the kids misbehave with parents, but very few parents are bad for the kids.. I tell you a story from our books, a guy cut the head of her mom and was carrying it to throw in drain, his leg slipped, he fell down, just then the mother said, 'Be careful my son', it has a hidden moral, am I right? Happy posting, cheers. Kalyani
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
1 Jan 12
That is a great story for the discussion! The question that goes through my mind when I hear the references to "good" and "bad" parents...aside from abuse of course...is who said? Who judges? Thanks for responding! Great story!
@francesca5 (1344)
29 Dec 11
coming in at the end here i can read all the comments before me, and i am inclined, to my surprise, to agree with purplepeopleeater here. that the parent has to adapt their parenting style to the personality of the child. mine all have different personalities, and they are different, i have read about, i think its the briggs myers personality test, i am saying from memory so that could be wrong, and i am quite persuaded by the existence of intrinsic personality traits, and to me the parent has to know the child and try to bring out the best in them, while accepting who they are. so that the child develops its own personality and becomes itself. and so you then have to find a way of interacting with the child that disciplines them appropriately. but whether or not that means that the child turns the parent into a bad parent is difficult, being a parent is a long job, its hard to do everything exactly right for all those years, and i also think there is a risk that psychologists try to create a perfect template for what the ideal parent/child relationship should be, that is too limiting, and what in any case is this perfect human being like? have you ever met them?
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
30 Dec 11
Oh no...never have met them. I think that being versatile is a very welcomed skill when parenting. Having more than one child can greatly increase the need for such too. I know my children are also very different. As far as the "perfect" parent child relationship..well..I would have to wonder who it was that was qualified enough to make such an assumption. Parents have different personalities too and there are no two families the same. Thanks for the response and take care.
@Hatley (164354)
• Garden Grove, California
29 Dec 11
hi JenInTn for one thing most little kids never read the psychologists books lol and sure children often have different personalities but I think if one remembers who is the parent and who is the child it would help immensely. Sure you as a parent have to take into account the various personalities of your children but if you think as an adult and remember you are the parent you should not have too much trouble raising your child to be a good decent citizen when he or she grows up.sure there are stresses but you can always decide how to handle stress and not let it handle you. I think most intelligent composed, cool and collected parents can still handle strong personalities of children. They may 'have to grow a bit with the child but they can do it given enough brain power and calmness.My husband always gave me this advice, okay our son did something naughty but cool down first , calm, cool and collected then you can handle it. you are the adult he is our child. this always worked for me
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
30 Dec 11
Great points. Parents have to learn how to handle themselves and with that being said..they can retain more power over the situation. I have to say though that I have seen some really good people with children who have turned out to be nowhere near as nice as their parents are. I wonder about that but there are so many things that could have or might have that it is sometimes hard to say. Thanks for responding and have a great New Year!
• Indonesia
28 Dec 11
I am not a father yet, but I will marry someday. I don't know how to answer your question precisely, since I haven't even a child yet. I have seen proofs about bad parents. I agree to say there are bad parent and children as well. Here, I underlined that children could be bad if they are not trained or educated well by their parents. I knew a family with two children and young parents. They married young and their daily activities were arguing, quarreling and fighting between father and mother. The children will feel bad and seriously can be psychological problem on the children to present their parents quarreled each day. In the end, the children aren't grown well, because their parents don't have time to educate them. They are not self believe. The people speak most about this family environment which could be a bad place for them to live and they ran away. Then, we got a rebellious child and disobedient. Surely, we don't want children like these. So, we have to maintain our behavior and keep our family clean from such bad things.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
I think you bring up some great points. There are things different than discipline or personality that can effect a child. The way they see parents interact with each other can teach them how to interact with others. That could be a bad thing if the parents are always fighting. Thanks for responding!
• United States
27 Dec 11
I absolutely believe that the personality of the child can have an affect on the parenting style of the parents. When parents are unwilling to change and adapt their parenting style to the needs of each child, then I believe it makes them more "bad" parents than the children "bad" children. Of course, it is very difficult with one child when the parenting style does not match the needs of the child, but it gets even more complicated when there are multiple children, especially since the parents have to be "fair" and not give the impression of "favoritism" while still adapting to the needs of each child. Let's take "timeout" as an example. Most people now use timeout as a consequence for misbehaving. This is a good tool, but it will not work in every instance, and it is even less effective when a child has anger or impulse control issues. When a child needs to release his or her frustration, then obviously sitting quietly for "x" amount of minutes is only going to increase the anger and frustration level in the child, which will eventually cause a "volcanic explosion". Instead, other tools such as "stomp around the house" or a punching bag or a board with pegs in it that can be pounded in are a more productive way to get out the anger and frustration without being destructive. Sometimes channeling the energy to a more positive activity is a far better way to handle the situation than trying to "stifle" it, but some parents just do not realize or understand it, especially when others will tell them that they should be able to "control" their children better.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
There is certainly a need for a lot of versatility when it comes to rearing more than one child. I can see exactly what you are saying about the differences in punishments too...there is sometimes a need to "release stress" and finding a way to channel that can be the difference between a stable adult and someone who has grown to be volatile. Thanks for the response!
@idowrite72 (2214)
• United States
27 Dec 11
I don't think that the personality of a child totally controls a parent's parenting skills. I think that the parents form the majority of the personality of a child by the way that THEY respond to things as well as how they deal with the behaviors of the child. Sometimes I can't believe the way that some parents respond to the CHILD'S behavior, including my own children. My brother, sister and I were just talking last night about a 12 year old who called his mom a bad name!! She is NOT the custodial parent, so I don't totally "blame" her. I was always a hands on parent, and my reaction was to smack him in the mouth.........I know, abuse......but it works!! My sister's reaction was......"get your things packed and you can go home to your father's since we don't talk like that in MY house AND I will NOT be verbally abused by you." (I kinda have to agree with that approach.) My brother said he was sent to his room...........my comment "where he has all the toys he needs"......my brother said "exactly"!! I feel that the behavior was NOT dealt with. BUT I do think that the personality of a child CAN affect the parenting, but is NOT the only factor. I dealt with my children in different ways since they were NOT alike and different things worked better with one over the other. (I have 4 grown children.)
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
Response to behavior can certainly let the child know where they have power and where they don't. I know that a child's personality isn't the only aspect of parenting for sure. I have had to deal with my children in very different manners too. They are all very different. It is sometimes hard to believe that they have been raised in the same household under the same rules. They are by no means unruly but they have presented their own challenges for sure..lol. Thanks for the input!
@MsTickle (25058)
• Australia
5 Jan 12
I think skills and abilities in parenting need to be inherent. Some parents are naturals and work well together. Parents without skills or abilities can still work well together and have a successful outcome. If these parents have a child who is obnoxious, I feel they have a better chance of survival as a family and as individuals because of the type of people they are and because they present a united front. Too often we see a family where the parenting basically falls to the mother, or, the single parent family. It's rare that a single parent family evolves without the parent or the children having issues of some kind or other. I don't think there is enough done to encourage people who are having children to educate themselves and I don't think there is enough assistance available to parents when they get into strife. A child can have an awkward or less than desirable personality but if the parent/s are consistent and setting a good example then I don't think too much can go wrong. A lot of parents behave badly and the kids pick up on the bad behaviour.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
5 Jan 12
I think that united fronts are very important when it comes to parenting too. Children are smart and if they see a weak link...they can home in on it pretty quick. I also agree with the fact there is not enough help out there for parents. Children with strong personalities can be a challenge in many ways. Thanks for the response!
@MsTickle (25058)
• Australia
5 Jan 12
Hi Jen, I just thought to add...I'm reading "Toxic Parents" at the moment in the hope of finding some help to heal from my own parents. I have discovered though that due to a lack of real instruction or knowledge about parenting, we are all toxic parents to some extent.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
6 Jan 12
I think we could be to some extent. We all have experiences that have greatly effected us and it would be very hard to spare our children from suffering somewhat from it. Like for instance..someone has developed fear of perhaps a religion or a race of people...they pass that fear on in hopes of protecting their child while instead they are instilling a certain feeling or belief based on personal experience or opinion they have developed over time. OR even deeper than that, it might be sort of a heirloom...passed down through generations of people...yes..toxic is a good word. Then there are the simple things that we could promote without even realizing it...like a communication gap between child and adult where something is taken in a way not meant.
1 person likes this
@allknowing (78915)
• India
27 Dec 11
Too much hype about parenting I notice. Honestly speaking children themselves play a big role in reaching where they reach. Parents no doubt have responsibility but their success depends on the response of the child. And that response differs from child to child. Blaming parents or giving them credit therefore is not fair. You might have noticed how differently siblings respond to the 'parenting effort'.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
28 Dec 11
Great points. Siblings do often respond differently to many of the same things. I also think there is a lot laid in the parents laps sometimes that they really didn't have a lot of control over. The children so play a larger role in their future than the parents do sometimes. Thanks for responding!
@allknowing (78915)
• India
28 Dec 11
Although I am not vociferous about it I don't quite approve of society putting 'mothers' on pedestals and literally worshiping them. There is this family I know where this mother is worshiped by her children while their bringing up was mostly done by the father and grand mother and there were others too who rallied round giving them financial support. Everyone else is forgotten save this lady!.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
That's not fair to leave the others out. Anyone can be a "super mom" if they have a lot of support. I have met moms that deserve to sit on the "pedestal" and then have seen those that needed a good whopping with one too.
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
28 Dec 11
I do not think we control the child's personality at all but everything we do and say affects how they view the world and people. So while we do not control, many people do try to influence and shape the child’s personality to their own designs. I believe that some children are born with bad personalities and there is nothing the parents can do to change it. For e.g. those serial killers who torture their victims but have good parents who would never harm anyone. If the parents were to blame for such people then there would be evidence of this and there simply is not. Good people can produce nasty children no matter how hard they try to do all the right things. In the same way bad people can produce good children who hate what their parents do. It is not just parents but any adult who the child interacts with and learns from. If these things were facts then it would be evident in all or at least most cases but I have seen many examples of nice people with bad children. The biggest problem for them is that they do not know how to deal with a bad child. The nicer the parent the more risk there is they the child will be spoiled as they try to stop the bad behaviour by giving in to the child's demands. The problem is that it is NOT cut and dry, children affect their parents behaviour just as parental behaviour to the child and to other people affects the child because child rearing is a two way system. Children see the truth in what their parents do and so they pick up any hypocrisy that the parents might pretend to themselves is not there. They learn more from what we do and act than what we say but they learn from both and there can be two different messages being given. I think that difficult children also affect their parents. Parents who do not believe in physical punishment can change their minds when frustrated and tired by constant behaviour that they cannot cope with.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11
Very well put Sharra. I think that there can be two sided effects for sure. It has to be tough to be laid back parents with a full force child. Or full force parents with a laid back child. People often learn to care for their children as much as the children learn from their parents. It is certainly not a cut and dry subject. There are a ton of things that effect the children and the parents. It is interesting to hear another side though. People never really think about the implications of the child's behavior. Focus is usually given to the parents and what they are doing. Obviously that is important too but I have seen some really good people with some really bad kids too. Thanks for the response!
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
29 Dec 11
This is one of the things you learn from experience. When I was younger I was guilty of generalisations and now I realise how wrong I was. Human interaction is a very complex thing. In the past when people lived in extended families there was always experience to draw on outside the parents and the parents learned from seeing others behaviour. It also meant that there were many role models not just the parents. I think that the creation of the nuclear family so employers could have an easily movable workforce was a mistake that caused problems. Children need a loving and secure environment to have a chance for good development but that is not always possible.
• United States
27 Dec 11
You never thought about it? Wow! Being a Capricorn , I Always thought about it. Why? Because us Capricorns mostly are Very difficult.I think the word I'm looking for is Stubborn. My mom Had to relearn How to parent. MY sister Would eat whatever she put in front of her , slept when it was bedtime. Me? My mom told me my attitude coming home from the hospital was " I don't care when you eat or sleep, I'm doing it whenever I want." so I always just assumed it is up to the child to make a parent look good or bad. Think about it. How many monsters seem to have nice parents? Dare I say The Anthony's? So it can go either way.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
28 Dec 11
I really hadn't looked at it that way. I have seen children that drove their parents to the edge but I never even took it in to account that they were effecting parenting skills. Your right though..there are alot of "monsters that have nice parents."
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Dec 11
Absolutely. Many parents do their best And yet their kid is a monster.
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
27 Dec 11
to me I think kids are trainable even with thier own personallity. You can guide them in the right way takes time but repeat repeat the thought it grows with them. SHow them love and how it works they will soon take up their own way to love but it gets close to the way you show it to them and others in the fmily. Hope this makes sence to you
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
28 Dec 11
Oh yes...it makes sense. I think that consistency is one of the keys for sure. If you allow it one day and not the next, there is confusion as to where the boundaries lie. Thanks for responding!
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
28 Dec 11
your so welcome
@bounce58 (17523)
• Canada
29 Dec 11
I'm actually in a situation which I think goes to the heart of your psych question. My son who's 11 has had some issues with my parenting skills. He started opening up about it and I've already decided that as part of my new year's resolution, I would have to curb some of my parenting traits to better suit his personality. I know I could dismiss all of this as just my son's way of making excuses, but I actually see his point of view. Him and me have the same birthdate, and I can actually understand how he's feeling. I think the same way when I was at his age.
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
30 Dec 11
I think it is a great thing that you are willing to look at yourself and the way you are handling things. Alot of times I think people get caught up in their opinions and set in their ways so much that they forget what it was like or they think there is no other way but what they have decided. Thumbs up for being willing to consider changes! Your son will grow to be a great man with your lessons. Thanks for the input!
@Hvaniday1 (550)
• Malaysia
28 Dec 11
Hi JenInTN, I think that is too deep for me with that psychological matter. But what can I say is "Chicken first or the eggs"? Until today still I'm not be able to figure it out. [i] The post was deleted due to promoting milestones, can't believe that![/i] Have a great Day!
@JenInTN (27549)
• United States
29 Dec 11