Within your lifetime, you may have witnessed the unfortunate experiences of children or peers growing up with permissive or even neglectful parents. Or perhaps, you grew up in a very strict household, and link this upbringing to your status as an upstanding member of society. Whatever your backstory, you have become a parent who is unwilling to witness your child become an undesirable element of society, and thus, aggressive and authoritarian parenting has become your preferred parenting style.
While the intention as a parent or guardian is to see your child become a successful and well-mannered person, being overly strict, and using intimidation, verbal threats and corporal punishment can be more harmful than helpful in your attempt to foster discipline. Here are some ways in which aggressive parenting can hurt your child:
Children who Grow up in Households with Aggressive Parents are Highly Likely to:
- Become victims of bullying and abuse. This can happen due to growing up with no consideration given to their opinions and fear of verbal and physical aggression at any instance of disobedience.
- Become perpetrators of bullying, abuse, and aggression. Children may model their parent or guardian’s behaviour and lash out at others both inside the home (e.g. siblings) and outside the home (e.g. peers at school).
- Develop mood disorders such as depression and anxiety due to living in such a high-stress environment.
- Have suicidal thoughts also due to living in such a high-stress environment.
- Abuse alcohol and drugs to cope with the stressors they face at home.
- Runaway from home due to feeling misunderstood and victimized.
What to do Instead of Aggressive Parenting:
Instead of adopting an aggressive parenting style, you can focus on practicing an authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parents give their children a sense of choice and independence by allowing them to freely operate within the parameters that have been set for them. What separates authoritative from aggressive parenting is the act of active listening. This does not mean that your child will think that they can walk over you, nor does this make your child think that you are ‘one of dey little friend dem’. On the contrary, you are allowing your child to respectfully raise their opinions to which you can decline (with an explanation as to why) or consider. As a result, your children will know that they can have a conversation with you and be heard, no matter what your final decision may be.
If you are struggling with aggressive parenting and want to seek support, you can contact any of the following:
- Families in Action: 628-6333
- Trinidad and Tobago Innovative Parenting Support: firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-8264 / 389-6928 / 385-4968
- Ministry of Social Development and Family Services’ Hotline: 800-1MSD
- The National Family Services Division: 794-7483 or 784-553
If you believe that your child may be experiencing psychosocial issues, contact any of the following for support:
- ChildLine: 131 or 800-4321
- Children’s Authority: 996 or 800-2014