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Signs Your Parenting Style Is Affecting Your Child's Mental Health

Speaking with Only My Health, Adolescent Mental Health Expert Dr Himani Narula, talks about how parenting styles can affect a child’s mental health.

Tenzin Chodon
Written by: Tenzin ChodonUpdated at: Jun 11, 2023 00:30 IST
Signs Your Parenting Style Is Affecting Your Child's Mental Health

Onlymyhealth Tamil

Parenting can be a blessing but it comes with several challenges. Responsibilities and duties take over your life completely and sometimes, coerce you to change your priorities. Consciously or subconsciously, every parent has a parenting style. Dr Himani Narula, Developmental Behavioural Paediatrician and Adolescent Mental Health Expert and Co-Founder and Director Continua Kids, said, “Every parent learns by experience and trial what parenting methods work best for their child. There are different parenting styles that can be observed,  each one having different approaches to discipline, communication, and nurturing.” In an interaction with the Only My Health team, she discusses the different types of parenting style and how it can affect children’s mental health.  

Also Read: How Bullying Leads To Mental Health Distress In Children

Types Of Parenting Style

Here are the four most common parenting styles:

Authoritarian Parenting

This parenting style emphasises on strict rules, high expectations, and unquestioned obedience. It focuses more on control and obedience rather than nurturing independence or fostering open dialogue.

Authoritative Parenting 

Authoritative Parenting style combines setting clear rules and expectations with support. They use positive reinforcement and consequences to enforce discipline and communicate openly with their children, taking into account their feelings and opinions.

Permissive Parenting

This is a method where parents set few rules or boundaries and may avoid discipline. They often prioritise their children's happiness over setting limits. 

Uninvolved or Neglected Parenting

This form of parenting style has a lack of emotional involvement, responsiveness, and supervision by the parents. They may provide minimal guidance, support, or attention, leading to potential developmental and emotional issues in the child.

Also Read: Mind Your Kid’s Mind! 6 Parenting Tips To Improve Your Child's Mental Health, As Per Expert

How Parenting Styles Affect Children’s Mental Health

Dr Narula said, “Parenting styles can significantly impact a child's mental health and overall well-being. Overly strict or demanding parenting can create a pressure-cooker environment that hampers a child's emotional well-being. Constant criticism, belittling, or excessively high expectations can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem in children. If your child frequently expresses negative self-perception or struggles with self-confidence, it may indicate that your parenting style is affecting their sense of self-worth. Overprotective parenting that shields children from challenges and fails to foster independence can hinder their development of essential life skills.”

In addition, the doctor shared that children who are subjected to inconsistent discipline or overly permissive parenting may exhibit various behavioural issues. These include: 

  • Struggle with self-regulation
  • Aggressive or defiant behaviours
  • Difficulty following rules

According to the expert, neglecting emotional support, dismissing their feelings, or suppressing emotional expression can lead to emotional difficulties in children. “A parenting style that restricts social interactions, limits opportunities for friendships, or discourages healthy social connections can contribute to feelings of loneliness and social withdrawal in children,” she added. 

Side Effects Of An Overly Demanding Parenting Style 

Being overly demanding and holding unrealistic expectations from your child can drive children towards perfectionism and a fear of failure, said Dr Narula. Signs can include: 

  • Excessively focused on achievement
  • Feeling immense pressure to succeed
  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Chronic stress and anxiety

The doctor emphasises on the need to accept and acknowledge that every child is unique. However, if these signs are consistent in children, it may be worth evaluating your parenting approach and seeking professional guidance or support to ensure your child's mental well-being.