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How Parental Negativity Can Affect Children

by Candice Coleman, studioD

For some parents, every rainbow is followed by clouds. Whether these parents find the negative in everything or assume that the worst will follow a stroke of good luck, their behavior and outlook can have a profound effect on their children. While all parents have bad days and it might show to their children, those occasional bumps are unlikely to have a long-term effect on kids.

Negativity in Children

Little eyes and ears are always watching. Your child might adopt a pessimistic outlook if they constantly witness it from his parents. This negative outlook could mean criticizing the looks or behavior of other people or expecting the worst in every circumstance. Parents can remedy a child's negative outlook, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Before you say something negative in front of your child, stop and be realistic. Even if you have had a bad day, is it realistic to say that every day is horrible? Instead, you might say, "Today was not a good day. But I know tomorrow I will do my best to have a better one."

Self-Esteem and Depression

Parents play a major role in a child's self-esteem, according to KidsHealth, a child development site, and children who are frequently criticized by a parent are more likely to develop low self-esteem. This can also play a role in the development of depression. Parents should make a point of complimenting a child's achievements and deeds, and encourage their child to get involved by joining a club or volunteering in the community.

Effort, Friendships and School

A parent's negativity can have a profound effect on a child's ability to handle daily life. Young children who have low self-esteem or depression might believe that classmates and friends do not like them, according to KidsHealth. Other children might respond by doing poorly in school or finding excuses to skip school, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. A negative parent can inspire such hopelessness that a child stops trying altogether, believing that he cannot succeed no matter what he does.

Getting Additional Help

The effects of parental negativity can be far-reaching. Children might need the help of a family counselor or therapist to learn how to think positively, even if a parent's negative behavior has stopped, according to KidsHealth. Children might also benefit from doing exercises in which they focus on the good in their lives or engage in activities that make them feel good, such as getting exercise.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

Photo Credits

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