There is no such thing as ‘Bad Parents’ as all parents love their children more than anything in the world. However, what we need to talk about in Pakistan today is ‘Bad Parenting’. In Pakistan, parenting is limited to feeding, clothing, schooling, and providing worldly provisions for the child. While many developed countries have adopted practice of parental training and assistance years ago, we in Pakistan rely on decades old practice of either helicopter parenting, excessive control or excessive love and pampering. All of these approaches result in psychological damage and behavioral disturbances in children which become more obvious after adolescence. This article aims to highlight bad parenting problems in Pakistan and their impact on children.
What is Bad Parenting?
No matter how harsh the term may sound, highlighting ‘bad parenting’ is becoming need of the hour. The times have changed. The exposure of children in terms of education and technology has changed. Therefore, it has become a necessity to adjust our parenting style and care for children as well. Parenting Style in Pakistan is mostly typical for majority. The child gets extra attention and care at young age with grandparents or aunts and uncles available for extra pampering. While this is fine to a certain limit, parents often find themselves in a pit when it comes to tough love at later stages of life.
The concept of understanding behavior and psychological aspects of child’s personality is still new for Pakistani parents. Restricting children while not hurting their self-esteem seems like an unheard concept for most. This, when combined with excess love or strictness, results in factors of low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, resentment and stubbornness as children grow up. It is high time that parents own up to their responsibilities and understand bad parenting problems and their impact. Bad Parenting exists in each society but some of the particular parental traits in Pakistani families that need to be addressed includes the following:
Overprotective/ Helicopter Parenting
Over the years, psychological studies have confirmed that overprotecting children can make them risk averse and highly dependent on others. Parents protect their children from facing any kind of failure, disappointment or even bad moods out of love for them. It is a common sight in Pakistani households that children insist on having particular foods, toys or activities and throw tantrums to melt elders’ heart. Even if parents try to enforce strict rules, grandparents or one of the spouses interfere for the sake of child. This sends unclear signals to the child and making them more stubborn. Such submissions to tantrums and bad behavior can also damage child’s moral instincts and social behavior.
Similarly, Helicopter parenting is a common parenting style which starts from childhood decisions and continues throughout adolescence and adulthood. This micromanagement is also observed in decisions related to education and schooling. where children are burdened with parents’ wishes in terms of subject and field selection. This type of parenting is definitely bad for children who are not only devoid of confidence for decision making in later life, but even have to spend adulthood in careers that they have no interest in. This is one of the major factors why Pakistan, as a nation, lacks creativity, innovation and human development.
This is another type of bad parenting problem in Pakistan which has grave impact on children. Disgruntled Parenting is the exact opposite of overprotective parenting. For instance, in some households practice of yelling or spanking is quite common. Aggressive behavior of parents is perceived as normal behavior based on decades old practice of our ancestors. The intolerant and annoyed responses of parents towards anything done by their children against parents’ wish or expectation results in aggression. Studies now show that disgruntled parenting will result in child becoming aggressive, depressed, withdrawn, or low self-esteemed.
Disgruntled parents often forget that instead of teaching their child patience, and self-control, they are teaching them how to show anger, frustration instead of patience and self-control. Interestingly, the practical implication of disgruntled parenting can be witnessed in Pakistani nation. We have low tolerance for anything that goes against our wish. Moreover, the aggression and lack of consideration we display towards anyone with different views than ours, is in a way related to what we observed and learned as a child.
Another type of bad parenting Pakistani parents are guilty of is ‘Neglectful Parenting’. Previously, this type of parenting was more observable in fathers. The patriarchal culture in Pakistan has resulted in a narrow definition of role of parents. Men are responsible for monetary aspects of households. Fathers are not expected to participate in emotional development of children. Pakistani fathers are comparatively less involved in upbringing of children than western societies. At the same time, social, emotional and physical development of children is considered sole responsibility of mothers. Sadly, the negligence is prevalent on part of both mothers and fathers. Given the responsibility of household chores or jobs, parents often do not have the patience to deal with children’ emotions, tantrums or noises.
Instead of yelling, dealing with it firmly, or spending time with children, parents often resort to getting rid of them. Parents let children watch their favorite programs, give them iPads or other games. Parents even let children do anything they want to shut the noise. Another way of parents to block the noise is immersing themselves in TV serials, news, social media or telephone. Pakistani children are familiar with a typical view of their mothers watching soap serials on TV or gossiping on phones. Consequently, when children need their parent’s attention, they are ignored and sent away. A major consequence of such neglectful parenting is that children stop sharing any concerns or achievements with their parents. According to studies, the rise in incidents of bullying, abuse and emotional breakdown is highly correlated to lack of communication and connection with parents. This is a direct result of neglectful parenting.
Good and Bad Parenting practices are everywhere in the world. However, the concept of parenting workshops or their training is still new in Pakistan. Parents need to realize the long term impact of bad parenting. Accepting the problems of bad parenting, their impact and understanding its meaning is the first step that should be taken by parents. This is significant in breaking the decades old practices and taking steps towards shaping an open and emotionally healthy generation.