Do you worry about your child’s emotional health? Worry no longer.
Here are eight suggestions that will nearly guarantee your child will suffer from poor mental health, strained family relationships, poor peer relationships, low self-esteem and chronic emotional problems throughout his or her life.
1. Shut down all emotional expression
If your child expresses anger, sadness, or fear be sure to make fun of them, tell them not to feel, and dismiss their emotions. Withhold love whenever they express any emotion — especially vulnerable feelings.
Another very effective way to shut down their emotional expression is to to trump their emotions by making sure you become more upset than they are. They will put their feelings on hold and change their focus to comforting you.
2. Set inconsistent rules
Never talk openly about your expectations for your child’s behavior. Keep your child guessing about what you expect from him or her — and make sure you change the rules constantly. Be sporadic and unpredictable when enforcing consequences and punishment.
When your child doesn’t comply with your every whim, say — with a heavy disappointed scowl — “You should know by now what I expect of you. Don’t ever let me down again.”
3. Ask your child to solve your problems
Share all of your worries, concerns, and relationship problems on a daily basis. Ask them for advice and act helpless in the face of solving your own adult concerns about work, money, relationships — and especially sex.
Always present yourself as incapable of taking care of yourself and your own problems. This will ensure that your child will feel emotionally burdened by your issues.
4. Put down your child’s other parent
Never show affection to your spouse or partner in front of your child and criticize your partner daily. Alternate between being cold and rejecting of your spouse, and fighting and screaming in front of your child. Threaten divorce on a regular basis so your child will live in a state of chronic anxiety.
If you’re already divorced, remain cold, distant, bitter, and angry, and blaming of your ex-spouse for the rest of your life. Be sure to send subtle messages to your child that he or she is the cause of your divorce.
5. Punish independence and separation
Whether your child is two, twelve, or eighteen years old, alternate between crying hysterically and totally dismissing them when they express thoughts, feelings, or desires that differ from your own.
If they show any signs of wanting to explore new things, meet new people, or express any thought or emotion that is different from your, respond by saying dramatically, “How could you do this to me?”
6. Base your self-worth on your child’s performance
Link your self-esteem on your child’s appearance, behavior, how well they do academically, and how many friends they have. Remind them that their performance reflects on you, as their parent, and that any failure makes you feel like a horrible parent. Put extreme pressure on them to be the best in everything they do.
Threaten to withhold love if they don’t win the beauty pageant, if they don’t get elected student body president, if their grades ever fall below a 4.0.
7. Get in the middle of your child’s relationships
Direct every action your child takes in their relationships. If your child gets in trouble at school, immediately rush to talk to the teacher and get your child off the hook. As your child grows, be overly involved in your child’s friendships, love relationships, and referee all disagreements and fights with peers.
If you have more than one child, get in the middle of sibling relationships by comparing them to each other regularly by saying, “Why can’t you be more like ______?”
8. Expect your child to live your unfulfilled dreams
Push your child to do all of the things you wished you’d done as a child or adolescence. If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a professional dancer, force your child to take daily dance classes starting at age 2. If she ever wants to quit, cry hysterically and don’t talk to her for at least a week.
If you’ve always dreamed of being a pro baseball player, force your son to carry a baseball during all waking moments and threatened to put him up for adoption if he isn’t MVP every year. Let him know that if he doesn’t get a college baseball scholarship you will be disappointed and depressed for the rest of your life.
If this post hits a little too close to home, you consider getting some professional psychotherapy to gain emotional insight, sharpen your parenting skills, or resolve issues from your own childhood and adolescence.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Aug 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Hanks, J. (2012). 8 Surefire Ways To Emotionally Screw Up Your Kid. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/08/03/8-surefire-ways-to-emotionally-screw-up-your-kid/