Understanding Parents' Good Intentions
There are four basic ways that well-intentioned parents unsuspectingly turn their children into "raging," out of control little monsters and completely destroy their own children's self-respect all in the name of love.
The most popular emotional wrecking tool with parents is over-criticism.
The slogan of the over-critical parent is "I'll get that kid to shape up even if it kills him! After all, its for his/her OWN good! They will thank me some day!" The really dedicated over-critical parent rides the kid's back from the moment his feet touch the floor in the morning until he passes out at night! They become angry to the point of rage (or violence) whenever their kid "fails" to live up to their expectations. They resort to all kinds of ways and means to punish and "humiliate" the kid to live up to their unrealistic expectations and standards. The apparent aim of this kind of misguided parent(s) is to build the child up by tearing them down! The end result of course is just that, a torn down, broken hearted and bitter(angry) kid!
The child (victim) of the over-critical parent's "good intentions" soon starts to feel that he or she just can't do anything right! Whenever he or she falls short of perfection, they are made to feel they are a total screw up. And he now begins to feel that, since he or she has failed to live up to their parent's impossibly high standards and expectations, he doesn't therefore deserves their love and respect. A deep and dark feeling of "self-contempt" (anger at self) and worthlessness overwhelms him to the point of self-destructive behavior. Kids resent (are angry about) being "put down" and insulted all the time ESPECIALLY by their OWN parents! They rebel against it, and parents then wonder "whats gotten into him ?"
Since he has been made to feel he's a "loser" by HIS OWN PARENT(S), he will now dramatize (act out) this conviction for the rest of his life. He enters into negative, destructive activities with other "losers" (gangs) and now will "succeed" at doing things that don't need to be done, like shooting or smoking dope, stealing cars, being sexually promiscuous, failing in school and so on. And in the end, his "good-intentioned" and well meaning parent(s) will simply say to themselves, "We just can't understand it! And after all we have done for this rotten kid..." It is time to let our young people know that adults (parents, teachers,) have problems too, that they are trying very hard to "over-compensate" for their own deficiencies because they want to look good in the eyes of others. Holding unrealistic goals and standards for our children makes positive cooperation between the adults and kids impossible and turns the "generation gap" into a war zone with millions of casualties on both sides.
What Kids Can Do
There are some very effective ways of dealing with the angry, over-critical parent. One of them is to stop automatically reacting to your parent's over-critical tactics! They expect you to react the same old way, but that doesn't mean you have to do it! You have the power to choose a different response! It's up to you. Catch yourself about to over-react in the same old way and don't do it! Do what the would least expect you to do! You can agree with them! Or Thank them for their interest in your perfection. Be creative but always respectful! You can STOP the cycle of insults! Specific strategies are covered in our pamphlet.
There are three (3) additional ways well-intentioned parents succeed at reducing a once self-respecting and self-confident, happy-go-lucky kid to the point of despair and rage are over ambition, overindulgent and overprotective parenting styles. A complete discussion of the negative styles of parenting and five (5) effective ways of dealing with the negative "good intentions" of parents is available in the pamphlet "Managing And Coping With The Angry Parent".
The above paragraphs appear in the pamphlet Managing and Coping with Anger for Parents.