Because parents are human and family relationships can be as difficult as they are gratifying, passive aggressive behavior is going to occur occasionally. The problem arises when this becomes part of the regular interaction between parent and child. While many actions can be considered passive aggressive, these are ten examples.
The Silent Treatment
Nothing hurt me more as a child than being completely ignored. When I could get no response from my mother I was frustrated, resentful and scared.
Spreading the Anger Around
When a parent doesn’t know how to deal with their anger in a healthy manner, they often wind up venting that anger at everyone around them leaving everyone upset and confused.
Delaying or Preventing an Activity
Children have difficulties understanding vague time references but they know when a promised activity is in jeopardy of being canceled. It can leave a child distrustful and depressed.
Forcing a Child into a Caretaker Role
Some parents are very needy and look to their children to fulfill those needs. When a young child is forced into the role of making their parent feel better, they often feel abandoned and have no one to look to for their own needs.
Children are curious by nature. When they have an opportunity to learn something new, they are excited and often enjoy the learning of the new skill. When forced, against their will, to perform to show off a skill that they are not confident with yet they lose the joy that comes with learning and it can squelch future attempts at learning something new.
Criticism stings even when it’s veiled. Negative comments wrapped up in concern still hurt and still chip away at a child’s self-esteem.
Children expect a parent to be discreet when they share their thoughts and concerns. A private parent-child interaction shared openly as a “cute story” destroys a child’s trust and often damages their relationship with that parent.
Any parent that makes fun of their child in public or private destroys that child’s self esteem.
Allowing Mistreatment by Siblings
Ignoring the mistreatment of a child by brothers and sisters leaves a child feeling helpless and alone.
Probably one of the most damaging behaviors of all is shaming. Helping a child make good decisions will go much further than making them feel ashamed for making a misstep.
Children need and want their parents’ approval. The passive aggressive parent is a hard, if not impossible, one to please. Open communication and a direct approach of problems can maintain the child’s self-esteem and forge a strong relationship with the parent.