Guilt Trips represent the pinnacle of parental passive aggressive behavior. The phrases “how could you do this … after all we’ve done for you” and “is this the all the thanks we get” roll so naturally off a mother’s tongue that it’s frightening. Actually, it appears to be more or a hereditary behavior passed down from generation to generation. Laying guilt trips on children from an early age through their teen and young adult years wrecks havoc with a child’s self-image and sense of self worth. It also creates a whole new generation of passive-aggressive parents
“Wait Till” Threats
Using the threat of a father’s discipline is passive-aggressive behavior that can damage the relationship between a father and child. It also instills fear and disrespect for authority that children carry with them into adulthood. By the same token many fathers play the same game and push off the punishment on mom. When a children messes up the bedroom, many father’s are fond of saying “Wait till your mother sees this … she’s going to have a fit”. Either way, this passive-aggressive parenting behavior is hardly constructive, effective or productive.
Telling Santa Claus
Attempting to modify a child’s behavior by threatening to tell Santa Claus is another time-honored passive-aggressive tendency on the part of many parents. It’s so nice to be able to be able to blame a kind, loving fictional old man as the source of potential punishment, rather than just assuming the parental role of disciplinarian. Thank God most children stop believing in Santa by eight or nine years old.
God’s Going To Punish You
Speaking of the almighty … he also becomes the scapegoat for many passive aggressive parents. Threatening that “God is going to punish you” can have long term effects on a child’s spiritual life and their relationship with a higher authority.
Discuss A Child With Their Friend’s Parents
Whether they’re in elementary school or graduate school, no child likes the idea of having their behavior or “business” discussed with the parents of one of their friends. Complaining about their children and comparing their accomplishments … or lack of them … may make the parents feel better … but it’s embarrassing to the children and harmful to their self-image with their peers. It also weakens the child’s ability to trust their parents and confide in them when they have a real problem … such as sex, drugs or alcohol.
Making Embarrassing References To Their Earlier Years
No child wants to hear his parents recount stories of their infancy or earlier childhood years. Some parents derive great satisfaction out of this behavior and actually use it to inject snide innuendos to passively make a point to their children. Saying in front of their child to another adult “she was such a good baby … I wonder what happened” or “He was a beautiful little boy … you would never know it from the looks of him now” is really one of the lowest forms of passive aggressive parental behavior. Not only is it insulting and demeaning, it also creates self-image problems.
Comparing Them To A Sibling or Other Child
Some parents can’t ignore the opportunity to use a comparison between a child and their brothers sisters, relative, or friends to make their point. This can make a child feel inferior and develop self-image problems and create sibling rivalry and other friction or conflict that could easily arise.
Becoming Their Friends Friend On Face Book
Some parents like to become friends with their children’s friends on Face Book. Very often, it’s done so a parent can use a social networking site as a way of keeping tabs or spying on their children … in order to avoid an outright discussion. This form of behavior signals “trust” and “communication” problems could possibly exist between the parent and child.
Flirt With their Boyfriend or Girl Friend
Nothing is more embarrassing to a teenager or adult child than their parents “flirting” with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes, it’s just the parent’s way of saying to their child “Just because I’m your mother (or father) … don’t think that members of the opposite sex don’t find me attractive.” Some parents actually are in competition with their children for some strange reason. Other parents do it to show they’re “cool” and “hip” parents.
Display Photos Of Former Spouses or Significant Other
I have a friend whose mother has always hated his wife, even though his wife is a warm, wonderful, sensitive and intelligent woman. As a way of continually making her “statement” about her son’s choice of spouses, she keeps a picture of her son and is college sweetheart on their piano. Her reason is simply, ” It’s such a great picture of my son … and she was such a lovely girl!”