Parents have a tendency to display passive-aggressive behavior with their children. It is important that parents understand what passive-aggressive behavior is so they can turn the behavior around to do what is best for their children. The best way to understand what passive-aggression is, is to see examples of it.
Passive-aggressive behaviors common to parents:
Grades- Parents tend to pressure and bribe children when it comes to their school grades. This passive-aggressive behavior pushes children to get better grades but not necessarily from studying and knowing the information.
Sports- When a child is involved in sports at school, parents ultimately become passive-aggressive. Parents want their kids team to win so they can go a little overboard. Avoid pressuring your child to win every game they play. You will find that they do just fine without all the pressure being placed on them.
Guilt Trips- Parents will often send children on long guilt trips if the child doesn’t do what the parents wants them to do. This can pressure a child so much that he/she doesn’t want to be around the parent at all. It could be something as simple as the parent requesting a kiss from the child and being turned down and the parent pretending to cry.
Using Food- Parents often use food to bribe children into feeling better or to get them to behave. “If you are good in the store, you can have a cookie.” is often heard from passive-aggressive parents. This type of bribery does sometimes work well, but it also encourages kids to relate everything to food. This can be very bad for their health in later years when they turn to food for comfort or to reward themselves.
Yelling- Parents often yell at their children and it still gets them absolutely nowhere. This is a passive-aggressive behavior that parents can easily change by deciding that it isn’t a solution, it only adds to the problem. Yelling affects the children greatly and can even be named as a form of abuse if done too often. It might scare the children, but it does little beyond that.
Threatening- Parents love to threaten their children. “If you don’t do this, you won’t get to do that” or “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to ground you.” The problem is that we often don’t see those types of threats through. We say it in hopes that the kids will listen and then they don’t. If you say it, mean it and follow through.
The Other Parent- One of the most infamous ways that parents can be passive-aggressive is to threaten the child with the other parent. For instance, “wait until you father gets home” would be considered passive aggressive behavior. This is a threat but you are using someone else to threaten them with. If there is a problem, deal with it right away, so your child doesn’t forget what he/she did wrong.
Concentrating on the Negative- Passive-aggressive parents are known for concentrating on the negative rather than the positive things their child does. This type of parent thinks he/she is doing their child a favor. What they are really doing is tearing down the child’s self-esteem. Remember to concentrate more on the positive behavior so your child sees that he/she can get attention for that as well.
Tomorrow- Parents sometimes have a way of putting things off until tomorrow and then tomorrow never comes. This is just as passive-aggressive as anything else on the list is. This could be anything from play time to talk time. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today when it comes to your kids.
Communication- Parents are passive-aggressive when it comes to communication. We often tell our children that we want to keep the lines of communication open but we then get angry when they tell us things we don’t want to hear. The children end up getting in trouble for things that they just needed to talk to you about. This can easily be avoided by allowing the children to talk to you openly about certain things without fear. This will make them realize they can come talk to you. Otherwise, they will just do what they want to do without you ever finding out. In this case, you won’t be able to help them through some of their roughest times.
It is time that parents realize that everything they say and do has an impact on the children. All of the above behaviors can make the children afraid to talk to you or to feel as though they have a safe place. Detect those areas that may be your passive-aggressive parenting faults and correct them as soon as possible. Your children should be able to count on you.