A lot of parents go out of their way to be super-mom or super-dad these days. Parents want their kids to be happy, healthy and fit in. Over the last few years there have been countless articles published about the new generation of “spoiled kids”. Sometimes parents just fuss too much over their children and that leads to those kids feeling entitled. According to an article in the New Yorker, today American and Canadian children represent some of the most indulged young people in history.
Spoiling or constantly fussing over children can backfire. It means those kids may behave badly, may have difficulty in future relationships and they may have a hard time coping with adversity later in life. On the other end of the spectrum there are parents who do the opposite of fussing and spoiling. These are parents who do horrendous things to their kids - sometimes without thinking about the consequences.
When we ignore or treat our kids badly it can also have negative impacts. It can lead to children feeling lonely and isolated, it can diminish a child’s self-esteem or in some cases, it can lead to physical injury.
It's true that finding a happy medium between overprotecting our kids and being reckless with them can be a challenge at times, but psychologists say for proper human development, finding a medium ground is exactly what our kids need.
It is hard to imagine that anyone would be reckless or do anything awful to their kids, but a quick review of the following list is proof that it does happen.
15 Giving Daughter A Breast Lift
When a young girl turns 7 there is a long list of gifts that she would enjoy. Everything from music inspired toys, to interactive games, as well as arts and crafts are big hits with girls in this age group. Gift giving becomes more of a challenge when girls get into their mid to late teens and older. One British mother and plastic surgery proponent passed on all of the typical gifts and decided to give her daughter a voucher for breast augmentation on her 7th birthday. Back in 2011, Sarah Burge who is known as the “human Barbie” due to the countless plastic surgeries she has undergone, told reporters that her daughter Poppy, “begged me for a boob job so I gave her a voucher so she can have it after she’s 16, when its legal.” So what was young Poppy’s reaction? Apparently she said, “I can’t wait to be like Mummy with big boobs. They’re pretty”.
People around the globe reacted with shock and outrage at the time, but Burge said, “Some people think it’s controversial and I get angry when strangers say I’m a bad mother because I don’t think there’s any harm in giving her this gift.”
14 Adopted Child Sent Back
Torry Anne Hansen, a single American mother decided to adopt a little boy from Russia. Artyom Saveliev was not in the United States for long though. Hansen decided in 2010 to put the 7-year-old on a plane and send him back to his homeland alone. She told authorities the boy was “violent” and “psychopathic”, however, there didn’t seem to be any records of Hansen taking Artyom to see a psychiatrist or psychologist for assessment. At the time, Russian politicians were outraged and called the mother, “monstrous”. News reports indicated that Hansen returned the boy to the Russian Education and Science Ministry by soliciting the help of a man she met on the Internet and paid $200 to meet the little boy’s flight in Russia.
The adoption agency ended up filing a lawsuit against Hansen who in the end was ordered to pay child support. Even though the boy lives in Russia, he is an American citizen and Hansen is still considered his mother.
13 Forcing Child To Drive
When a parent has had too much to drink, they stay put and don’t drive right? Well, that is what is supposed to happen. A few years ago Louisiana State Police were stunned when they pulled over a pick-up truck and discovered the driver was just 8 years old. As they quickly discovered, Dad was drunk and asleep in the passenger seat. The vehicle was pulled over after other motorists called police complaining about an erratic driver. What makes it worse is that the boy’s 4 year-old sister was in the back seat. The incident ended with the drunk father being arrested and booked on two counts of child desertion, a parent allowing a minor to drive, open container and two counts of no child restraint and no seat belts.
Sadly this isn’t the first time police have encountered this. In 2011, officers in Detroit responded to a gas station after a 9 –year-old girl, barely able to see over the dashboard was forced to drive her father’s vehicle because he demanded she get behind the wheel because he had consumed too much whiskey.
12 Leaving Baby Behind
So we all get forgetful sometimes, but as parents we rarely forget out kids and as new parents we tend to watch our babies like hawks. This wasn’t exactly the case for a New York couple who lost their 8-month old baby boy in the midst of a heated argument in a parking lot in the Bronx. The parents of little Ezra Reyes said it was a case of miscommunication with each thinking the other had the baby, but passersby reported that the baby wasn’t even strapped into his stroller, but was sitting on the hot pavement all alone. The couple was charged with endangering the life of a child, but thankfully, despite cars whipping in and out of the parking lot, the baby was not hurt. In this case, the mother said she was so focused on taking care of her two year old and thought the father was looking after their 8-month-old.
11 Unusual Punishment
Most parents want their kids to do well in school. The idea of course being that it will help them achieve their future goals and put them in a position to establish a good career when they are older. Some parents have very high expectations of their children when it comes to academic achievement and then there are those who simply want their son or daughter to demonstrate that they have given it their best effort, regardless of the final grade. Many psychologists say punishment for poor grades often leads to depression and/or worse grades. Perhaps this needed to be explained to Florida Resident, Ronda Holder before she laid punishment on her son for his low GPA. When 15-year-old James failed his P.E. Class, Holder forced him to wear a sign that posted his low grade and then walk up and down a busy street for hours. Holder told people at the time that her son didn’t seem to have interest in academic achievement and while she didn’t have a high school education, she would have liked to have that diploma. She wished her son would not waste his opportunity. Wow- should we call it tough love or cruel punishment?
10 Asking: Why Can’t You Be More Like…?
We all need examples and people to look up to in life. These are usually people that for various reasons we admire. It could be for their strength, their talent or their contribution to mankind. The bottom line is that we as individuals normally decide who we do and don’t look up to. What we don’t need is someone telling us who or what we should aspire to be like. Behavioral experts say one of the worst things we can say to a child is “why can’t you be more like your sister?” or “Why can’t you be more like the neighbor’s kids?” It might feel natural for parents to compare their kids, especially in terms of milestones and behavior, but all kids develop in different ways, at a different pace and they have their own personalities. Comparing your son or daughter to someone else tells them that you wish that they were not themselves; that they were different. This can make young people feel inadequate.
9 Blaming The Kids
It is always so cute when something goes wrong and a little boy or girl insists, “I didn’t do it, the dog did”. We expect kids to blame family pets or siblings for mishaps when they are little and can’t think of a way out. Hey – you probably did it once or twice when you were young. It is pretty horrendous though when a parent makes a mistake or causes an accident and blames her own children to avoid the fall-out. Sadly, there are mothers and fathers around the world who have admitted to blaming the kids, especially when they are young and can’t really understand or defend themselves. For example, blaming a toddler for breaking a prized possession in the house when that toddler hasn’t developed a clear vocabulary is a pretty pathetic thing to do. Blaming someone for your mistake eventually comes back to haunt you in the way of either guilt or the truth. As the saying goes, ‘the truth always comes out in the end.”
8 Threatening Words and Tone
How many times have your heard a child threaten to run away, hold his breath or perhaps hurt himself or herself in an effort to get attention? Threats by a child are simply desperate attempts to get what they want. Threats by anyone are really rather juvenile or so many behavioral experts contend. Some Parents will threaten their kids when they become frustrated. Have you ever heard this one: Stop or I’ll give you something to cry about?” How about this one? “If you do that one more time, I’ll spank you!” Part of the problem with parental threats is that you have to follow through on them or they mean absolutely nothing to the child. The other problem according to child psychologists is that it teaches our kids to use threats with their friends or in relationships when they get older. When it comes to threatening small children for misbehaving, experts say it is totally ineffective. Studies show that the young child is 80 percent likely to repeat the misdeed later the same day. A more effective approach might be to call a time-out or redirect the child’s attention.
7 Letting Kids Drink Booze
There has always been a debate about letting underage children drink alcohol. In the United States it is illegal to purchase alcohol under the age of 21. Some states do include exceptions when it comes to drinking. Let’s be honest about this issue though – most people don’t wait until 21 to have their first sip of booze. Some parents will encourage their kids at 16,17, or 18 to try a little alcohol. The idea is to take the mystery out of having an alcoholic beverage so they don’t go crazy with drinking when they do come of age. Other parents are strict about it; preferring their son or daughter wait until 21. There are believe it not, parents who let their young kids drink from time to time. These mothers and fathers often cite the use of alcohol in Europe, where drinking age is much lower. They argue that young people in Europe don’t seem to be experiencing any “adverse reactions”. However, psychiatry experts in North America say, sipping alcohol at a young age can be a risk factor for a lot of other behavorial problems, including binge drinking and drug abuse. Some research also suggests that providing young kids with small sips normalizes alcohol use too much and therefore can encourage kids to want to drink on a regular basis.
6 Telling Them, “I Wish I Never Had Kids”
Being a parent can be joyful and rewarding, but there are also days when it can be challenging and exhausting. Sometimes when a child is misbehaving and a parent is beyond frustrated there is an urge in that parent to lash out, scream or throw a tantrum as if he or she is the child. In these cases it isn’t just the temper that needs to be controlled, it is what is being said that needs to be carefully considered. Yes, there are many parents who at some point feel like they should not have had kids. They feel as if they are failing as parents, but they should keep those thoughts to themselves. It is horrendous when a mother or father tells their own child, “I wish I never had kids.” This sentence can not only make a child feel awful about themselves, it can backfire and make the relationship with the child even more tense. Imagine the child’s position. He or she hears this and thinks- 'I have nothing to lose, including affection so I will just act out as much as I want.'
5 Screaming, “I Hate You”
It really is not uncommon for a child to tell their parents “I hate you” at some point while they are growing up. Often times, this is in the early teen phase when a young person is trying to spread their wings a little more and exude control over their life. It is a pretty immature thing to say. You know that it is said in the heat of the moment and your child doesn’t really hate you. He or she is simply so angry that they can’t find any other way to express themselves. There are parents who have retaliated by saying, “I hate you too”, which can be really damaging. Young people do take comments literally and many think that ‘if my parents don’t like me then I must be repulsive.’ This one little statement can have lasting affects on a child’s self esteem. Any parent who has done this clearly does not realize the psychological power a mother and father has over their kids.
4 Tying Child to Tree
Most parents are familiar with the term “terrible twos” or the “terrible threes”. When kids are around this age they start to develop a stronger ability to express themselves, and sometimes that expression can come in the form of biting, hitting, or spitting at people. They also start to develop a vocabulary and use it to hurt mom and dad when they feel the need to, which often times is for no apparent reason. Although it may seem awful, this behavior is normal – just a phase. There are kids that at various ages are difficult to care for, but somehow parents have to find a way to carefully work with these children so that they grow into well-adjusted members of society. Tying a child that is out of control to a tree is a horrible solution for a parent frustrated with their child, but that is exactly what a New York State mother did last year. While the 22-year-old mother tried to tell authorities that it was a “misunderstanding”, police took her into custody and she was charged with child endangerment. A relative of the mother told reporters at the time that her 4-year-old nephew had behavioral problems and her sister was just trying to make sure he wouldn’t try to run away.
3 Leaving Kids Home Alone
Home Alone is the adorable movie about an 8-year-old boy forced to protect himself from a pair of burglars when he is accidently left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. The movie is 25 years old and still a crowd pleaser. It is one of the most revived and celebrated movie’s of all time. Since the movie hit the big screen in the 90’s it has become a theatre production, an illustrated storybook and part of advertising for pizza deals. Cute and funny is a good way to describe Home Alone; however, real life home alone is nothing to laugh about. While on vacation, one American mother left her 8 and 9-year-old kids at home and she went to a restaurant. She was arrested and charged with two counts of endangering the life of a child. While each state sets standards for the legal age to stay home alone, in most places it is between 12-14 years of age. It’s true that some kids are mature at a young age and can handle the responsibility of being alone, but what made this matter worse was that the kids were in an unfamiliar place. Sadly, leaving kids home alone happens often. Earlier this year a woman in Georgian was arrested for leaving her 2-month-old alone in her apartment.
2 Forcing Kids to Fight
Disagreements and conflict are a part of life. There is no way of going through life completely avoiding fights, but as many psychologists will tell you, there is a right and wrong way for people to go about resolving their differences. A physical duel is not the best choice. Often times the problem is never really on the surface, but rather a deep seeded issue that requires careful thought and discussion, yes – talking it out. It is our job as parents to teach our kids positive ways to resolve problems, but some parents, like one Washington father feel that duking it out is best. In 2011, the father was so upset with his daughter that he forced her to put on body armor and take up a sword so she could fight him as if it were medieval times. In another case, a mother called for a fight at her home when her daughter was having difficulty with a schoolmate. She thought it would be a good idea for her daughter to try to beat her enemy to the ground as others looked on.
1 Putting Self First
The majority of parents want nothing but the best for their kids; the best education, the best summer vacations, the best friends, the best health – the list goes on. It is not unusual for a mother or father to put their needs and wants aside so their kids can have a better life, but once in a while you hear about a parent that appears too selfish to put the kids needs first. While this may sound funny on the surface, it is really awful when you give it more thought. Here it goes …there is a mom in the United States that has admitted to buying both top food brands and generic food brands. She consumes the top brand, for example, Jif peanut butter and feeds the generic brand to her kids. She has admitted to food bloggers that she finds the generic substandard and “gross tasting”, but it is cheaper than the top brand so she can save some money by feeding the generic to the kids, while still enjoying peanut butter herself.
While the acts mentioned in this article do sound awful, it is important to keep in mind that the majority of parents are thoughtful, caring and law-abiding citizens who do put a lot of time and energy into trying to raise their kids in a safe and healthy way.