How parents unknowingly plan their child’s failure?

What affects a child’s success? Is it the socio-economic status? Or the environment they live in? Can it also be their parent’s education level?

Many things can affect a child’s success.

Scientists have found that there are certain parental behaviour that can be linked to problem in children later in life.

According to psychology research, parents do certain things that might make kids unsuccessful –

Not encouraging kids to be independent

Stop controlling your child psychologically. Yes. What you think as guidance is actually the habit of ‘controlling’. In a research conducted by Vanderbilt University found that parents who psychologically control their kids can bring about certain negative outcomes for kids, including low self-confidence and self-reliance.

Encourage your child — especially if you have teens — to be independent. A good practice can especially be in enhancing the child’s ability to resolve conflict and thereby have positive interpersonal relationships. Additionally, this study found evidence that more independence could lead to an increase in teens’ ability to resist peer pressure.

Set out few simple rules to develop the qualities of working independently and taking responsibility. For example, give the child a simple task and enforce that she does it. If you can’t be there when the child gets home after school, give her the responsibility of checking in with you on phone to discuss her plans and to enforce that she needs to complete the task on her own.

Stop shouting/yelling at kids

A University of Pittsburgh study found evidence that harsh verbal discipline like shouting, cursing, or using insults may be harmful and unfavourable to kids’ well-being in the long-term.

The two-year study also found that harsh verbal discipline had comparable negative effects — such as behavioral problems and depressive symptoms — to studies that focused on physical discipline.

Not showing enough enthusiasm

As parents, our words and attitudes towards education, learning and school can greatly set the ground for a healthy learning process among children. It can spark enthusiasm. Thereby setting the tone for kids that learning is enjoyable as well as rewarding, even if it needs efforts.

What we say and do in our daily lives develops a positive attitude towards learning. Moreover, showing our kids that we value education and use it in our daily lives provides them with a powerful learning model. It also contributes to their success.

Read beyond school subjects

‘Reading’ is the single most important thing that you can help the child with to succeed in school and in life. The importance of reading cannot be underlined enough. The habit of reading will help the child in all the school subjects. Besides, the habit of ‘reading’ is the key to life long learning.


Get involved for REAL

Who is the child’s first and most important teacher? A parent of course!

When parents and families get involved in the child’s learning process and show concern for what is happening in their school, the child does better.

Studies show that what the parents and family does is more important to a child’s success at school and later in life than how much money the parents have or the educational background of the parents. In other words, whether parents are genuinely involved with the child’s studies/activities, and not just dictate them to do studies as a rule.

Do you talk to your child?

Parents often listen to their child while checking or chatting on their phones.

Talking and careful listening often play major roles during a child’s formative years. When parents and family members talk to each other, children pick up both their language and their behaviour. Show your child that you are interested in what she has to say.

Children who are not encouraged to talk themselves often have problems learning to read. Additionally, children who don’t learn to listen carefully often have trouble following instructions and paying attention during studies.

Stop being ‘helicopter parents’

While being an involved is a good thing, being a “helicopter parent,” or a parent who is over-controlling, could result in higher levels of anxiety and depression in children.

Research shows that students who have over-controlling parents may sow significantly higher levels of depression and less satisfaction with life.

Research by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga indicates that there is a possible connection between over-controlling parents and depression in college-aged young adults.

The researchers found that children with so-called “helicopter parents” were less open to new ideas, more self-conscious.

Bed time discipline

Irregular bedtimes could affect brain development in children.

Researchers from the UK found a link between irregular bedtimes and worsening behaviour scores, which included hyperactivity, conduct problems, peer issues, and emotional difficulties.

Early child development has profound influences on health and wellbeing across the life course.

Irregular sleep timing, especially if they occur at key times in development, could have important lifelong impacts on health.

Television time

Screen time is a cause for concern today.

A study published in The Journal of Pediatrics indicates that heavy television viewing for kids before three years of age has been associated with attention problems as well as impaired reading and math proficiency.

Some studies have indicated that educational programs can benefit, but viewing should be in moderation.

Are you authoritarian?

Developmental psychologist Diana Baumride found that there are basically three kinds of parenting styles: permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative.

The most ideal parenting style should be “authoritative”. An authoritative parent is someone who tries to direct the child rationally.


The worst kinds of parents are ‘authoritarian’? Authoritarian parents are those who are demanding and discourage open communication.

For example, “authoritarian” parents may say, “You need to get straight A’s because I said so.” It seems like a strict rule or without any rationale the child can understand.

On the other hand, authoritative parents would explain the child that good grades help kids learn and advance in life.

Authoritarian parenting could lead to inhibited performance in school and in life.

Stop using your cellphones frequently around kids

A study published in the journal of Translational Psychiatry showed that distracted parents negatively affect their children’s development.

Our technology-induced distractions can’t be a great thing. It just tells the child that we are not listening to or paying attention to their activities. This is a habit that the child might adopt and acquire that it is ok not to pay attention.

And a 2015 Pennsylvania State University study posited that smartphone usage “poses a real danger to the welfare and development of children.”

Not bonding with your child

There’s no replacement for developing a healthy, positive bond with your child.

Multiple studies have found low levels of parental warmth can contribute to behavioral problems as well as insecurity and emotional difficulties in children and adolescents. Kids who don’t get enough parental praise may also experience social withdrawal and anxiety, according to one 1986 study.

‘Slap’ as a punishment – No

Punishing a child physically has consistently been tied to hyperactivity, aggression, and oppositional behavior in children.

A University of Texas at Austin analysis in 2016 confirms that based on 50 years of research on 160,000 children, spanking was associated with mental health problems and cognitive difficulties.

Rewarding your child

Parents and teachers need to understand that rewards are not just for achievements. Rewards should ALSO be for the child who does his or her best.

Just as we need new ways of measuring student learning beyond grades, we also need new measures of student effort and achievement.

Every child has talent and the best way to acknowledge that is to look at his or her personal best. We know that children are more motivated when we acknowledge meaningful improvement or effort, however small those achievements might be.

A child doesn’t always need trophies or certificates, sometimes it requires little more than a kind word from the parent or a brief comment in a school diary from the teacher.

Research shows that when children are self-motivated, they have greater control over their learning. Thereby children are likely to master skills more quickly. And motivation comes when the child knows that her efforts will be appreciated.

So let’s reward a child’s success wherever, and whenever it occurs. While a first place in anything should be celebrated, sometimes sincere efforts made should also be appreciated.

(The author is Script.)