Impact of Hostile Parenting on Child’s Mental Health

The parent-child relationship acts as the foundation for a child’s emotional, social, and cognitive development. However, when this relationship is characterized by way of hostile parenting behaviors, inclusive of aggression, verbal abuse, and emotional detachment, the outcomes can be profound and long-lasting. A child’s cognitive improvement begins within the first year of existence and then progresses gradually. Children require support. Parenting in painful and one-of-a-kind situations. Parenting offers children the self-assurance and confidence to face vital and difficult issues. Sensitive parenting with love and care is required for the child’s adulthood and cognitive improvement.

The media has been observed to be important in enhancing parenting practices. Non-cooperation and lack of guidance from parents result in an increase in depression in young children, whereas, such youngsters whose parents are cooperative and supportive there are fewer chances of being depressed. Bad parenting and fashion mean kids face a negative circle of relatives and social tension. Because of the high level of strict parenting and the occasional degree of positive parenting, they experience strain, peer stress, and social and family courting troubles. Another good term for effortful managing parenting is required for children’s cognitive improvement. Parenting is also necessary for the proper balance between feelings and behavior. There are many problems seen in infancy, early youth, and adolescence.

Types of parenting style

There are majorly four major types of parenting styles, as follows:

1) Authoritative parenting style

Because it combines warmth and flexibility with a clear parental authority, authoritative parenting is frequently seen as the best approach. Offspring of parents with authority are aware of their expectations. Their parents go over the rationale for the regulations and the repercussions of breaching them. However, they still have the last say in decisions; parents listen to their children’s viewpoints as well.

Parents who are authoritative build strong, loving bonds with their kids. Offspring of parents who exercise authority over them typically develop into self-assured, accountable, and emotionally stable adults. In addition, they are gregarious, inquisitive, and goal-oriented.

2) Permissive parenting style

Being their child’s best friend is something that permissive parents may take great delight in. These parents communicate openly and are kind and caring. They take a proactive interest in the mental health of their kids. They also use punishment sparingly and with little expectations. While they support their kids when things don’t work out, permissive parents also allow their kids make their own decisions.

When it comes to eating, going to bed, and doing their homework, children with permissive parents are free to choose. These kids typically have strong social skills and high self-esteem. However, they lack the ability to self-regulate and can be impetuous and demanding. Parents who are permissive frequently attempt to regulate their children’s surroundings in order to spare them from rejection or failure. This implies that the youngster might not be ready for adulthood.

3) Authoritarian parenting style

Authoritarian parents control their children’s behavior and use strict guidelines, rigid expectations, and discipline. Parents who are authoritarians have high standards and are not accommodating. It is possible that unless they receive consequences for breaching a rule, the kids are unaware that it even exists.

Authoritarian parents raise well-behaved children who are adept at obeying their rules. On the other hand, these kids might lack decision-making experience and grow up fearing punishment. Some may consequently develop violently rebellious tendencies, have poor social skills, and struggle to make wise judgments on their own.

4) Neglectful parenting style

While providing for their child is a fundamental requirement, neglectful parents seldom give their youngsters their full attention. These parents typically have low expectations for their children and provide little in the way of caring. Parents may be compelled to make this decision because of necessity, such as having to work late shifts, being a single parent, having mental health issues, or having general family issues.

Parents who neglect their children typically raise robust, independent adults out of need. They may struggle to regulate their emotions, fail to create useful coping mechanisms and find it challenging to uphold social connections. Understanding the notion of good parenting, the idea of parenting, the significance of parenting and children’s needs, the elements of parenting, and the results of parenting are all necessary for practicing good parenting.

Effects of hostile parenting on children’s mental health

A number of studies have proved a balanced correlation between children’s mental health, problems, and negative or hostile parenting.

1. Tension or anxiety issues:

children who experience aggressive parenting are more likely to appear in social tension ailment (unhappiness) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Negative parenting conditions can enhance underlying anxieties, leading to growing a chronic kingdom of anxiety and uncertainty, that would result in excessive worry, social disengagement, and avoidance behaviors (Rapee, Spence, & Barrett, 2001).

2. Depressive Issues:

An increased risk of depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD), has also been connected to hostile parenting. The classic symptoms of depression, such as hopelessness, anhedonia, and feelings of worthlessness, might be exacerbated by the emotional neglect and lack of support that children of hostile parents frequently endure (Kaur, Grados, & Rapee, 2020).

3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

Children who experience severe or persistently aggressive parenting may experience debilitating symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks, and avoidance behaviors, commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When a child encounters too much trauma from harsh parenting, their coping skills may become overwhelmed, which can result in the onset of PTSD symptoms (Bosquet, Egeland, & Gunnar, 2008).

4. Conduct Issues:

Moreover, aggressive parenting may act as a trigger for conduct issues, which are a collection of actions that include drug addiction, delinquency, and violence. When parents are antagonistic, their children may be more likely to engage in negative and dangerous behaviors due to a lack of positive reinforcement and role modeling (Patterson, Reid, & Dishion, 1992).

Fundamental Mechanism of Hostile Parenting

Numerous studies have repeatedly shown a strong correlation between children’s mental health issues and aggressive parenting.
The intricate and multidimensional mechanisms via which hostile parenting leads to mental health issues involve the interaction of biological, psychological, and social elements. Many important mechanisms are believed to be involved:

1) Stress and Dysregulation of the Stress Response System:

Children who experience aggressive parenting on a regular basis may develop chronic stress. The frame’s principal stress response mechanism, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, may grow everyday due to deregulated ongoing stress. According to Gunnar, Frenn, and Wewerka (2018), this deregulation may additionally result in an overreaction to day-to-day strain, which heightens susceptibility to everyday anxiety, depression, and other intellectual fitness problems.

2) Impaired Emotional Regulation:

Children raised by strict parents frequently struggle with emotional regulation and finding healthy, appropriate ways to communicate their feelings. Because they are unable to acquire good coping mechanisms, children who suffer from emotional distress and mental health problems are more likely to have unfriendly parents (Cole, Michel, & Teti, 1994).

3) Attachment Insecurity:

Hostile parenting has the potential to destroy children’s attachment bonds, which are the emotional ties that form between them and their caregivers. Good attachment bonds are essential for healthy emotional development. When these attachments are broken, children may develop attachment insecurity as an adult. Attachment insecurity is a disease characterized by anxiety, a fear of abandonment, and difficulties forming close connections. Behavioral problems, depression, and anxiety are a few mental health conditions that have been linked to attachment instability. (Dozier, Stovall, & Albus, 2008).

4) Social and Cognitive Impairments:

Moreover, aggressive parenting may lead to cognitive and social problems. Unfriendly parents may hinder their children’s social and cognitive development by denying them healthy relationships and stimulating activities. Children with these disabilities may find it more difficult to create good relationships, do well in school, and handle day-to-day challenges, all of which can contribute to mental health problems. (Eigsti, Cicchetti, & Rogosch, 2004).


Practices, which include verbal abuse, excessive grievance, and cruel subjects, create a toxic environment where children feel dangerous, unloved, and undervalued. This consistent environment of negativity and lack of emotional support can lead to a harmful impact on children’s overall mental health.

1) Internalizing Issues: Depression, Anxiety, and Low Self-Esteem

Children may feel alone, unworthy, and unlovable if they receive little affection, warmth, or acceptance from their caretakers. Internalizing issues like worry, depression, and low self-esteem may result from this. Youngsters may become withdrawn from social situations, endure protracted melancholy, and form a poor opinion of themselves.

2) Externalizing Issues: Substance Abuse and Conduct Disorders

Externalizing problems show up as exterior behaviors, as opposed to internalizing problems. Aggression, disobedience, and rule-breaking behavior are traits of conduct disorders, which can be exacerbated by hostile parenting. Youngsters may experience issues with impulsivity, having trouble regulating their anger, and not caring about other people’s rights. Additionally, substance abuse may develop as a coping mechanism for the emotional anguish and grief brought on by aggressive parenting.

3) Neurobiological Impacts: Reduced Brain Growth

Parenting that is aggressive has an effect that goes beyond behavioral and emotional fallout. Research has indicated that long-term exposure to stress and misfortune can modify brain growth, specifically in regions accountable for emotional control and stress reaction. Later in life, there may be a higher chance of mental health illnesses due to these neurobiological alterations.

4) Measures to promote children’s mental health

Preventing and treating hostile parenting is essential to promoting children’s mental health and wellness. Among the effective preventive measures are:

5) Training and Educating Parents:

By means of educating and coaching parents about high-quality parenting strategies, provide them with the equipment they need to create safe, nurturing surroundings for their children. Parenting courses can provide them with conflict resolution skills, help with positive reinforcement tactics, parenting support organizations, conduct workshops on numerous components of mental fitness and some effective communication approaches while dealing with children in adolescent phase. (Webster-Stratton & Reid, 2003).

Network-oriented programs:

Network-based applications that provide families with resources and assistance that can be extraordinarily effective in decreasing strain and enhancing parenting strategies. Those packages can offer details of parenting support organizations, conduct workshops on numerous components of mental fitness and child development, and offer counseling . (Berkel, Boer, & Engels, 2011).

Early Intervention and Prevention :

Prevention of the development of mental health issues in children requires early diagnosis and intervention with families that are at risk of hostile parenting. Families that experience hostile parenting styles can get benefit from early assistance and intervention through home visiting programs, parent-child therapy, and mental health services. (Shaw, Dishion, Supplee, Lacoursiere, Gardner, & Connell, 2006).

Creating Positive Parenting Practices

Adopting good parenting techniques can help to lessen the harmful impacts of aggressive parenting. In order to provide a loving and encouraging environment, parents can:

  • Demonstrating unconditional love, warmth, and acceptance
  • Engaging in active listening to their child’s issues and practicing excellent communication
  • Using positive discipline techniques that prioritize direction and affirmation over punishment
  • Fostering transparent dialogue and establishing a secure environment for kids to communicate their feelings
  • Seeking expert assistance when necessary, resolving their own emotional difficulties, and parenting abilities

The mental health of children is significantly and permanently impacted by hostile parenting. Effective preventive and intervention techniques can be developed by comprehending the mental health issues linked to hostile parenting and the underlying mechanisms that lead to these results. These tactics ought to be on educating and supporting parents, bolstering community-based initiatives, and putting early intervention programs into action. We can improve children’s mental health and well-being and pave the way for a better future for future generations by tackling hostile parenting practices.

Book Recommendation:

Berkel, C., Boer, F., & Engels, R. C. (2011). The effectiveness of community-based parenting programs for preventing child maltreatment: A meta-analysis. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35(2), 172-183.
Bosquet, M., Egeland, B., & Gunnar, M. R. (2008). Chronic stress and the developmental psychobiology of child maltreatment. In J. P. Shonkoff & J. J. Meisels (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood intervention (2nd ed., pp. 138-166). Cambridge University Press.
Cole, P. M., Michel, M. K., & Teti, D. M. (1994). The development of emotion regulation and dysregulation: A clinical perspective. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59(2-3), i-vii, 1-170.
Dozier, M., Stovall, K. C., & Albus, K. (2008). Attachment and psychopathology in adulthood. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (2nd ed., pp. 710-730). Guilford Press.
Eigsti, I.-M., Cicchetti, D., & Rogosch, F. A. (2004). The role of early relationships in the development of maladaptive social-emotional behaviors in maltreated children. Development and Psychopathology, 16(1), 201-219.
Gunnar, M. R., Frenn, K., & Wewerka, S. S. (2018). The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and early childhood development. In C. A. Nelson & M. M. Luciana (Eds.), Handbook of developmental cognitive neuroscience (3rd ed., pp. 355-375). MIT Press.
Kaur, R., Grados, M. A., & Rapee, R. M. (2020). The relationship between early life stress and depressive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Medicine, 50(8), 1327-1339.
Patterson, G. R., Reid, J. B., & Dishion, T. J. (1992). Antisocial boys. Castalia Press.
Rapee, R. M., Spence, S. H., & Barrett, P. (2001). Children of anxious parents: A developmental perspective. Clinical Psychology Review, 21(6), 873-890.
Shaw, D. S., Dishion, T. J., Supplee, L., Lacoursiere, R. B., Gardner, F., & Connell, A. M. (2006). Preventing early-onset delinquency: Experimental evaluation of the family check-up in early childhood. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(2), 250-261.
Webster-Stratton, C., & Reid, M. J. (2003). The Incredible Years parent, teacher, and child training series: A decade of research. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology,

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