Most parents don’t set out to annoy their children on purpose. However, at some point, their children may perceive their actions as irritating or bothersome.
Parenting is a challenging journey, and even the most well-meaning parents can make mistakes along the way, inadvertently causing annoyance or distress to their children.
If you find your relationship with your child strained, and you’re left wondering why, understanding these top 5 annoying things parents do to their children could provide some valuable insights.
Recognizing these behaviors can pave the way for a healthier and more harmonious parent-child relationship.
1. They make their child feel they’re never good enough
Parents often unintentionally do things that cause their children to feel inadequate.
Here’s how they make their children feel that way.
Criticize often, praise rarely
As parents, we often believe it’s our responsibility to correct our children’s mistakes and guide them toward improvement.
However, some parents can fall into the habit of constantly criticizing and pointing out errors, forgetting to offer praise and encouragement1.
They also do not celebrate their child’s achievements because they believe their child must excel and that praise is unnecessary for meeting expectations.
Some parents focus solely on their child’s academic performance and frequently remind them to work harder. Bad grades are unacceptable to them. They create the impression that grades matter more than having a strong parent-child relationship.
Constantly comparing them to others
Regularly comparing a child to their peers can instill a belief that they are never good enough compared to others, hurting the child’s self-confidence.
2. They think they are always right
When disagreements arise between a parent and their child, some parents feel that they are always right no matter what.
They know more
This belief often stems from the parent’s own experiences, as they were once children themselves, and they assume they know what’s best for their child from their perspective.
They also feel that being older automatically means they possess all the knowledge while their children know nothing and, therefore, are always right compared to their children.
They use “Because I said so”
This phrase is often used when parents don’t have a good reason or don’t want to explain what they want. It communicates to the child that their opinions, concerns, or preferences are unimportant. Only the parent’s wishes are valid.
They never apologize
Some parents who believe they are always right are reluctant to apologize, even when they are wrong.
This reluctance can stem from the fear of losing authority or appearing weak in front of their children. They may feel that admitting a mistake could undermine their position as a parent.
3. They show double standards and hypocrisy
Parents can sometimes exhibit double standards and act hypocritically, engaging in behaviors they don’t permit their children to do.
Here are some examples.
Children may be yelled at disrespectfully by their parents, yet they are expected to remain respectful and not raise their voices in return.
Parents may argue with their children when they disagree, but the children are not allowed to argue back, as it’s considered talking back or showing an attitude.
Parents demand their children respect them, but they don’t have to respect their children.
When parents don’t get their way with their children, they can be harsh or punitive, but children shouldn’t have tantrums when they don’t get their way. Instead, children are expected to be polite and kind at all times.
Parents may not listen to their child’s perspective or take it into consideration while demanding that their children always listen to them and comply with their wishes.
Honesty and trust
Parents often emphasize the importance of honesty and encourage their children to be truthful in their interactions. However, when children express their honest thoughts or feelings, the parents may react angrily if they don’t like what their children say.
4. They are controlling
Controlling parents want to dictate every aspect of their children’s lives.
They may resort to various tactics to ensure their children follows their instructions or abides by their decisions.
Sometimes, parents yell or scold them to force their children to do what they want.
Some parents may take away their cell phones, video games, or privileges to get their children to comply. Some may even use physical punishment to bend them to their will2.
This is a less confrontational approach to controlling children than punishment or strict discipline.
It involves persistent reminders, complaints, demands, or long lectures to influence their children’s behavior and guide them toward desired outcomes.
Some parents control their children by micromanaging and getting overly involved in their children’s daily life. They offer excessive guidance and closely monitor their extracurricular activities3.
5. They treat children as second-class citizens
Some parents treat children as though they are lesser people.
Some practices include:
- Denying children’s rights
- Excluding them from decision-making
- Dismissing or invalidating their emotions or experience
- No attempt to understand children’s perspectives
- Not allowing privacy
- Condescending attitude toward children
- Imposing unrealistic expectations
- Making fun of or shaming them
- 1.Posthumus JA, Raaijmakers MAJ, Maassen GH, van Engeland H, Matthys W. Sustained Effects of Incredible Years as a Preventive Intervention in Preschool Children with Conduct Problems. J Abnorm Child Psychol. Published online October 18, 2011:487-500. doi:10.1007/s10802-011-9580-9
- 2.Lansford JE, Wager LB, Bates JE, Dodge KA, Pettit GS. Parental Reasoning, Denying Privileges, Yelling, and Spanking: Ethnic Differences and Associations with Child Externalizing Behavior. Parenting. Published online January 2012:42-56. doi:10.1080/15295192.2011.613727
- 3.Schiffrin HH, Liss M, Miles-McLean H, Geary KA, Erchull MJ, Tashner T. Helping or Hovering? The Effects of Helicopter Parenting on College Students’ Well-Being. J Child Fam Stud. Published online February 9, 2013:548-557. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9716-3