- Lack of empathy, understanding, and sensitivity towards certain family members, while expressing extreme empathy towards one or more members (or even pets) who have real or perceived "special needs". In other words, one family member continuously receives far more than he or she deserves, while another is marginalized.
- Denial (refusal to acknowledge abusive behavior, possibly believing that the situation is normal or even beneficial; also known as the "elephant in the room.")
- Inadequate or missing boundaries for self (e.g. tolerating inappropriate treatment from others, failing to express what is acceptable and unacceptable treatment, tolerance of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.)
- Disrespect of others' boundaries (e.g. physical contact that other person dislikes; breaking important promises without just cause; purposefully violating a boundary another person has expressed)
- Extremes in conflict (either too much fighting or insufficient peaceful arguing between family members)
- Unequal or unfair treatment of one or more family members due to their birth order, gender, age, family role (mother, etc.), abilities, race, cast, etc. (may include frequent appeasement of one member at the expense of others, or an uneven enforcement of rules)
- Abnormally high levels of jealousy or other controlling behaviors
- Conflict influenced by marital status:
- Between separated or divorced parents, usually related to, or arising from their breakup
- Conflict between parents who remain married, often for the "perceived" sake of the children, but whose separation or divorce would in fact remove a detrimental influence on those children (must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as a breakup may harm children)
- Parents who wish to divorce, but cannot due to financial, societal (including religious), or legal reasons
- Children afraid to talk (within or outside the family) about what is happening at home, or are otherwise fearful of their parents
- Abnormal sexual behavior such as adultery, promiscuity, or incest
- Lack of time spent together, especially in recreational activities and social events ("We never do anything as a family")
- Family members (including children) who disown each other, or refuse to be seen together in public (either unilaterally or bilaterally)
- Families with older parents or immigrant parents who cannot cope with changing times or a different culture
- A parent of the same sex never intercedes in father–daughter/mother–son relations on behalf of the child
- Children who have no contact with the extended family of their mother or father due to disharmony, disagreement,prejudice, feuding, etc.
- In a family with one rebellious child, the other children have to "walk on egg shells" to avoid the wrath of their parents.
- Going beyond mere disagreement, an intense schism between family members regarding religion or ideology (e.g. a family member encouraging or having an abortion while others object on religious grounds; parents who support their country being at war, while children do not.)
Unhealthy parenting signs
- Unrealistic expectations
- Conditional love
- Disrespect; especially contempt
- Emotional intolerance (family members not allowed to express the "wrong" emotions)
- Social dysfunction or isolation (for example, parents unwilling to reach out to other families—especially those with children of the same gender and approximate age, or do nothing to help their "friendless" child)
- Stifled speech (children not allowed to dissent or question authority)
- Denial of an "inner life" (children are not allowed to develop their own value systems)
- Being under- or over-protective
- Apathy "I don't care!"
- Belittling "You can't do anything right!"
- Shame "Shame on you!"
- Bitterness (regardless of what is said, using a bitter tone of voice)
- Hypocrisy "Do as I say, not as I do"
- Unforgiving "Saying sorry doesn't help anything!"
- Judgmental statements or demonization "You are a liar!"
- Either little or excessive criticism (e
- Giving "mixed messages" by having a dual system of values (i.e. one set for the outside world, another when in private, or teaching divergent values to each child)
- The absentee parent (seldom available for their child due to work overload, alcohol/drug abuse, gambling or other addictions)
- Unfulfilled projects, activities, and promises affecting children "We'll do it later"
- Giving to one child what rightly belongs to another
- Gender prejudice (treats one gender of children fairly; the other unfairly)
- Discussion and exposure to sexuality: either too much, too soon or too little, too late
- Faulty discipline (i.e. punishment by "surprise") based more on emotions or family politics than established rules
- Having an unpredictable emotional state due to substance abuse, personality disorder(s), or stress
- Parents always (or never) take their children's side when others report acts of misbehavior, or teachers report problems at school
- Scapegoating (knowingly or recklessly blaming one child for the misdeeds of another)
- "Tunnel vision" diagnosis of children's problems (for example, a parent may think their child is either lazy or haslearning disabilities after he falls behind in school despite recent absence due to illness)
- Older siblings given either no or excessive authority over younger siblings with respect to their age difference and level of maturity
- Frequent withholding of consent ("blessing") for culturally common, lawful, and age-appropriate activities a child wants to take part in
- The "know-it-all" (has no need to obtain child's side of the story when accusing, or listen to child's opinions on matters which greatly impact them)
- Regularly forcing children to attend activities for which they are extremely over- or under-qualified (e.g. using a preschool to babysit a typical nine-year-old boy, taking a young child to poker games, etc.)
- Either being a miser ("scrooge") in totality or selectively allowing children's needs to go unmet (e.g. father will not buy a bicycle for his son because he wants to save money for retirement or "something important")
- Nature vs. nurture (parents, often non-biological, blame common problems on child's heredity, whereas faulty parenting may be the actual cause)
Dysfunctional parenting styles
Kids as pawns"
List of other dysfunctional parenting styles
- "Using" (destructively narcissistic parents who rule by fear and conditional love)
- Abusing (parents who use physical violence, or emotionally, or sexually abuse their children)
- Perfectionist (fixating on order, prestige, power, and/or perfect appearances, while preventing their child from failing at anything)
- Dogmatic or cult-like (harsh and inflexible discipline, with children not allowed, within reason, to dissent, questionauthority, or develop their own value system)
- Inequitable parenting (going to extremes for one child while continually ignoring the needs of another)
- Deprivation (control or neglect by withholding love, support, necessities, sympathy, praise, attention, encouragement,supervision, or otherwise putting their children's well-being at risk)
- Abuse among siblings (parents fail to intervene when an older sibling physically or sexually abuses a younger sibling)
- Abandonment (a parent who willfully separates from their children, not wishing any further contact, and in some cases without locating alternative, long-term parenting arrangements, leaving them as orphans)
- Appeasement (parents who reward bad behavior—even by their own standards—and inevitability punish another child's good behavior in order to maintain the peace and avoid temper tantrums "Peace at any price")
- Loyalty manipulation (giving unearned rewards and lavish attention trying to ensure a favored, yet rebellious child will be the one most loyal and well-behaved, while subtly ignoring the wants and needs of their most loyal child currently)