By Dr Ken Resnick, parenting specialist

I prefer the concept child problems over the concept problem children because a child is not always the obstructing factor, as the origin of the problem is not always the child. Problem parents are usually the root cause of problem children. This is a consequence of problem parents rather than problem children.

Parents should continually strive to get to know their child in order to parent them more effectively as well as improve him/herself as an educator. I will discuss below examples of various common problematic educative situations (PES) which are the consequences of bad parenting.

It is difficult to parent a child correctly, and no one likes to feel that they’re a bad parent. Since no one is perfect, it is also natural for a parent to make mistakes. Mistakes are made either on the basis of indifference or ignorance.

Disturbances in Family Relationship

Disturbances in Family

Several possible disturbances in the family situation can be educatively obstructive and can result in bad parenting. The relationship of the parents is a co-determinant of their relationship with their children as well as the relationships between the children.

This relationship between their children also influences the relationship of understanding between the parents. In other words, there are a multitude of interacting complex relationships within the family which means that when difficulties arise, confusion and conflict arise which disturbs these relationships.

Neglected Affective Relationship

Parenting advice

In order for a child to feel secure, a child needs to experience demonstrated love from its parents. However, often the parents are too busy to show this love spontaneously, or if they are cold, unemotional people, they are not in a position to give the child the love and personal warmth that is essential. In these situations, a cosy family atmosphere is missing and the fact that a child has a right to a bright sunny childhood is ignored.

Affective neglect does not necessarily refer to deficient amounts of love but also to the other extreme where the love displayed is excessive. The consequence of deficient love is an unsatisfied child whereas excessive love results in the child being satiated.

Regarding a deficient amount of love, Ter Horst, a well known Dutch educationist says: Love is a core category of educating. It makes a child’s personal growth and education a possibility and secures his humanness.

Withholding love is a contradiction. One who loves shouldn’t withhold it, not even during a conflict or scolding. A young child has nothing worse to overcome than a deficiency in love. Parents who withhold love are usually emotionally absent, unloving, pre-occupied and not in contact with their child, this has a significant negative impact on the child’s growth to adulthood as he may feel unloved, sees the world as gray and without perspective.

Feeling unloved usually manifests itself in feelings of rejection and an inability to connect in an emotionally healthy way with others. A child lacking in a loving attachment has an emotional longing for acceptance and remains affectively needy. Often he responds by looking for attention and behaving inappropriately in a quest to feel loved, wanted and accepted.

On the other hand, a child who is smothered, where he receives too much love becomes egocentric. He does not cultivate a healthy, realistic sense of his place in the world. His world revolves around himself and in later adult life he may become disillusioned by the demands of a cold, businesslike world.

Read about some more of the problematic educative situations (PES) and bad parenting styles.


The SmartChoiceParenting programme is an evidence-based positive parenting programme which is very effective in helping parents to deal with a variety of childhood disorders including ADD, ADHD, encopresis (soiling), bedwetting, oppositional defiant disorders (ODD) and many other behaviour problems. It also deals with parenting children of divorce.

Marriage counselling is also offered online.

Online workshops are also available

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