• Author Stephanie Hart

How a Parent’s Anger Affects Their Child

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Angry parenting is when a parent uses an aggressive parenting style that negatively affects their child. It’s marked by excessive screaming and yelling, disapproval, verbal abuse, and often even physical abuse that puts the child at risk for poor emotional well-being and mental health outcomes. Encountering angry outbursts from a parent can affect a child in multiple ways, and result in behaviors and feelings that they may exhibit throughout their life.

How does angry parenting impact the emotional and mental well-being of a child? Here are a few effects parental anger has.

It Instills Fear

Children who’re constantly exposed to situations involving anger from a parental figure tend to become increasingly fearful, especially when they’re in the home environment or with their parent(s). They may feel afraid to do or say anything that may upset their parent and invite their disapproval.

Consequently, they begin to limit their interactions with their parent and keep their thoughts to themselves in order to prevent an angry outburst. They may also be unable to express certain parts of their personality out of fear. 

It Causes Anxiety

Parental anger also leads to anxiety in kids who encounter this emotion on a regular basis. Children may experience a decline in academic performance, have difficulty making friends at school, and may even develop phobias due to the constant anxiety they experience because of excessive anger exhibited by a parent.

This can affect their social and emotional development, and the anxiety may persist even when they step into adulthood.

It Results in Low Self-Esteem

A child who constantly receives disapproval from their parent or is exposed to their anger is likely to lose self-confidence. Parental anger affects children’s self-esteem and makes them feel as if nothing they do will ever be good enough. This can affect their approach to and performance in various aspects of their lives.

They may carry these feelings of low self-worth with them as they grow older, and have significant difficulty in trying new things or believing in their own capabilities.

It Impacts Emotion Regulation

Children also have trouble interpreting and processing their own emotions, if they’ve witnessed a lot of parental anger growing up. They tend to struggle with attachment, self-control, emotions, socialization, and problem-solving skills. Moreover, they learn how to express their anger implosively in direct contrast with how their parent expressed/expresses anger (i.e., explosively).

Implosive anger can lead from mild to severe depression, irritability, isolation, feelings of hopelessness, lack of energy and appetite, and behaviors of the child acting out. In doing so, it affects the child’s emotional and cognitive development.

Parental anger is one of the themes explored in the memoir Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories by Stephanie Hart. Grab your copy from Barnes & Noble or from Amazon today!

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