When something is described as insidious, it means it is a thing that does harm in a secret, stealthy, and gradual manner. This is exactly how bad parenting affects children. It is always a mistake when parents look out only for external signs of distress or negative changes in the behavior of their children to assess how well they are doing in parenting them. The truth is that the negative effects on children of bad parenting are not always immediately evident in their external manifestations or behavior. Children are, by their nature, very resilient, very loving, with a great love for life; they are always seeking excitement and fun. Consequently, a child can live in an abusive, discounting family setting and yet maintain his or her good manners and exciting personality. This includes quickly getting over a horrible spanking or verbal abuse and switching a few minutes thereafter to a playful, cheerful, and exciting mood. In childhood, he is dependent, with no immediate way out of the horrible situation, so he or she reasons, “What can I do? I’ll just have to adjust to this situation.”
External manifestations are insufficient.
Playing and having fun is so critical to a child at this stage of life. So he quickly returns to probably the only pastime that can make him happy, and that is playing. It is the main activity that occupies the bulk of what would have been his boring, long days. Be sure, however, that the bad experiences, which may come in the form of physical or verbal abuse, are continually recorded in his brain in a permanent, unerasable form. Therefore, when parents look only for external manifestations and assess the quality of their parenting based only on that premise, they are bound to experience the shock of their lives by the time their children have fully transited into adulthood, with many years of mental recordings of abuse. By the time the internalized abuse starts metamorphosing into deviant and anti-social behaviors, it’s most likely too late then to start taking corrective or remedial measures. Such children simply spin out of the control of their parents, and the consequences are usually disastrous.
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