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  • Unrealistic expectations.
  • Ridicule.
  • Deprivation ( control or neglect by withholding love, support, necessities, sympathy, praise, attention, encouragement, supervision, or otherwise putting their children’s well-being at risk).
  • Disrespect, especially contempt.
  • Using (destructively narcissistic parents who rule by fear and conditional love).
  • Abusing (parents who use physical violence, or emotionally, or sexually abuse their children).
  • Dogmatic or cult-like (harsh and inflexible discipline, with children not allowed, within reason, to dissent, question authority, or develop their own value system).
  • Emotional intolerance (family members not allowed to express “wrong” emotions).
  • Social dysfunction or isolation (parents unwilling to reach out to other families- especially those with children of the same gender and approximate age.).
  • Stifled speech (children not allowed to dissent or question authority).
  • Denial of an “inner life” (children not allowed to develop their own value system).
  • Being under – or- over – protective.
  • Apathy “I don’t’ care”.
  • Belittle “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”.
  • Judgemental statements or demonization “You are a liar!”
  • Either little or excessive criticism (experts say 80 – 90 % praise, and 10-20% constructive criticism is the most healthy).
  • 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 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.


List compile from various literature and research studies in the context of the Family Therapy paradigm.

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