- Obey their demands. Give in to their tantrums. Deny them nothing. If they want it, indulge them. Make sure they know you will always be there to get them out of trouble. If they break a toy or wreck a car, replace it.
- Overlook, defend, or rescue them from the consequences of their negative behavior. Accept their excuses or blame others by saying things such as, “My child would never do that!”, “It can’t be her fault; it must be the school’s fault!”, or “The other child made him do it.”
- Disregard moral principles. Be dishonest. Involve your children in lying or cheating others and taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. Encourage insecurity by telling them to keep secrets from other family members or family secrets from others.
- Avoid touching, hugging, and taking time to interact with your children. Deny the existence of their emotional and social needs. Discourage them from expressing feelings and isolate them from friends, organizations, and activities. Disregard their physical needs.
- Ignore their worthwhile and constructive habits. Avoid complimenting or praising their efforts. When they have done something well, make fun of it. Belittle their ideas, interests, and accomplishments. Dwell on their weaknesses. Expect them to fail. Express hopelessness in their ability to succeed or to cope positively with life’s stresses.
- Pretend you never make mistakes or have problems. Expect perfection from your children. Judge them harshly if they make a mistake or misbehave. Never forgive, but instead hurt and degrade them by yelling, blaming, shaming, whipping, humiliating, or threatening to abandon them.
- Establish and enforce tough, rigid rules. Discourage thought and questions by demanding that they do what you want, when you want it done. Never help them think of ways to work through their own problems. Demonstrate your distrust of them by questioning everything they do, and discount their right to privacy and independence as they mature.
- Keep children constantly on guard by being unpredictable. Become angry at an action one day and laugh at it the next. Avoid any kind of routine. Let them decide when to eat and sleep. Allow them to watch television continually without your supervision or guidance. Avoid traditions. Rarely eat dinner as a family. Treat them differently. Have a “favorite” child who can do no wrong and a “bad” child who can do no right.
- Remain uninformed about drugs and drug use. If you smoke, drink alcohol excessively, or use other drugs, make excuses and deny your own use. Never discuss your attitudes or feelings about drugs. Disregard the facts concerning the negative effects drugs have on the mind and body.
- Above all else, discount your own value as a human being. Communicate anger and resentment toward life. Engage in self-indulgent, self-destructive behaviors.
By Leah Davies, M.Ed.