Can you “ruin” a child?

Today I came across a parenting piece on called “6 Ways to Ruin Your Children.” I’ll be honest, the title immediately rubbed me the wrong way. Can you ruin a child? Ruin implies that something has been destroyed and can’t be fixed. All parents are going to make mistakes, some more than others. But I don’t think that means a person’s ability to be a contributing member of society is automatically nixed because of poor parenting. We can all rise above our circumstances, though difficult it might be.

Upset with Mommy

I’m probably reading into the headline too much. After all, if you’re a news writer, you want people to read what you’ve written, right? Shoot, I want people to read what I write. Maybe a catchy, controversial title is what does it.

Anyway, according to the editorial (I didn’t see the author’s name listed, btw), there are six ways you can ruin your child:

  1. Give in always
  2. Seldom discipline
  3. Take their side no matter what
  4. Fight in front of them
  5. Being a bad example
  6. Not being there

What I did like about this piece is that the writer listed an explanation or negative example for each number, followed by a positive suggestion. Also, when I was teaching, it was incredibly frustrating when a parent always took their child’s side, believed their child was in the right, and that the teacher was wrong. Sometimes a teacher may be in the wrong, but I don’t think parents always handle it the correct way. I believe they should also be careful how they react and deal with any problems in front of their children.

What do you think? Is it a good list for parents to be mindful of?

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  1. I do think there are certain things that should not be done in front of children, such as the parents fighting….I don’t necessarily agree that it RUINS the child,but for sure could cause undo anxieties in a child that did not understand. I do think that it is good for children to hear the word No, every once in while, and not give in to every whim. More importantly for me is that my kids are healthy not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. And I think that looks different for each family.

    1. Hi Regina,

      “Looks differently for each family.” Good point! There are a lot of different ways to raise children, and that doesn’t automatically make any of them “wrong.” Thanks for commenting!

  2. I am on the exact same page as you. The title of the article seems a bit extreme but the list seems reasonable.

    I have to remind myself often that although it would be so much easier to give in, I cannot always give my little guy all that he desires. By doing so, I’d be teaching him that all of life is that way and would be more harmful in the long run.

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Kate, thank you for commenting! My son is only 8 months, but I can already tell I’m going to have difficult not giving in to him. As a parent, I want to make him happy. I know I’m going to have to really keep myself in check and remind myself that -as you said- he cannot always gets what he wants, because life doesn’t work that way!

  3. apparently, I’m halfway to ruining my child.. 😉

    Really, what does ruining your child look like? Does it make them social outcasts? Does it make them unable to speak, to communicate, to differentiate between right and wrong?
    Will it make them the next school shooter? I’d have to say, that if you got down and dirty, and REALLY looked into it… Ask President Obama…or Bush, or Clinton..I’d wager that their parents argued in front of least sometimes. It happens. Did it ruin them? Only if ruining makes you president!!
    There are PLENTY of successful people, who are great parents, who were raised in under those 6 ‘dont you ever do these things’

    Life isn’t about one way…there are far too many different roads & paths we can take (not to mention waterways!) that help to choose our outcomes… those 6 are just tiny pieces of the puzzle.

    Just my few cents (or couple dollars, depending on what it’s worth to you!!!)
    Sandling All Day

    1. Hi Marianne,

      You have a lot of good points. There are so many different styles of parenting. Also, I think just as “ruin” looks different to various people, so does “success.” We all define that differently too!

      Thanks for commenting!


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