The Effects of Parents Teasing Their Child

imonkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

The parenting skills you develop and use with your child come from a combination of tactics inherited from your own childhood and techniques learned as an adult. Some parenting tactics fall into a negative category, causing harm and angst in children. Teasing is one example of ineffective parenting. If you engage in teasing and belittling interactions with your child, you might cause behavioral issues with your youngster.


If you tease your child or belittle her, you are giving her all the tools to use against her siblings and her peers. Bullying is learned behavior. When a parent shows aggression toward her child by using words that hurt, such as dummy, idiot, loser and jerk, she is likely doing it because of her own inadequacies, explains James Lehman, MSW for Empowering Parents. “I think that when you use aggression as a parenting style, it solves your short-term problem of controlling children,” notes Lehman. This can make the child feel like a victim rather than learning a lesson or a positive skill. Because children often model their parents' behavior, if the child feels belittled, he could in turn bully other children with the same or similar words and behavior.


If you tease your child about getting poor grades in school or label her as being slower or not as smart as her siblings or other kids in her class, it could affect her grades and lower her self-esteem. Academic performance is important for children of all ages. If you plan on using teasing techniques to raise her grades, it could backfire. Replacing belittling words and words of disappointment with positive reinforcement can raise her desire to achieve better grades. Get involved with helping her with school work. Stay in close contact with her teacher and listen to the educators' needs and concerns regarding your daughter's classroom performance.


In some cases teasing can cross the line and become verbal abuse. Over time, verbal teasing and abuse in conjunction with any type of physical abuse can teach kids the same behavior. Children who are abused and belittled may act out with violence. Leah Davies, M.Ed, in an article for Kelly Bear, explains that emotional abuse of a child includes repeated attacks by a parent on a child’s emotional well-being and overall sense of personal worth. Violence is a way a child acts out and it could be on herself, family members or other children. Violence could be anything from destruction of property to harming or hurting someone physically.


Repeated teasing by a parent can lead to childhood depression. Depression is a serious mental condition that may require a medical evaluation. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes that around 5 percent of children and adolescents suffer from depression. If your child cannot process the teasing or name-calling in a positive manner, he may begin to show signs of depression such as low self-esteem, sadness, detachment from family and friends, frequent school absences, poor concentration levels and thoughts of suicide.