Pathogenic parenting is a term used to describe a type of parenting behavior that is harmful to a child’s emotional and psychological well-being. It involves behaviors and attitudes by a parent or caregiver that are likely to cause harm, distress, or dysfunction to the child, particularly in the areas of emotional and social development.
Pathogenic parenting behaviors may include emotional abuse, neglect, manipulation, excessive control, or overprotection. It can also involve a parent or caregiver intentionally or unintentionally creating an environment of fear, shame, guilt, or hostility, which can lead to the child experiencing developmental trauma.
Pathogenic parenting is typically associated with parents who have a history of mental health issues, substance abuse, or who have experienced trauma themselves. Children who experience pathogenic parenting may have difficulties forming healthy relationships, regulating emotions, and developing a positive self-image. It can also lead to long-term mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).