When Good Parents Have Bad Children

July 12, 2010 - NY Times

Parents often get blamed when their children go astray — whether it’s an ill-behaved toddler or an adult rehashing a troubled childhood during a therapy session.

But should good parents be blamed when kids go bad? That’s the question posed by Dr. Richard Friedman in today’s Science Times.

For years, mental health professionals were trained to see children as mere products of their environment who were intrinsically good until influenced otherwise; where there is chronic bad behavior, there must be a bad parent behind it.

But while I do not mean to let bad parents off the hook — sadly, there are all too many of them, from malignant to merely apathetic — the fact remains that perfectly decent parents can produce toxic children.

To learn more, read the full story, “Accepting That Good Parents May Plant Bad Seeds

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Replies to This Discussion

So, do you not believe that there are some kids that despite all good attempts by their parents, end up being extremely problematic? There is an element of 'nature' (genetics) to all of this, nurture doesn't always fill the gap, no matter what, in my experience....
I believe there are some kids that are naturally bad. Parents have to work very hard to make them empathetic and to set limits so they can overcome genetic programing.

Good people don't always make good parents. Some of the nicest people I know are terrible parents because they won't set and stick to limits which every child needs.

Then there are the kids who didn't get to bond with an adult at that critical time when they were small kids or were beaten, not fed, neglected and abused. Can they be saved? When they can't emotionally attach?


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