Some people are so profoundly affected by their horrid parent that they worry about having children of their own in case they repeat the pattern. 

It doesn't have to happen.  You can choose a different path and become a great parent.

Think about how your horrid parent has harmed you, then about how people you know behave and choose the behaviours that would most help you become what experts call a ‘good enough’ parent - a description that acknowledges that parents are human and no one can be perfect all the time.  It’s natural for parents to sometimes be angry and impatient. The important thing is not to blame their child and take it out on them.

Make a list of the good qualities you have that could  enhance your children’s lives.  

Think about the traits you are not so proud of and how you can minimise them for the sake of your children. 

You reduce the chances of becoming a difficult parent if you respond to your baby as sensitively as possible from the moment they are born. The more you do so the better they will react to you and the greater the chance for a reciprocated, warm, loving relationship. 



  • protect your children.
  • be kind, consistent, nurturing and balanced when you are with them.
  • let them know they are loved.
  • listen to them.
  • try to see things from their point of view.
  • encourage them to grow, explore and feel good about themselves.   



  • If you have to tell your child off, criticise their behaviour not them as people.
  • If they have behaved badly keep sanctions in proportion to their wrongdoing.
  • Let them know why they have to do things.  Don’t just give an order. 
  • Don’t be too proud to apologise if you do something wrong or lose your temper especially when it’s not their fault. 
  • Remember to say you think of them when you are not together. 




  • Calling them nasty names  
  • Bullying
  • Ridiculing
  • Manipulating
  • Micro-managing/being a control freak
  • Being sarcastic
  • Speaking for them
  • Exaggerating things when they go wrong
  • Minimising their problems
  • Ignoring them for long periods
  • Undermining their efforts - let them learn from their mistakes
  • Holding grudges - deal with problems then let them go
  • Comparing them unfavourably with other children

Try not to take your children's behaviour and mistakes as a personal criticism of you.  After all, they are just children.