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Do over-reactive parenting affect children negatively?

toddler crying

Key points:

  1. Parents who overreact and get angry may not be helping their children control their emotions and be happy.
  2. Bandura’s Social Learning theory suggests that children learn by observing and imitating behaviors, including those of their parents.
  3. A study found that adoptive parents who overreacted to their children’s mistakes and misbehavior had significantly negative effects on their behavior and emotions.
  4. Parents can positively influence their children’s behavior and emotions by not overreacting or getting easily angry, especially during the challenging transition to toddlerhood.

We all know that parenting has never been an easy task. Parents often get involved in situations where they feel the need to get angry with their children, so that they can learn right from wrong. Besides, many parents are too worried about being good parents that they miss out what’s most important: help their children control their emotions so that they can be happy. Parents who constantly get angry and overreact to situations may not be helping their children at all, even though they think they are.

According to Bandura’s Social Learning theory, children observe how other individuals behave, including their parents, and may later imitate those behaviors. As soon as babies are born, they start to decipher their social world and begin to learn everything about it. Researchers have found that babies tend to misbehave and get upset more than normal when they have parents who constantly overreact and get angry.


A study by researchers from Oregon State University collected data from 361 families that were linked to adoption. They studied their toddlers and followed them from 9 to 27 months of age. It was found that adoptive parents who overreacted when their children made some mistakes or misbehaved had significantly affected them. For instance, their children misbehaved more, and were quicker to anger compared to other 2-year-old children.

As we know, the transition to toddlerhood may be really challenging, and it has a great impact on a child’s future development. Toddlers tend to exhibit negative emotions and behavioral problems, but parents can positively influence them by not overreacting or getting easily angry. Remember, kids are humans who make mistakes too. So, next the time that your child accidentally throws his soup plate to the floor, think before getting mad at him.

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9 Responses

  1. Thank you, for this article. My son will be 2 next month and it can be difficult at times with a toddler. Reading, this just gave me a good reminder to continue to have patience and not to overreact with him.

      1. Thank you for this. I have a toodler. I ovveract to the mistakes he without thinking that I too make mistakes myself.

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