Conflict with parents, father and mother scolding a teenage boy. A teenage boy ignores his parents. Children's misunderstanding with their families. Vector characters.

Development of Parent-Child Conflict – Reasons and How it Affects Children

The relationship and bond between parents and a child is one of the earliest and crucial relationships that a child forms. It contributes to various aspects of a child’s life and future. Like every other relationship, the relationship between a parent and child also goes through various ups and downs. Often the issues between a parent and child can take a negative turn if not dealt with and solved in time. There is a need to form a healthy relationship between parents and children from an early age.

Parent-child conflict can be defined as a conflict between a parent and child which is often characterized by discordant or bitter interactions, during which both the parent and child tend to display negative behaviour towards each other.

Causes of Conflicts in Parent-Child Relationship

The clash and indifference between parents and a child do not develop in one day, it forms when issues between them are left unsolved for a long time. It has been observed that the strife between parents and children become more intense and frequent during adolescence as it is a period of biological, psychological, emotional and cognitive change. There are various reasons and causes which contribute to the conflicts between parents and a child.

As human beings, we often fail to understand each other as we are mostly concerned about our side of the story. Thus, often children fail to understand their parents’ point of view and vice versa; thereby producing a sense of misunderstanding which further creates distance between them. 

Misunderstanding and misinterpreting each other’s intentions is one of the main reasons for disputes between parents and children.

Parents tend to criticise their children in an unhealthy way, often using harsh words against them and violently chiding them. This can often contradict even the good intentions of the parents as it might have a negative effect on the child. This further causes children to believe that their parents fail to understand their feelings therefore they end up developing feelings of vexations and wrath towards their parents.

Parents have a tendency of demeaning their child and comparing them with others which further contributes to the worsening of their relationship. The use of negative comments on a child’s physical appearance by a parent can also lead to various adverse effects on a child’s self-esteem.

Adverse Effects of Conflicts between Parents and Children 

The relationship shared by a parent and child is crucial for the formation of a child’s identity and personality. The clash between parents and children can have far-reaching consequences on a child’s emotional and psychological health, which further affects the future of a child. Long term discord between parents and children can contribute to a lot of adverse effects on both.

 Misunderstandings between parents and a child can often create a distance between them which would keep increasing if not dealt with and discussed on time. It causes aggressive behaviour patterns in children as they form the idea that their parents will never be able to understand their point of view and thoughts, hence the feelings of resentment increase towards the parents.

Parents on the other hand feel that their child is becoming stubborn and they often tend to become more strict and harsh with them, which further worsens the situation.

Unhealthy criticism and harsh words from parents affect a child emotionally and psychologically. It sometimes even leads to emotional outbursts in children and the development of low self-confidence which further causes serious anxiety and stress-related issues in them.


Children develop low self-esteem due to negative comments from their parents on their physical appearance and grow up to be extremely insecure about themselves. They develop a constant need for validation as they often feel worthless. Demeaning children and comparing them with others can often lead children to develop a deep sense of self-loathing and in extreme cases, it might lead them to self-harm.

Parent-child conflict can affect the mental well being of a child deeply and lead them to suffer from various mental health issues like depression, anxiety, stress etc. They might grow up as dysfunctional adults and carry the trauma of their childhood throughout their lives.

Parent-child conflict can have some irreversible effects on a child’s mental health and can destroy the relationship between a parent and child forever. Thus, it becomes important that parents develop a healthy relationship with their child and provide them with a healthy and safe environment to evolve, make mistakes and learn from them. It’ll help them grow as responsible and understanding adults whereby they could build a better future for themselves and others.


 – Tamanna Mallick

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