What is the Differential style of parenting?

This style of parenting is called differential because the parents, in this case, show discrepancy in their behavior and treatment towards their kids. This means that while they are positively oriented towards one or more of their kids, they are unfairly negative towards another. Studies have proven that not only the child who receives negative treatment from the parents but the other children too are negatively affected by this differential behavior of their parents. 

Characteristics of Differential Parenting style

  • Parents who raise kids differentially do so because of stressful circumstances in their lives. They could be single parents or belong to a very low-income group or the parent has had an abusive past or has had an unsafe childhood.
  • Parents show warmth, love, and affection to one or more kids and are particularly harsh, hostile and irritable with another child or children. 
  • Parents are completely unsympathetic towards one or more child. This child is likely to be punished more often, is exposed to abusive language, parents keep finding excuses to show their annoyance at the child and such other expressions of antagonism. 

Impact of Differential Parent on Child’s Self image

  • The child who bears hostile treatment at the hands of his parents has lower self-esteem. In fact, the other kids too may have issues with their self-confidence and maturity levels.
  • Since the child has been made to feel miserable and lowly as compared to his other siblings, his confidence levels are meager with very poor self-worth. 
  • The negatively raised kid is more likely to have attachment related issues and later have problems in his/her romantic and adult relationships too. 

Impact of Differential parent on Child’s Social Skills

  • Kids of differential parents are more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior. They tend to be self-centered and selfish, rebellious, aggressive and destructive.
  • As grown-up adults, these kids are prone to developing unhealthy relationships and may either become soft targets in demanding relationships or themselves take on the role of being aggressive and difficult partners. 

Impact of Differential parents on Child’s Academics

  • Kids who are at the receiving end of their parents’ hostile behavior are poor academic performers. They also fail miserably in other aspects of life like pursuing a career, an interest, a hobby etc.

Impact of Differential Parent on Child’s Life

  • Sibling jealousy is a common issue in such households.
  • Kids of differential parents are more likely to develop mental health issues like aggression, lower attention levels, and even emotional disorders. Depression, hyperactivity, and anxiety related issues are commonly found in such kids. Suicidal tendencies, alcoholism, drug abuse are frequently found in such kids.
  • Such kids tend to be delinquent and take to criminal activities. 
  • There are also more chances for kids suffering from pitiable physical health.
  • As adults, these kids are less likely to develop and maintain healthy intimate relationships. They usually get entangled in unhappy and abusive relationships. 

Deprived of love and warmth, kids who suffer differential treatment at the hands of their biological parents grow up to be detrimental and harmful for themselves as well as for the society.

Permissive Parenting                                Authoritarian Parenting                                Authoritative Parenting

Attachment Parenting                               Narcissist Parenting                                      Nurturant Parenting      

Toxic Parenting                                           Uninvolved Parenting                                     Positive Parenting

Conscious Parenting