Back in the day, there was a game called “get rich or die trying.” These days kids think trending on TikTok is the way to do that. This month—we’re not sure about the getting paid part—they’re trending with their IDR Laboratories test-result videos. The nature of one of the more useful of these tests—namely the Negative Parenting Test—is the topic in question here.
As you may have guessed, IDR is the name of a science group that wants you to take these personality surveys on their site. There are some tests like “Which Twilight Character Are You?” along with others that are more serious, engineered by PhDs—real doctors of psychology and other disciplines. The base test materials have been peer- reviewed and all that. Gotta be worth something, huh?
Whether you decide to post yourself talking about your results or not, read a little bit right here about the survey-style test called Negative Parenting. We’ll tell you what we know.
IDR Labs Negative Parenting Test
The 30 questions on the IDR Negative Parenting Test provide a good example of what you sacrifice when you try to quantify the unquantifiable—as I was going through the test myself, I noticed that there were some questions that seemed to call for a paragraph or a page to respond to fully, instead of the five available answer choices—strongly agree, somewhat agree, no opinion, somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree.
The questions tend to bring up old memories, depending on how old you are. But don’t put yourself through reliving past stressor. There’s a back button on the test, so don’t feel like you can’t change something later.
On certain questions, you might choose one answer only to rethink it—Wait, did they really do that, or Hold on, only one of them did that, which one should I go with? You may even feel guilty, reporting on your folks to an algorithm. But the whole thing doesn’t take long, and the generated results are interesting, if not custom-tailored to your family or your mental health needs.
Possible Results and What They Mean
IDR auto-analyzes your responses and tells you which one of several problem areas most of your parenting-related dysfunction likely comes from. Were your mom and/or dad controlling? Neglectful? Angry?
Here’s a sampling of a few of the site’s possible conclusions:
According to IDR’s information (though they expressly state that their tests are to be taken ‘as is’ and do not constitute official medical opinions or diagnoses), parents who are competitive may withhold affection from a child who doesn’t demonstrate superiority over his or her peers in sports, academics, or some other way the parents consider important. Also, competitive parents are concerned with appearances, so they might not acknowledge a child’s achievements if they don’t, by extension, make the parents stand out or receive special attention, too. The adult children of this type of parent(s) might develop feelings of low self-worth or become disengaged with their own wishes and desires.
Parents who regularly reject a child by threatening to kick them out of the house, saying they wish the child was never born, or otherwise exhibiting abusive or dismissive attitudes, can cause their son or daughter to be plagued by self-doubt, fear, or sadness later in life. In part, this is because the child can’t help but internalize constant negative feedback when it comes from the most important person or people they regularly talk to.
Adults who never or almost never experienced parental affection, overt nurturing, or acknowledgment when they were children often go through a series of unsuccessful relationships in their adult lives. Their partners are likely to sometimes wonder, Where are they in their mind? or What are they really thinking? Without ongoing and effective treatment, adult sufferers of childhood deprivation may be doomed to fire-and-ice loves and bouts of low self-esteem.
Should You Act on Your Results?
If, after taking the Negative Parenting Test, you feel inspired to call your mother and father and lay into them for all the things they did wrong, we recommend taking a more oblique approach.
First, share the test with your counselor or other provider, and decide with them what exact problems or diagnoses should be discussed and what the therapy for them should be. Then, later on and possibly in the presence of your provider, sit your parent or parents down and gently broach the subject of the patterns of emotions you’ve noticed in your life, only then explaining that you think some of them stem from the ways they (your mom and/or dad, and we include ‘steps’) dealt with you growing up.
On a less serious note, we don’t think it would hurt for you to show your friends your results, or to encourage them to take the test and compare what you all got. And, since talking about things with your friends today often involves social media, we don’t see the harm in posting online—on TikTok, for example—as long as no damaging family information is made public.
One action we can definitely discourage, if you’re really upset when you read your results, is to harm or hurt yourself in any way. Please, if you think you might want to, stop and immediately call for help.
Where to Go for More Reliable Information
Some ideas on where to go to learn more:
- Your psychiatrist or other provider—Yes, there is an incredible wealth of information and advice to be found online, and some of it is very good (see below). But there is no substitute for a trained professional who knows you and your circumstances and has a rapport with you. As we mentioned in the section above, you may even want your provider to host a group session.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness—NAMI has been around for a long time, providing support, resources and encouragement for mental-health consumers. They even offer local in-person support groups in towns and cities nationwide. If you haven’t already, we recommend checking one out. You can’t have too many friends, right?
- Our Comments section below—We’d love to see a conversation grow on this topic on this very page. Take a second to respond to something one of our readers has said—you may have a lot in common, or at least a few ideas to exchange. If you’re the first one to post a comment, make it open-ended and use details, please. Let us know who you are!