- Parents often try to promote internalization of valued behaviors by making their regard contingent on children's enactment of those behaviors. We present findings suggesting that while parental conditional regard (PCR) might lead to enactment of expected behaviors, this practice has the following costs: (1) stressful internalization of parental expectations, (2) rigid and low-quality performance (3) self-esteem fluctuations and poor well-being, and (4) negative affect towards parents. Importantly, our research suggests that positive PCR (i.e., giving more regard when children comply) is quite harmful despite its seemingly benign nature. Several studies suggest that: (1) there is an inter-generational transmission of PCR (2) parents' contingent self-esteem and a competitive world view enhance parents' inclination to use PCR, and (3) parents use of PCR increases when they have infants who are easily frustrated. Overall, the findings suggest that PCR is a harmful practice originating, at least partly, from stressful parental experiences. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights are reserved.