Toxic Parenting- Signs and 8 ways to be better
- Updated on 09 Apr 2021
- Parents Corner
- 5 mins read
What is toxic behavior?
Establishing and maintaining a right and healthy behavior with a child is a tiny thread to walk on. One step wrong, you are counted as toxic parents and it may leave a scar on your kid for years to come. If we go by nature and definition, a lot of actions, nature, conversation, and feelings stand under the umbrella of toxic behavior.
Especially, when it comes to a relationship between parents and how it affects children, it is evident that most parents are misinformed. They do not realize how toxic their behavior is until it reaches a point where the child becomes prone and starts showing consequential behavior in return.
How do you spot such behavior?
If you observe your child showcasing rebellious and harsh behavior ask yourself where he or she grasps it from.
Behavior that is toxic can be of many types and forms
It can be through parents always filled with guilt, fear, and lack of self-control. All these are considered bad for children to go on with.
Parents who are toxic often –
- Overreact and create a scene while discussing matters
- Use inappropriate language
- Show a lack of interest in the child’s life and work
- Set their own benchmarks for kids and expect them to achieve it
- Try to control them
- Have a loud personality and yell too often
Is arguing a problem?
All these are small and big examples of toxic behavior and consistently constitutes harming the upbringing of children. Parents do not realize how their fights and issues are creating an aura around their children. Truth is it will completely manipulate and shatter the way he or she starts looking at things. This in turn will affect how they feel about relationships in the future.
How This Harms Children?
Family is the first society. Families no matter how big or small, play a key role for a child. They help in the understanding of how to perceive people, talk, interact and what is this world he or she is living in.
If a kid raised around toxic parents, for example, is being pushed, beaten, neglected, controlled, or abused, there are strong chances that these little episodes may put a scar on their personalities for their whole life.
- They always feel sick.
Children are as active as adults are. And we all should definitely drop the habit of saying – “oh, he is just a kid!”. In fact, in the initial years of growth, they are far more reactive and quick learners than most of the adults.
The toxic behavior they receive or see affects their mental health. Especially in situations like constant fights, abusive environments, and quarrels. This can tend to make them sick for days, crying and sobbing on their pillow not feeling well. And most importantly do not know how to vent it out and put in words how they feel.
- Wet their bed.
This is one of the most common traits children show as a fear and anxieties they have developed because of their parents. If a kid is old enough not to wet the bed and still he does, it is a severe warning. This means that the child is experiencing something bad and needs to be addressed immediately. As it may go on for years to come and become very chronic. Non treatment can result in an inclines towards impossible to cope up scenarios.
- Feel stress and depressed
People experience depression every day. Stress is a pressure that can be felt emotionally and physically. Children who had toxic parents become anxious in similar situations they have encountered in their childhood. And these stressful situations may lead to emotional breakdowns. Anxiety attacks can be lethal and are not good in social situations. Mental health disorders like Anxiety need to be addressed immediately.
- Develop phobias
For example – A child watching their parents fight and getting physical with each other every day, may bring phobias with him or her throughout their life. They start perceiving pain and anxieties in different forms and start to lose their emotional capability and understand it as usual behavior.
A certain amount of fear gets settled in their mind regarding things and elements around them, it can be water, fire or even staircases! Such phobias are usually formed in childhood indicating their bad relationships, an incident, or family episode.
- Become silent and unexpressive
Due to the constant fights and scenes they go through at home. They may try to become silent an non-expressive about themselves to their parents, soon this becomes their go-to behavior in social situations. And eventually are unable to manage and carry themselves in school, colleges and at work.
Ways To Avoid Toxic Behavior
No matter how bad your experiences are with them, or how much your adulthood is under the influence of their toxicity, always remember that only you can change it.
- Establish boundaries
When you establish boundaries make it very clear what is okay and what is not. How you want to be treated and what are the things that make you uncomfortable.
This not only helps avoid toxicity but also helps you enable yourself to create a personal space for yourself.
- Do not appreciate them.
Every kid wants validation and approval from their parents. It’s okay. But do not do it if you have toxic parents. You need to make your own choices and stand up to them.
- Let them be as they are
As things start to go worse, you need to understand that it is not on you to change them, they were toxic for a long time and it has become their first reaction to everything and sometimes it’s best to leave things as they are and move on.
- Be wise around them.
Toxic parents are not to be trusted easily and having said that, you as a child need to play it wise around them, you need to understand what are the things that you should share with them.
Sharing every personal detail with them can lead to chaos. You can be friends with them but you shouldn’t trust them with all your emotions.
- Talk to them
This may sound contrary to letting them be as they are, but talking to them can help. But only if you think that they are mentally stable enough to understand your point.
You need to sit with them and make them understand how their actions turned out to be pretty bad for you. At the start, this may seem pointless and tiring but you need to remember that it is only by saving them that you will save yourself.
- Don’t try to reason
You must learn how to avoid parents exhibiting toxicity and are irrational, there is simply no point in draining your energy trying to make them see what is right for them, it will break your heart to see how because of their toxic behavior they can’t form a healthy relationship but eventually, that is best for you.
- Escape out
Parents who fight do not care about the environment they are creating for their kids, if you feel that the relationship between your parents is toxic and they are those parents who fight, abuse and quarrel all the time, it is better to leave the house and go for a run, jog, a walk-in nature (if it’s possible for you).
This way you do not let them ruin your mental health and energy.
- Take care of yourself
This goes without saying that you are the master of your own life and you certainly need to amend changes if your parents fight often and there is a toxic environment in your home or was in your childhood you must take simple measures and give yourself a priority.
Parent-child relationships often get ruined because of immature behavior and vulnerable emotional capabilities of parents in their relationship. Thus, it is better to take one step at a time and change the equation of the parent’s relationship with the child for good, one that doesn’t harm their childhood.
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