In most cases parents do the best they can to raise their children in a healthy and happy environment, but they can make mistakes without realizing it. At times they recognize it and improve their behavior. While other parents become toxic to their children. Long-term toxic behavior is detrimental to the child’s well-being and mental health. The following is a list of 15 things toxic parents do:
- Make hurtful jokes: It’s normal for parents to pick on their children playfully. Usually, these are non-offensive jokes, but sometimes parents can undermine and bully their children. This is not acceptable behavior. Parent’s who use hurtful jokes as a tactic have poor communication skills.
- Disapproving of romantic relationships: There is a difference between disapproving of a relationship because a potential partner is a bad influence versus simply wanting to drive a wedge. Many times, parents have insecurities in their love life and in turn they transmute that onto their child’s relationship. In other cases, parents can feel jealous because they are no longer in the spot light.
- Their feelings always come first: This type of parent fails to acknowledge their child’s feelings and points of views. During any discussion the parent will always put their emotions first. This in turn will cause the child to hide and suppress how they feel to their parents.
They are over dramatic: Toxic parents will exaggerate the situation in order to flip it around. Parents who overreact tend to be emotionally reactive and have difficulties expressing their emotions. In most cases the parent will throw a tantrum to prove their point of view. Even if it compromises how their children may feel.
- The silent treatment: This one can be highly annoying. It is immature for a parent to completely ignore their children when they are angry. This type of behavior falls into the passive aggressive category. Parents use this tactic to guilt trip and pressure their children to fix the situation. Even if it wasn’t their fault.
- Comparison to friends, siblings or other children: This is extremely damaging to a child’s self-esteem. Parents need to remember that their child is unique and not an exact copy of them. Meaning, their children will want to explore different hobbies, careers and/or interests. This shouldn’t be an excuse to compare their children to others.
They demand time: It is important for a parent to give their children some space to be themselves, to acquire new skills, and to learn new things. This type of parent can make their children feel like they’re suffocating.
- They criticize excessively: This type of parent will never feel satisfied with anything that their children do. Toxic parents who criticize, use the excuse that they want the best for you in order to not take responsibility for their words and actions. For example, if their child is overweight. Instead of communicating it with respect. They will harshly criticize them.
- Guilt tripping: Parents use guilt to manipulate their children. It’s a tactic to make them do what they ask for. They manipulate the situation by saying, “but I helped you with…” or may even give their children a gift to get them to what they want.
- Responsibility for their happiness: Unfortunately, this happens way too often. It is not the child’s responsibility to make their parents happy. This is an unrealistic expectation. Parents usually express this by telling them how much they have sacrificed. They may even want their children to give up on things that make them happy.
They never apologize: Parents can make mistakes. It is essential for parents to apologize when they have done wrong. In most cases the toxic parent will act as if nothing has happened and expects you to do the same. Even when they haven’t apologized or at least acknowledged they did wrong.
- Compete with you: In this case. The parent will want to always be above their children no matter what. Instead of congratulating them for their accomplishments. They will diminish their achievement, ignore the good that they have done and, in some cases, try to one-up their children.
- Responsibility for the younger siblings: Parents should be the one raising their children. Not the eldest sibling. There is a difference between a parent asking for help temporarily. For instance, during an extra shift at work versus simply being an absent parent because their eldest child can take care of their younger siblings.
Denying feelings: This type of parent tends to make their children feel weak for having emotions. They can make it look like their children are being selfish. They may even flip it around and make it look like their children are the bad guys for feeling the way they do. Or they will demand them to grow up and control their emotions.
- Using their children as an excuse to justify their behavior: This type of parent will abuse their children mentally, emotionally and even physically with the excuse that they made him/her do it. They will not accept responsibility for their actions, and they tend to blame their children for everything. They say things like, “If you would have listened, I wouldn’t have done that”. This type of behavior is completely toxic and dangerous to the child’s physical and mental health.
I hope this list of toxic behaviors can help you understand your situation better. Keep in mind that these behaviors are not acceptable even when it comes from your parents. Unfortunately, some of us drag these problems into our future relationships. If you’d like me to write about how to deal with these toxic behaviors. Let me know in the comment section below.
Feel free to read: 9 Unhealthy Behaviors Adults Have After Going Through Childhood Trauma
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