Home Love & Relationships 11 Behaviors Of A Toxic Parent That Many People Don’t Realize

11 Behaviors Of A Toxic Parent That Many People Don’t Realize


Parents are supposed to give their kids unconditional love, teach them about respect, empathy, and kindness and make sure they grow into healthy, happy, and confident adults. And while there isn’t a parent who doesn’t occasionally make a mistake, there are some who fail to be the best examples and supporters to their kids.

It’s difficult to determine if a parent is toxic because kids understand this only after they become adults, and of course, a toxic parent will never admit they’re toxic. Toxic parents can come in all shapes and sizes: the inadequate, the selfish, the alcoholics, the verbal and physical abusers. Irrespective of the kind of a toxic parent and whether they’re unconsciously or deliberately being toxic, their behavior can inflict irreversible substantial mental damage on their children.

If you went through most or all of the following 11 negative behaviors as a kid, it’s very likely that you were brought up by a toxic parent. And if you’re a parent and raise your kids in these ways, know that you’re making a mistake treating them like that and try to change your behavior unless you want to ruin their lives.

1. They criticize their kid’s every move.

Caring and devoted parents understand that it’s normal for kids to make mistakes and never judge them harshly when they do so. Yet, instead of offering them support and encouragement or discussing the reasons for their mistakes and teaching them how to avoid making more of them in the future,  a toxic parent is overly critical.

If you have low self-esteem or feel unworthy and afraid to experience new things now, it’s very probable that you were raised by a toxic parent.

2. Their feelings and opinions always come first.

A toxic parent never shows interest in or respect for their kid’s opinions and feelings about a particular situation. Don’t doubt that you were brought up by a toxic parent if they never included you in the decision-making related to family matters. Your parent was the one who decided what you’d have for lunch and where you’d go on holiday.

3. They control their kid by using money and guilt.

A toxic parent believes they can earn their kid’s love and loyalty by giving them money and expensive things. Additionally, this helps them make their kid conform to their rules and be obedient. If your parent still makes you feel guilt over not following their rules and respecting all “the great things they’ve selflessly done for you”, you can be sure you’re still controlled by your toxic parent.4. They don’t make their kids feel supported and secure.

A toxic parent believes that if they give their kid tough love, instead of pure and honest love, support, and safety, they can make them more prepared to face all the challenges and unpleasant situations life will throw in front of them. So, if you feel insecure about yourself and are afraid to pursue your goals, commit to new relationships, and most importantly, you fear potential future failures, it’s likely that you were raised by a toxic parent who has managed to shatter your confidence.

 5. They are dismissive of their kid’s negative emotions.

Toxic parents don’t permit their kids to show that they’re sad, worried, afraid, or even depressed. In this way, not only do they make them feel ashamed of their own emotions, but they also cause them to feel lonely, more depressed, and unable to cope with negative future situations.

6. They make their kid fear them.

Non-toxic parents use discipline to teach their kids how to be responsible and respect others. Toxic parents use discipline as a form of punishment and to make their kids afraid of them. You know you’ve been raised by a toxic parent if you’re still scared what could happen if you disobey theirs or someone else’s rules.

7. They make hurtful jokes about you.

There’s nothing wrong when parents occasionally make jokes about the silly things their kid says or does. But, a toxic parent often emphasizes their kid’s mistakes and makes mean comments. If you were frequently told how fat and ugly you were or even stupid for not having high academic achievements, it’s very likely that you still lack confidence.

8. They make their kid feel responsible for their terrible behavior.

If your parent used to throw cruel insults at you or even beat the crap out of you and then told you that it was you who provoked their anger and brought that all on yourself, then you know what I’m talking about. Yet, chances are that you’re still letting others treat you in the same way.

9. They hold their kid accountable for their unhappiness.

Toxic parents don’t miss a chance to tell their kids how many times they had to sacrifice their personal life and happiness so as to enable them to have a comfortable life. Moreover, they expect their kids to do the same for them. They ask of their kids to give up their goals and dreams and devote their life solely to them.

10. They don’t respect boundaries.

A toxic parent doesn’t respect their kid’s privacy and personal space. They behave as if they’re the masters of their kid’s life. If you received constant calls from your toxic parent, no matter the time or what you were up to, or you weren’t allowed to have secrets in front of them, and they could enter your room anytime they wanted, then you know how uncomfortable and unbearable that can be.

11. Instead of talking things out, they choose to stay silent.

A toxic parent who gives their kid the silent treatment refuses to openly show their feelings of dissatisfaction and anger in an argument.  There’s a great probability for a kid who has gone through this unfair and immature treatment to grow into someone who is unable to establish healthy communication and handle arguments successfully.

Image: Emily Kidd2012