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13 Habits Of A Toxic Parent And How They Ruin The Child Without Realizing It

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It’s every parent’s wish to do the best they can for their child. The truth is, they do what they deem best fit to do in order to raise a healthy and complete adult. And you should know that no matter how your parents behaved if they knew better, they would do it.

There is no recipe for a perfect parent, and many rules fall apart when the individual differences of each child’s personality come into play. It can be said that parenting is a process which involves a lot of trial and error, but in the end, many parents succeed to bring up a healthy and strong individual.

And then, there are some parents who just never learned how to be supportive enough and didn’t know how to leave a good example to their children. While we need to understand that this behavior is something they might have learned from their parents, it’s not an excuse when the child’s well-being is at stake.

Their toxic habits will eventually shape a disturbed person who will be fighting with a lot of demons in their adulthood and will unconsciously continue the cycle. So, it’s best to recognize these negative habits and try to mend them.

See if your any of your parents did these 13 things and see to it that you avoid them when you interact with your child, as any other way will eventually leave a permanent mark that will follow your child throughout their life.

  1. Favoring tough love to safety and security

Some parents will take the ‘tough love’ approach to make their children understand that the world is not a safe place and that nobody can be trusted completely. While we do live in a tough world, this doesn’t mean that they need to learn this in such a tough way.

This kind of behavior will leave some very big commitment issues in the soon-to-become adult, and they won’t be able to form close relationships.

The truth is, the world may be a cruel place, but goodness prevails in every situation, and your child needs to feel the security of your love and affection. It’s not wrong to be tough from time to time, but staying that way for most of the time will scar your child.

  1. Being their worst critic

While constructive criticism is healthy and needs to be practiced from a young age, sniffing out every of their wrong moves and pointing out every of their flaws will make them feel incompetent.

Instead of focusing on the result of their actions, you should be more focused on the fact that they put effort into doing the right thing (when they do). Being overly judgmental to a child that has no real experience in their lives will leave them with no self-confidence.

  1. Demanding all their attention

If you brought your child into this world, it doesn’t mean that they owe you every second of their life. No, in fact, you owe them their freedom and their life, as they didn’t really ask you to bring them here.

You need to understand that your child is a person with a life of their own, and you need to earn their attention, not demand it. Give them the space they deserve and be there for them when they need you. They will reach out themselves.

  1. Mocking your child through hurtful jokes

Also a form of cruel criticism, but with a smile on the face – which makes it even more hurtful for your child. It’s not alright to pick on your child. This will eventually ruin their self-confidence and self-love.

If you have concerns about a habit of theirs, talking the talk is the best way to make them realize it – not making them feel ashamed of themselves.

  1. Tossing all the blame on the kid

The terrible treatment by some parents is justified (in their minds) because of the actions of their children. However, the this is far from the truth – a child will never be guilty of a parent’s behavior, even if a toxic parent will make them believe it so.

The child looks up to their parents and believes them unconditionally. And this is how they manage to really make them feel like they are to blame for their parents’ behavior. The thought that they deserved all that will eventually decrease their self-value in their own eyes.

This will lead them later in life to end up in toxic and abusive relationships, where they will believe that they don’t deserve any better and that this kind of behavior is normal.

  1. Denying them emotional freedom

Children have emotions, just like every other human on this planet. Making them think that crying is inappropriate is just wrong. Who said that ‘real men don’t cry’? Parents who raise their children with the thought that they aren’t allowed to express their emotions and thoughts freely breed mental illnesses in their children’s minds.

Instead of helping your child be in touch with their emotions, and thus promoting love, empathy, and compassion, these parents will eventually create depressed individuals with pent-up emotions.

Encourage your child to speak openly about their emotions and express them without fear or second thoughts.

  1. Being the scary parent

Respect is not earned through fear, and nor is discipline and structure. You should never make your child be afraid of you. This will create frustration and they will choose to stay away from you.

Your child should feel free to be open with you about anything, and if you raise them in an environment full of fear, they will be scared to communicate with you. You shouldn’t let your child think that the closest person in their lives is something they should dread.

Let them know that no matter what happens, they can talk it through with you and you will come to a conclusion and a solution together.

  1. Denying them the right to have an opinion

While it’s the parents who make the decisions in the family, this doesn’t mean that your child doesn’t have an opinion about things. And it’s true that parents will always do what’s in the best interests of the whole family, one of those things should be including all the family members in this process.

You should respect your child’s opinion and let them express it freely. They don’t have to be right, but that’s where you need to talk that out with them and find common grounds. Denying them the right of opinion will make them very insecure later in life, and they will allow people to tread over them.

  1. Wanting to live your life through your kid

This is not uncommon. Many parents think that the things they wanted to do in their lives should be the things their children need to do. Living your dreams through your child is wrong on so many levels.

You need to understand that your child has a personality of their own and that they have dreams of their own. You cannot impose your wishes when their life needs to be lived by them. If they don’t want piano lessons, but would rather take up boxing, you’re not the one to say that they should think otherwise.

Respect their wishes and ambitions and help them live their dream – not yours!

  1. Controlling your children with money

Giving your child a gift is not something that should be treated as a favor that needs to be returned. It’s simple: you can’t buy love, respect, or good behavior. You can only encourage the positive in them through actions.

It’s the same when you make a mistake. Mistakes can be fixed! Although the past can’t be changed, admitting your fault and apologizing, while making efforts to be a better person next time, is the key to fixing a mistake. Money and things don’t remedy a mistake.

  1. The silent treatment

You can’t be passive-aggressive toward your child. If you don’t agree with something, or if they made a mistake, deaf ears won’t help them realize the mistake they made. Instead, it will teach them of an unhealthy way of communication that will haunt them through their lives.

Everything can be and needs to be discussed reasonably. Your child is just that – a child. On the other hand, you are not a child, and you should not behave like one.

  1. Disrespecting and ignoring boundaries

Practice what you preach! This means that you need to respect the boundaries you set and not act like ‘I’m the parent, I can do the things you aren’t allowed to.’ If you don’t want your child to do something, you should leave a good example, not a list of orders.

If you want your child to respect you, you need to show them some respect as well. If you don’t want your child to be late, you shouldn’t be late as well. And as your children know that you have your own privacy, you should know that they need their own privacy as well.

That means you do need to knock on their door before entering and allow them to have their private space where you won’t interrupt or disturb.

  1. Making the child feel responsible for your happiness

If you brought your child into this world, it’s because you decided to, not them. There are some parents who like to toss the blame of their misfortunes and misery to their children – and who make them think that they are the ones who should try and make the parent happy.

The truth, however, is that the child is not responsible for their parent’s happiness. They have a life of their own which requires their attention and efforts. You can’t think that your child should simply forget about their life and turn their attention to yours.

You should instead teach your child that we hold the greatest responsibility for our own happiness. If you don’t feel happy, do something about it and leave your child out of it. You don’t want to and you shouldn’t become a burden to your child.


Your child needs you to be their support and role model. If you act like you own them and they owe you their life and existence, you will scar them greatly. You don’t own them, and you owe them their life because you brought them into this world.

Make them see the beauty of it, and the love and affection that make it go round. Teach them of compassion, responsibility, happiness that comes from within, and the power of bonding. Don’t turn them into bitter husks that will regret to have ever come into this world – make them love their life and pursue their dreams.

Image Copyright: katyashut / 123RF Stock Photo
Source: Peace Quarters