When you have a child, they don’t come with a manual. While most parents will do their best, providing for their child in the best way that they know how, they will often readily admit that they are far from perfect.
Acknowledging that they will make mistakes, these parents do the best that they can to try to prepare and minimize the impact of their decisions on their children as they grow up.
There are, however, a number of parents that take a very different approach to their responsibilities as a parent, failing to acknowledge the impact that their parenting choices will have on the children that they are raising. Whether their errors are accidental or intentional, ultimately, they create a toxic environment for their children, causing long term damage to their children on both an emotional and mental level.
Do you believe that you were raised in a toxic household? Here are 14 signs that one, or both, of your parents exhibited toxic behaviors:
They Refuse to Allow Their Children to Express Emotions
There was a time when the ‘boys don’t cry’ attitude was accepted, however today we are aware of the harmful impact that kind of thinking has on a growing child. Denying their children the chance to cry or express emotions will set them up to be unable to adequately express their emotions as an adult.
They Give Their Children the Silent Treatment
Rather than addressing any disagreements in a mature, adult way, setting a good example for their child on how to handle conflict as an adult, these parents fall into the childish, passive-aggressive approach of avoiding communication with their child.
They Demand Attention
These parents believe that their children came into their lives for the purpose of serving their parents and that they ultimately owe them something for having raised them. They refuse to give their children any space, demanding that they are always available for their every need.
They Ignore All Boundaries
If a parent wants their child to grow up capable of having healthy relationships with the people that they encounter, they need to start by teaching them the value of boundaries as a child, and how to respect them. If they don’t respect their child’s privacy it should be no wonder if the child, in turn, doesn’t respect that of their parents.
They Appear Frightening and Scary
There is a distinct difference between respecting your parents and being afraid of your parents. If a parent raises their child in an environment in which the child fears making a mistake or upsetting their parents, this will hinder their ability to create a close relationship with their parents later in their lives.
They Place the Responsibility of Their Happiness on Their Children
If a parent focuses entirely on everything that they have given up to raise their child, expecting their child to repay them by sacrificing for their parents, this will, in many cases, push their child away destroying the chance of a healthy relationship later in their lives.
They Fail to Provide an Environment of Affirmation and Security
Children need to feel loved and supported in order to build their confidence and allow them to establish a sense of independence. Children that are lacking these values are more likely to grow up with commitment issues as an adult.
They Create Unrealistic Expectations
It is important to teach children that they should push themselves and aim higher than they believe they can achieve, however, if the expectations placed on a child are always out of their reach they will quickly become discouraged and begin to see themselves as being unable to ‘accomplish anything.’
They Always Put Themselves First
While it is a parent’s job to guide and teach their child, it is also important to consider their thoughts and opinions. This will help the child to develop the ability to make decisions later in their lives. When a parent only considers their own thoughts and opinions, the child feels as though they can offer nothing of value.
They Make Negative ‘Hurtful’ Jokes
Much like you would see in an emotionally abusive relationship, these parents tear their children down by pointing out their every mistake through the jokes that they make. This erodes a child’s self-confidence and self-love.
They Chase Their Dreams by Proxy
If a parent failed to chase their dreams in their own lives, and instead push their child to pursue the same path they may be selfishly be using their child to achieve their own dreams. It is important to allow children to develop their own individual personality and interests.
They Are Overly Critical
While it is beneficial to correct a child at times, there should be a balance of both positive and negative feedback in order to allow the child to grow up with confidence and motivation to grow and challenge themselves in life. If a child believes that they are always wrong this will discourage them from ever trying anything new.
They Use Guilt and Money to Control Their Child
Rather than focusing on the mental and emotional needs of their child, some parents begin to buy their child’s love and respect, using material gifts to control and manipulate their child into overlooking any mistakes they may make as parents. Children need to learn the value of accepting and acknowledging their mistakes, and apologizing to others by seeing this example in their parents.
They Blame Everything on Their Child
Rather than accepting responsibility as the adult in the situation, these parents will blame everything that happens on their child, including their own emotionally or physically abusive behavior. Eventually, children will believe they are responsible, causing them to doubt their value and worth.