1. Justify Terrible Behavior
Toxic parents can twist any situation to suit their needs, and this leaves children with two choices: accept that their parent is wrong or internalize all of the blame. In most cases, children, even those who are adults now, choose the latter option.
2. Fighting in front of the children
Fighting, that is yelling or becoming physical, in front of your children is a type of child abuse.
It has been proven to be incredibly emotionally damaging to kids. Arguments are a natural part of all relationships, but fights should never happen in front of children.
3. Being overly critical or disappointed
The #1 job of a child is to get to know the world they’ve been born into. They need to learn, to explore their interests, and find out what they love and are good at.
Parents who attempt to force their children into doing certain types of extracurricular and “for fun” activities are actually engaging in a toxic thing.
4. Put your feelings first
Parents may believe that their feelings should come first during family matters, but this is an antiquated way of thinking that is not going to foster positive relationships. Even though parents do need to make the final decision about everything from dinner to vacation plans, it is necessary to consider the feelings of every family member — including the children. Toxic individuals constantly force children to suppress their own feelings in order to appease their parents.
5. Standing between them and their goals
Parents tend to project their own hopes and dreams and ideals on their children.
A football-loving father may be repulsed by his son’s interest in ballet and a former cheerleader mother may be upset when her little girl tries out for lacrosse, but you have to let kids explore their interests and figure out what it is that they want out of life.
6. Not allowing kids to express themselves freely
Children should never be afraid to say what’s on their mind. There may be a consequence or two depending on how it’s said, but a child should never ever be afraid to speak what’s on their minds.
A healthy environment tells them that they are loved and can speak freely. A toxic parent will compel their children not to speak up.
7. They make toxic “jokes”
Teasing is a part of family life sometimes. It sure was in my family! A little gentle ribbing is fine, but it becomes toxic when a parent relentlessly teases one of their own over something they said or did. Know when to drop it.
8. Making kids responsible for their happiness
Parents have a lot of expectations for their kids, and it makes sense. Parents just want what’s best. They want to equip their little ones with the needed skill to live happy, healthy lives
But when you start to manipulate your children into doing certain things to make YOU happy, that’s a real toxic thing to do.
9. They give you the silent treatment
It can be hard to talk to someone when you are angry, but shutting out a child with the silent treatment is very damaging and immature.
Dishing out this passive-aggressive treatment hurts any type of relationship and makes the recipient feel pressured into fixing the situation, even when they didn’t do anything wrong. If a parent is too mad to have a rational conversation, they should excuse themselves for a few minutes instead of blatantly ignoring their child.