Are You a product of Toxic Parenting: 13 Signs
Being a parent can bring a wealth of joy as well as frustration. Raising a bright, healthy, well-adjusted child is not an easy task by any means. Parental influence and effective parenting is often put to the test many times during the course of a child’s life, from early childhood to early adulthood. Healthy parenting and toxic parenting can be difficult to identify and distinguish at times making it difficult to discern when some behaviors are causing emotional and psychological challenges to children. Some toxic parenting situations are fairly obvious and blatant while others are more subtle and difficult to identify. Children of toxic parents (or primary caregivers) often exhibit anxious, nervous behaviors, are more likely to express aggressive tendencies, struggle with low self-esteem, have difficulty making and keeping friends, behave in ways that is not age appropriate, etc. Too often toxic parenting is the result of learned behavior, i.e., having grown up in a toxic or otherwise dysfunctional environment during the parent’s childhood, thereby parenting the way they were parented. Although, many parents with a dysfunctional childhood recognize their childhood may have been unhealthy, some find it difficult to identify healthier parenting techniques, break the cycle, or parent based upon negative reactions to their children’s undesirable behaviors. For some parents, toxic parenting can be intentionally or unintentionally malevolent, but more often, they're just self-centered and don't understand that their children have their own conflicting emotional needs and desires.
Inconsistent parenting can also be attributed to toxic parenting styles. Inconsistent parenting consists of disciplining a child one way for undesirable behaviors and not at other times, praising the child for one thing at a particular time then condemning them later on at a different time for the very same behaviors, ignoring the attitudes, breaking of rules one time not at other times, etc. Inconsistent parenting creates confusion, anxiety, fear, and frustration for children creating an escalation of the negative behaviors parents insist they want to extinguish.
Another form of toxic parenting includes, withdrawal. Parental withdrawal can take on several different forms, such as emotionally being unavailable to your child so as he or she receives the nurture and support to meet emotional and psychological needs. Physical withdrawal includes being physically unavailable to your child whenever he or she needs their parents, i.e., when a child is sick and needs to be picked up from school yet the parent leaves the child at school to focus on work, etc. Parental withdrawal creates confusion, causing a child to question his or her self-worth, breaking down their self-esteem, and distorting their sense of self.
13 Signs of Toxic Parenting
Overly reactive (usually negative) to a child’s perceived negative behaviors.
Inconsistent parenting style
Parental withdrawal (emotional, psychological, and physical)
Parental needs come for the needs of the child or children.
Attempt to control a child’s behavior through shame, guilt, or violence.
Failure to recognize the changing needs of their children as they grow and mature.
Drug or alcohol addicted
Untreated mental health issues that may be impacting parenting ability.
Undermine or demeaning behaviors toward children
Children are self-conscious or afraid of their parents.
Exhibit overly controlling and restrictive behaviors
Unable to adapt to changes in their children, which is deemed age appropriate changes with maturation.
Have marked difficulty or refuse to acknowledge and respect personal boundaries