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13 Signs Of A Toxic Parent And How They Traumatize Their Children Without Realizing It


There are all kinds of parents and parenting possibilities. Some are very strict and control every aspect of their child’s life, others are very chill and let the child make their own decisions and mistakes. It is most certain that although there are many different approaches, all parents want to do the best for their kids.

Unfortunately, some parents fail to be the best supporters and examples. Of course, all parents make mistakes from time to time, and there is no right or wrong way to raise a kid, but some mistakes are bigger than others and can leave a permanent mark on the child.

Find out if your parents were making these errors when they raised you. And if you are a parent, try to avoid these 13 behaviors, because this hurts your child:

1. Failing to create a secure and supportive environment

Some parents believe that giving tough love teaches the child what the real world has become. Of course, this might make the child more independent, but it might also leave him with commitment issues and without close relationships later in life. The fact is that we all need love and affection. We need to have that security, which no matter what we do or say, our parents love us unconditionally.

This way we have the courage to try new things and understand who we truly are (because we only learn from our mistakes). Tough love is not wrong, but it definitely cannot be the only approach.

2. Criticizing their child’s every move

All the parents want best for their kids, but telling them they are always wrong is not healthy. Being too negative leaves the child without any confidence and motivation to try new things. It is normal for children to make mistakes and to learn from them and parents should understand that. Being overly judgmental is not the way to go. Parents should find a balance between positive and negative feedback and rather encourage their kids not bring them down.

3. Demanding all the attention

Toxic parents often think that their children owe them something because they have spent so much time and energy on them. They do not understand that their child has his/her own life and might not always be available for them. So the best thing for parents to do is to give their kid some space and then they will want to reach out themselves. No relationship can be forced, even not the one between a parent and a child.

4. Making hurtful jokes

It is quite similar to emotionally abusive relationships, where one partner brings the other one down but does it with a smile on his/her face. Picking on kids and pointing out everything they do wrong is bad for their confidence and self-love. So if you are a parent never mock your child because of the way she/he looks or behaves. If you have valid concerns, then talk to your kid privately and maturely.

5. Blaming it all on the kid

Some parents accuse their children of the terrible ways they treat them. If your parents were emotionally or physically abusive, it most definitely wasn’t your fault, even if they made you believe it was. Because most of us look up to our parents and believe every word they say, this might be very damaging to a kid.

Thinking that you deserved all the insults or hits makes you doubt your value as a person. It is possible that you will be in an abusive relationship later in life as well because you think that kind of behavior is normal and you do not deserve better.

6. Not allowing to express thoughts and emotions

All of us have good and bad times. It is important to talk about all kinds of feelings and not hold the negative emotions inside. Such conversations can prevent mental and physical illnesses. It is not healthy to raise your kid with the “boys don’t cry” attitude. Crying and showing emotions makes the child emphatic, caring and loving in the future. Holding all the emotions in can lead to depression and loneliness.

So, if you are a parent, encourage your kid to speak up about their feelings.

7. Being scary and frightening

Structure and discipline are important to some level, but your child should never be afraid of you. If you raise them in an environment, that everything that happens is their fault and they get punished all the time, then they become scared to talk to you about anything. This affects them primarily later in life as well, and they might not get close to you every.

There is a huge difference between respecting your parents and being afraid of them. It is important to create a secure and loving environment and make your kid feel that whatever happens, they can always talk to you and turn to you for advice.

8. Thinking only about themselves

All parents should take into consideration their child’s thoughts and opinions. Of course, parents are smarter and know what is best (most of the time), it is important to include the whole family in the decision-making process. Whether it is where to go for a dinner or a vacation, your child should have a say in it as well. And if you finally choose the opposite to their wish, make sure to explain to them calmly and understandably why you made this decision.

9. Wanting to fulfill their dreams through their kid

It is selfish to make your child do the things you wanted to do as a kid. For example, do not force them to do ballet, if you wanted to become a ballerina or do not make them study law if you dreamed of becoming a successful lawyer. Your kid is an individual with his/her thoughts, ideas, and the world.

Let them make their own decision because otherwise none of you will be happy.

10. Controlling the kid with money and guilt

Parents should not expect something in return when they give their child gifts or money. As a parent, do not try to buy your child’s love and respect. Earn it in another way. Also, do not try to fix your mistakes with money or gifts. It is important to admit being wrong and apologizing because actions speak louder than words.

11. Giving silent treatment

Which one of you is the kid again? It is very childish and ignorant to “solve” a problem or an argument with keeping your mouth shut. As with any relationship, communication is the key, and you must talk things through. This passive-aggressive behavior only teaches your kid unhealthy ways of communicating.

12. Ignoring boundaries

If a parent wants respect from their child, they must give them respect as well. This means following the boundaries and agreements yourself as well. If you as a parent are never on time, how do you expect your child to be? Also, give your child some space and privacy.

For example, knock before entering their room, especially when dealing with teenagers.

13. Making their kids responsible for their happiness

Do not be one of those parents, who only talk about how much they have sacrificed for their children and how your children should take care of you now. Becoming a parent was your choice and responsibility, you cannot expect your children to forget about their life and only support and entertain you from now on.

Do not become a burden on your children, because then they will not want to spend time with you at all. If you are not happy, do something about it and do not blame your kids. Remember, we are all responsible for our happiness.

Some ways of parenting can be quite toxic and negative. They can also leave a permanent mark on the kid, which might mess up his/her future relationships. So be the best parent you can be, give your child a secure home, but also enough personal space. Talk to them about things that matter and their feeling, but do not become too obsessive over them. Let them make their mistakes and let them know, that you are always going to be there to support them.

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