5 Toxic Parenting Traits by Better Health Magazine

When it comes to raising caring, successful and well-rounded children, the parenting style and family environment are critical.

Experts have posited that the best homes to raise children in are filled with compassion and love, where children’s voices and feelings are prioritised. However, not all families are filled with such bliss and as a result the effects may last for a lifetime.

For some, toxic behaviours from parents are disheartening and can result in years of trauma and struggle.

According to psychologist Sani Hermawan, “toxic parenting comes from a lack of knowledge, and is the result of parents’ refusal to learn the right parenting methods for their child by repeating the patterns they learned from their own parents. They merely imitate without consciously considering the long-term effects.”

It is not unusual for parents to have complicated relationships with their offspring. However, it is important as a parent to recognise behaviours that may cross the line from bickering to toxicity. The below outlines five signs of which can be classified as toxic parenting:

Being overly critical – Without constructive criticism, many of us might never learn how to do numerous tasks correctly. However, when criticism is taken to an extreme it is no longer helpful to the child. Instead, it fosters a harsh inner critic and results in insecurity and self-doubt.
The silent treatment – It can be difficult to talk to someone when you are angry, but shutting down a child when you are upset can be very damaging. Blatantly ignoring a child, especially when they did not do anything wrong can result in low self-esteem and anxiety.
Refusal to nurture emotional needs – Many parents, especially within the Caribbean make light of their children having negative emotions. Being completely dismissive of your child’s feelings makes it extremely difficult in the future for them to freely express when something is wrong. As a result, this lack of attention and repression of negative emotions can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
Guilt trips – Parents can make the mistake of constantly reminding children how much they gave up in order to take care of them. This form of manipulation is a way to shame or blame a child into complying with certain requests. No child should be held accountable for the responsibilities of being a parent as it can result in shutting them down emotionally, harboring feelings of resentment and the inability to maintain healthy relationships.
Verbal abuse – Some parents are incapable of controlling their emotions and use it to control their children. Using ridicule, sarcasm, insults and humiliation as weapons of attack to comment on a child’s appearance, intelligence or value can result in lack of self-worth and loss of confidence.

Better Health Magazine is publishing monthly by The Nation Publishing Co. Limited.

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