Almost no one consciously chooses to be a ‘toxic’ person. Especially when raising children, we usually try to do our best. Our upbringing, relationships, habits, temperament somehow affect our parenting, and this is one of the many challenges that come with the parent role. It is not always easy to realize whether we can raise happy, healthy, harmonious people.
Fortunately, there are ways to recognize and eliminate the harmful behaviors that infiltrate our parenting. Remember that all parents are capable of harmful behavior at some point, and children are often resilient and forgiving, and there is always room for compensation. Even recognizing that you are exhibiting the following behaviors will be an important step towards improving your relationship with and positive impact on your child.
1- Comparing children
One child may be more inclined to follow the rules and get good grades, while the other may not meet your expectations in these matters. Of course, it is impossible not to see the differences between the people we live under the same roof, which means that they also know the differences you see. When you bring up the issues that your child lacks less than other children or friends in the house, you both cause a sense of guilt and prevent your child from developing self-esteem. Remember that all children will be different and develop in different ways, and never verbalize these differences to compare. Being the parent of some children is more difficult, but accepting this fact and developing a unique communication with them will be good for both you and your child.
2- Complaining to children with your personal problems
It’s great to always have open and honest communication in the home a child grows up in, but when children are expected to take on the brunt of adults’ problems, this openness and honesty goes a little too far. As much as possible, children should not be bothered by relationship problems in the extended family, financial difficulties, and other frustrating issues. Of course, this does not mean that all negativity should be hidden from children, but sometimes children can become overly concerned when they see you complaining about even the smallest problems. A mother who complains that her husband doesn’t take out the trash may think it’s not a big deal, but if the parents of the young child in the house are getting divorced at the time and your child is starting to worry about it, this garbage issue may wear him out more than you think. Your little child should not be your confidant, as family dynamics certainly affect him differently. Also, you should never blame them for the problems you’re having, and you should never imply how easy your life was without them. Children blame themselves for things that are out of their control. They need to know not only that they are loved, but that you want them in your life.
3- Reflecting your disappointments on children
You may have frustrations about being a parent. We all want to do better and sometimes we just can’t afford to do better. Uncontrollably yelling at children creates feelings of guilt and disappointment in many parents. By sitting down in a quiet time and reviewing when you yell the most, you can catch a pattern and take measures to smooth out stressful mornings or tiring sleep times. Child psychologist Dr. “When you learn to identify and manage your own frustrations with parenting, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your child’s challenging behaviors can evolve,” says Jeffrey Bernstein.
4- ‘Silencing’ children
Sometimes we say to children ‘nothing will happen’. He is very tired, has forgotten his water bottle at home, or is feeling unwell for some other reason. We look at it as adults and say it’s not a big deal, we say ‘don’t worry, it’s okay, don’t cry’. These words we say to comfort our children can have a toxic effect without realizing it. Because when we tell him that there is nothing to worry about, fear or worry about, we ignore his feelings and this can cause him to have trouble understanding and expressing his feelings in the long run. Children, just like us, need to be seen and heard.
5- Using discipline to punish, not to teach
When kids misbehave, they have to experience the consequences, so far everything is normal. But discipline becomes toxic when it is used simply to punish him, not to let him know that there will be consequences for his actions, and cause shame and anger. It is necessary to avoid making sudden decisions and to try to act without getting caught in intense parenting feelings. For example, if you do not know what to do when your child harms his sibling, “it is not right for you to hurt your sibling. I need to think about what will happen next/what do you think we should do?” You can approach the subject with such an approach.
6- Labeling the children
Labels and adjectives simply enter our language and stay there; likewise in our child’s mind. When a label is used repeatedly, it ceases to describe the behavior and declares that the behavior is a fundamental truth about that person. If you constantly label your child as “shy, tearful, picky, stubborn”, it means that this adjective will have a very important place in the image they create about themselves.
7- Suppressing children’s independence
‘helicopter parenting’ that prevents children from doing work on their own, or not being able to cut the umbilical cord as they get older; It can turn into toxic behaviors that prevent your child from taking responsibility for their own life as they progress into adulthood. You can’t instill adulthood in them all of a sudden, just when it’s time to leave home. Allowing them to face age-appropriate challenges is essential for children to gain independence and develop the capacity to cope with challenges as individuals.
Meghan Moravcik Walbert. “7 Ways to Know If You’re a Toxic Parent (and What to Do About It)”. Şuradan alındı: https://lifehacker.com/7-ways-to-know-if-youre-a-toxic-parent-and-what-to-do-1847080571.(14.06.2021).