13 Signs of a Toxic Parent and How They Damage Their Children without Realizing It

Please read the list below to discover all the mistakes your parents made raising you—and so you’ll know what mistakes not to make for yourself.

#1: Lack of a supportive environment.

Contrary to the once popular belief, tough love does not teach a child about the real world properly; in fact, it really doesn’t love at all. Doing this can leave children with commitment issues, and without quality relationships, as they grow older. All human beings need to be allowed to have the courage to try new things and to be their genuine selves—this usually isn’t possible if “tough love” takes place.

#2: Constant criticism.

Frequently telling children that they are wrong isn’t healthy; this leaves them with little confidence and motivation to try to accomplish things, and it doesn’t allow them to learn from their mistakes properly.

#3: Time demands.

Children have to be given an adequate amount of time and space to spend freely, discovering who they are and who they want to become. If their entire schedules are predetermined for them, then they’ll only learn who their parents want them to be and become.

#4: Harmful jokes.

When parents mock their children it’s oftentimes equivalent to abusing them. This causes children to feel as though they’re not even close to being good enough to be treated with dignity and respect.

#5: Falsely blaming.

When parents blame their children for the way more significant things in life turn out—and don’t take responsibility, as the adults who were supposed to be in charge of things—it makes children feel as though they’ve failed both the family and themselves. What’s more, kids can start to believe that they deserve to be blamed whenever anything goes wrong around them.

#6: Suppressing thoughts and emotions.

It just isn’t healthy—emotionally or physically—to tell children “not to cry” or “not to feel upset.” Human beings need to be able to accept their true feelings (whatever they may be) before they can ever truly move forward from them; depression and loneliness can result if the feelings are simply ignored or buried.

#7: Intimidating or frightening.

It isn’t healthy for children to be afraid of their parents. They can easily become afraid to talk to you about anything—even things that are extremely important that any parents would want their child to tell them about.

#8: Being selfish.

This covers always being considerate of children’s thoughts and opinions, which is one of the most common toxic behavior of poor parents. What’s more, it’s vital for parents to explain why they are making a particular decision, especially when it conflicts with the desires of their children. Children will not be able to understand life properly if they don’t comprehend why significant decisions are made.

#9: Living vicariously through children.

More specifically, parents shouldn’t push their children to live the lives that they wished they would have, and they shouldn’t assume that their children will be interested in all of the things they were simply because it’s “in their blood” or “in their genes.”

#10: Controlling by way of paying.

Unless they’re being paid for doing a specific job, parents shouldn’t pay their children to behave well, and they shouldn’t pay them to treat them better. Think morals and ethics (especially later in life).

#11: Silent treatment.

This is passive-aggressive behavior, and it’s not an adultlike behavior at all. This should go without saying; however, too often it needs to be said (or written).

#12: Disrespecting boundaries.

Respect needs to be earned—not given. If a parent wants their children to respect them, then they should respect their children in a similar fashion. Again, think morals and honor.

#13: Counting on kids for happiness.

Especially when children are younger, it is the responsibility of the parents to help make their children happy (not the other way around). All human beings are responsible for their own happiness in life, and putting this burden on children will only jeopardize the possibility of them experiencing healthy relationships in the future.

*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.