You really are trying to do your best. Parenting didn’t come with a manual and if it did, you surely didn’t get a copy. Chances are, you are probably raising your child either the way you were raised OR you are trying to not raise them like that at all and doing a complete 360 of how your parents raised you. Either way, you think you are doing a darn good job. But are you? Could it possibly be that you might be a toxic parent without even realizing it?
Check these signs below and see if you fit in there anywhere. If you do, fear not, there is time to tweak your methods and improve your parenting skills.
First of all, gossiping is bad anyway, but when your children hear you talking about the neighbour Betty or if they hear you talking about one of their classmate’s parents, well, guess what? They are listening and can hear every word you say. They are also paying attention and you can be sure they will be repeating every word and forming a new habit. When we think our children are playing games and not paying attention is when they really are paying attention. Don’t assume they can’t hear you. They hear you loud and clear.
2. Fighting, name calling and disrespecting each other in front of the children (for those in relationships).
You should never do this in front of the children. Th is is not only toxic but very frightening for them. Take note of how you feel when you’re fighting and multiply this by a million. That’s how the children feel when you two are fighting. Not only that, name calling isn’t something you want your children to pick up on. Another toxic thing you don’t want them to do. If it’s ok for you, then why wouldn’t it be ok for them? You are their teachers, remember.
3. Let them be themselves.
So often you hear parents telling their kids to not to do this or you shouldn’t do that or stop acting like that. That’s who they are. They are acting exactly as they are whether it be playful, talkative, boisterous, girly (yes, even if they are boys!) or tomboyish (if they are girls). Let them be. Stop suffocating their unique personalities. Let them talk freely, provided they aren’t hurting anyone (mind you, remember #1 and #2 they learned already from you), and let them voice their uniqueness. Any other abhorrent behaviour they may exhibit, they learned from you.
4. Showing disappointment or being too hard on them.
By this, I mean, i f they have tried their very best at something, or even if they did something that didn’t produce the results that you expected, don’t tell them you are disappointed or that they could have done better or anything to that effect. Just tell them they did great, period. The end. Al ways be the encourager, not the voice of doom and gloom. They want to trust you and want you to be proud of them always but if you keep telling them they could have done better they will always struggle with self confidence and self esteem issues.
5. Try to keep your bad habits to yourself.
You already know what they are. Independent of smoking and other toxic habits like that the other bad habits would include but are not limited to things such as being negative, biting your nails, being mean to people, judging others, you get the idea. Remember our children follow our lead and if our lead is riddled with toxicity then that’s what they will inherit. We want our children to have a better life than we have. They are the future of the world. We want them to be positive, happy and respectful human beings of tomorrow.
Our children are our future. We already know that. Remember they are learning almost everything they know from us, their parents. Teach and raise them well. The future of the world depends on it.