5 Toxic Behaviors Parents Need to Avoid in Front Of Their Kids

Jessica Robinson

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Is parenting easy or a challenging task? If you’re a parent, what score would you give yourself in this course? Well, it isn’t about the score, because parents naturally wish the best for their children and would do anything possible to lay a foundation for that. However, there are times when the adopted parenting approaches and styles only wreak havoc on children’s behavior, especially in the case of toxic parents. Unfortunately, this has a long-lasting impact on them.

Generally, our characters are modeled by the upbringing we receive, besides the genetic and environmental attributes. Childhood and child upbringing is critical because, during this phase, the child’s brain is under development. The type of parenting a child is exposed to influences them a lot in their behaviors, academic performance, and social life. Childhood is also the best phase to learn, although life as a whole is filled with learning experiences.

Whichever type of parenting style you choose there are certain guidelines that are applicable to all parents or natures of upbringing. That includes providing a safe environment for the child to learn, grow and become influential in the future. If you’re a parent or a guardian, here is a list of the top 5 toxic behaviors you need to forsake in the best interest of your kids.

5 Toxic Behaviors Parents Need to Avoid ASAP

  1. Modeling Destructive Habits

We all know that when a fight breaks out in a home, some parents care less about whether their kids are watching or not. The only thing they are concerned about is expressing their feelings to their spouse. Sometimes arguments escalate into violence right in front of the children, which causes emotional trauma.

Apart from that, habits like smoking or drinking in front of the child, also have a negative impact on them. Well, smoking and drinking aren’t bad depending on where we come from, but your kids may perceive them as widely accepted. Other seemingly minor concerns like yelling at them or physical punishments can cause mental distress too.

As a way of escaping the emotional trauma or coping, children normally build defensive walls or engage in unhealthy habits. That’s why some children would turn to self-destructive behaviors like pinching or scratching themselves to the extent of bleeding, over-eating which mostly leads to obesity, or secluding themselves due to fear. If young children come across persistent ethical issues at home, they are likely to find validation in unethical practices.

2. Ignoring Their Emotions

When it comes to emotions, kids too can become stressed, embarrassed, fearful, and frustrated. Unfortunately, many parents don’t take the time to understand their children’s emotions, more so, they don’t know how to go about it. Ignoring your children’s emotions is like denying them the love and care they expect from you. Yes, parents have different ways of showing love to their kids, but ensure to pay close attention to your child when sad, frustrated, or disappointed.

Some children find it hard to express their feelings or verbalize them and because of that, you may realize that they hide away or become aggressive. In the long run, they develop depression, low self-esteem, and self-expression issues. You can help your kid verbalize feelings by showing concern i.e when they are sad, try saying “stop crying”, “I love you” or “everything will be okay”. Instead of forcing your kid to stop crying, ask why he or she is crying.

Psychologically, this builds a safe environment for the kids and it helps them learn how to express or control their feelings. Also, try to be there and show concern when a child tells you about a depressing issue, such as favoritism at home or bullying and rejection at school. It can also lower absenteeism at school in case your child is demotivated by negative encounters there.

3. Undue Comparisons Between Kids

Parents who are obsessively about achievements and perfectionism at times dig graves for their children. It is quite common for parents to compare their children with their siblings or other children who seem to have it all. But why?

Comparison is one of the commonest personality-killing factors today. It builds a fixed mindset and the urge for someone to achieve something at any cost. It also affects one’s personality to the extent that they tend to feel low about themselves. That’s why many people can kill for money, and accept bribes to maintain their status, among many other ethical issues in our societies.

But what’s the root of all that? Comparison and a failure for the parents to recognize or praise their children despite their imperfections. Childhood is the best phase to learn and no matter how your kid shows no improvement, it’s best to be patient. When the kid is bad at maths encourage him to seek help rather than downsizing him or emphasizing the weakness. This creates an environment where a child feels safe to be who he is, express his feelings, compete healthily, and discover his potential.

4. Using Negative Words

Did you know that words have power? If yes, have you ever witnessed their power? If you’re raising a child and fond of throwing negative words at him, it’s high time you stopped. Scientific studies show that words, whether positive or negative, have a significant impact on one’s life. Generally, negative words cause stress and also release anxiety-inducing hormones, whereas, in usual life, positive words can change situations or bring dreams to reality.

A study conducted by Maria Richter with other neuroscientists discovered that painful or negative words increase Implicit Processing (IMP) in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex. Hurting words like good for nothing, you’re a failure, so is better than you, only release negativity. They can hinder a child’s progress psychologically or lead them to believe that they can never be better or make it in life. Negative words discourage and demotivate kids and can bring about poor performance and engagement issues in class. In the long run, your child may turn out to be defiant, aggressive, rebellious, and antisocial.

If you’re raising a child and are fond of using negative words or have lost confidence in your child, here are some of the self-improvement approaches your child can use to become a better person.

5. Being Over Strict

“Spare the rod and spoil the child” that’s a common phrase we all know. But how can we educate or discipline children in a challenging era like today? Some parents believe that being strict produces disciplined and responsible children and certainly ones that the future can rely on. But how true is that and what to do when your child is disrespectful?

Every parent may adopt a parenting style that seems perfect for their children, but it’s quite essential to assess its effect on the child. Being overprotective and strict may hinder a child’s self-awareness. It is during childhood that children discover their potential, interests, and abilities. But your child may fail to realize his uniqueness generally because you’re nurturing him to be like you or someone else.

Certain parenting styles like authoritarianism require a child to follow rules without question. Although rules may help to guide the child, they also limit self-discovery. Children also never learn why they have to do things a certain way because they are never given a chance to ask questions. Being overly critical and strict will make your child hide their true characters and display only those you approve of.

So as a parent, provide the required guidance, but ensure to leave room for mistakes and self-correction. This produces responsible and accountable children.


As a parent, you may be doing everything possible to groom your child, but be careful with the type of behaviors you model out for your children. Today many kids are exposed to a variety of toxic behaviors that directly or indirectly affect their mental well-being. Additionally, these trigger a range of long-lasting behavioral disorders and classroom performance issues.

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Jessica Robinson is a charismatic corporate leader, a selfless educator, and a versatile content creator. Despite a management degree, her vision behind blogging is not only to follow her passion but to create more informed societies. Her selflessness reflects in every piece of her work on The Speaking Polymath.

Melbourne, FL

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