In an article by Theresa Edwards, she asked, “Are you a toxic parent?” She had interviewed four mental health and relationship experts about parental behaviors that have the potential to damage their children and their relationship with their children.
Now I don’t expect any of MY readers could be harming their children either directly or indirectly. But I’m sure I’m not the only one who worried that maybe I wasn’t parenting in the best way possible.
Here are some ways you may be hurting your children or your relationship with your children.
Yelling at your kids too much!
I’ve had more than a few of you mention that you know you yell at your kids too much. If this is something you worry about, think about these things.
- Are you overwhelmed and out of control? What would it take to reduce your burdens so you have the reserves you need to deal with your children more calmly?
- Are you overtired? When was the last time you got enough sleep? How can you make this happen more regularly?
- Are you copying the parenting style you were raised with? Just because your parents’ yelled at you doesn’t mean you can’t learn a better way to communicate with your children.
You express your fears to your kids!
We may have a real fear of something we have not yet overcome. Fear becomes toxic when we model unreasonable fear or look to our children to help us deal with things that frighten us. We are the parents and need to find ways to deal with our fears. Passing our fears onto our children will hurt them in the long run.
Some moms are terribly afraid of spiders. If they scream and run every time they encounter a spider, their children will likely adopt their own fear of spiders. If moms realize they are much bigger than the spiders and surely can hit them with something and kill them, their kids will learn there are good ways to overcome fear.
Living Your Dreams and Aspirations Through Your Kids!
Some parents try to get their kids to fulfill their unmet goals for themselves. Maybe they had to work as a shopkeeper when they really wanted to be a scientist. They push their children to take the science stream and to become the researcher they weren’t able to become.
We should seek to know our kids’ strengths and weaknesses. We should give them opportunities to discover their own interests and desires. And as believers in Jesus, we should seek God’s will for our kids’ future. We need to allow our children to become the person God wants them to be not just the fulfillment of our dreams.
Binding Instead of Bonding
Binding is when we say or act like, “I’m your mother and you will do as I say!” Bonding, on the other hand, is cultivating a relationship through shared experiences. In this case we say, “I’m your mother and I will always love you. I have your best interests at heart.”
Some Indicators of Toxic Parenting:
Sometimes we just really can’t see that we are doing anything that will hurt our kids. If you see these indicators, you should look at the way you parent and take action to make some changes.
- Your kids say, “You never listen to me.” Are you taking the time to listen to your kids? Are you hearing more than their words to what is really bothering them?
- Your kids complain about the same thing repeatedly. Are you letting them know you are finding a way to deal with these concerns?
- You find yourself constantly blaming others for the upsets in your home. What part are you playing in these upsets?
- When you see your children behaving like you and you don’t like it. It is time to correct your own behavior before trying to deal with theirs.
Our goal is to be the best parents we can be for the children we have. Most of the time we do quite well.
But if you see you really are being “toxic” in one of these ways, seek help to make the needed changes. Don’t ignore these warning signs and don’t think they will improve on their own. It is not shameful to ask for help. It is shameful to know you need help and not to ask for it.
Please write to me with your comments or questions: Diane
You can see Theresa Edwards’ article at: Sheknows.com