Most parents try to do their best when educating their children. However, good intentions are not always enough and in some cases there are parents who end up assuming educational styles that, far from doing their children good, generate very deep emotional wounds and damage children’s self-esteem. Sometimes they even assume behaviors that become toxic for their children and that hinder their proper social and emotional development.
How do toxic behaviors of parents affect their children?
Being hypercritical, instilling fear or guilt in children or conditioning love to certain achievements are some of the most typical behaviors of toxic parents. In other cases, what generates parental toxicity is the lack of clear limits, the rejection of negative emotions or the coercion of the child’s freedom of decision.
In any case, the result is very similar: children with low self-esteem, emotionally disabled and who carry a heavy load of guilt and fear behind their backs. These are the main consequences for child development of toxic behaviors of parents:
1. They suffer from low self-esteem
Many of the children whose parents are hypercritical and very demanding tend to develop low self-esteem and self-worth. Subjected to constant and incisive criticism, these little ones often lose confidence in themselves and experience a deep sense of failure that, in the long run, will become an obstacle to developing their full potential and becoming the people they really want to be. In other cases, they can become true perfectionists or self-demanding people, unable to embrace their own flaws and mistakes.
2. They have a marked emotional imbalance
Living under constant emotional repression, especially negative emotions, ends up incapacitating children to express what they really feel. In the long term, they become people who are afraid to feel, open up to new experiences and show themselves as they are. In fact, it is not surprising that children who have not been able to openly channel their emotions are more vulnerable to developing emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression or to have problems establishing deep relationships with others.
3. They are insecure and dependent
There are parents who think that children do not know or should decide and, as a consequence, impose their points of view and make all the decisions for their children. However, far from helping them, the truth is that they are raising insecure children, incapable of making their own decisions and emotionally dependent. The worst thing is that, as they grow up, they will become vulnerable and easily manipulated adults who will be unable to take control of their lives because they never learned to do so.
4. They are afraid of life
When parents overprotect their children and teach them to be afraid of life, they are raising fearful children, who do not trust their abilities and who prefer to stay in their comfort zone before going out to explore and make their own mistakes. In the end, these children become adults who do not risk and who do not dare to go after their goals and dreams in life because they are afraid of failing and making mistakes.
5. They live with a constant sense of guilt
There are parents who blame their children for not having finished their studies, the failure of their marriage or their job stagnation. Basically, they make children responsible for their happiness or unhappiness. However, growing up under the heavy load of guilt is not easy, so it is common for these children to feel guilty as they grow up for what their parents have had to live through, but also their partner, friends and those who care for them. surround. This makes them dependent on the approval of others and unable to put their own desires and needs before those of others.
6. They feel unworthy of being loved
When parents condition their children’s love on certain behaviors or achievements, they are sending the message to children that they do not love them for who they are but for what they do. The result? Children who do not feel worthy of the love and respect of others because they feel unworthy of being loved. In the end, these children end up becoming perfectionist adults who believe that their true value lies in their achievements and that they are not capable of fully loving themselves with their virtues and defects.
7. They lead a disorganized life
Boundaries and rules serve not only to keep children safe but also to bring order to their lives. So when parents avoid setting limits on their children’s education, they are actually doing great harm. Growing up, these children will have trouble adjusting to new environments, living harmoniously with other people, or following rules. In fact, many of these little ones tend to grow up and become disorganized adults, without clear goals in life and with difficulties integrating into the world around them.
How to keep children safe?
The best way to protect children and keep them safe from the consequences of toxic parenting is to curb behaviors that can affect their development. However, this is not always easy, especially when parents are not aware that their education can harm their children.
In these cases, it is convenient to review our words, attitudes and ways of relating to our children. If you are not able to do it alone, you can consult with your partner or an expert who will help you identify your educational style and put a stop to the behaviors that may be affecting children. It is not an easy task, and it is even likely that you will have to change many of the educational patterns that you took for granted, but if you really love your children and are willing to try, you can become the father or mother that you really want to be.