Four Signs of a Toxic Parent

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Parenting is a tedious activity, and its complexity is unmatched. A set of methods that worked for the first child might not work for the second child. There is no formula in parenting, therefore it is more difficult than any arithmetic calculation. 

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The only time a person retires from parenting is when they lay lifeless in their graves. Sometimes even in the grave, they are not left to rest. People still go to their parent’s graves to voice out their grievances and beseech them to help. Some believe their late parents constantly watch over them.

Sadly, while performing this tasking but blessed responsibility, some parents become toxic. Unfortunately, many parents are oblivious to their toxicity. 

Common Signs of A Toxic Parent

Constant Comparison 

A parent that constantly compares their child/children to others, reeks of toxicity. This toxic trait is very unhealthy towards the child and can imprint on the child a feeling of not being good enough.  

A kid could earn a whopping 4.5 CGPA, as opposed to celebrating this win, a toxic parent will kill the child’s joy by making comparisons to another child who graduated as the overall best.

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The feeling of being inadequate has been planted in the minds of many due to constant comparison by their parents. This has led some children into depression, timidity, unhealthy competition, and serious emotional trauma. Some eventually grow up with contempt for their parents.

Little Air of Freedom 

As a parent, your words are not Ye and Amen. You are mortal and not God, therefore you are not infallible. You have to listen to your kids and respect their choices. Imposing your decisions on them, especially in matters that will shape the course of their life is toxic.

Being overprotective is equally a flaw. Caged children are likely to go wild the moment they taste freedom. When this tragedy occurs, you might find yourself wondering who cast an evil eye on your child. The truth is the moment you decided to caged and control your kids like robots you have cast an evil eye on them.

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Refusal to Adapt to the Various Stages of Growth

There are various stages of growth every human must experience. We were born as infants, and over the years we go through various stages before becoming adults.

The stages of growths are;

Infant – Toddler – Child – Teen – Adult – Aged.

How you treat your offspring differs from one stage to another. The fact you made decisions for them when they were at the stage of a child, does not mean you can do the same when they become adults. 

As your children grow, your parenting must evolve too. You spoon-fed them as toddlers, but as children you let them feed themselves. In the same vein, when they become adults, you must let them make their own choices. You can advise and encourage them when necessary but let them live their own lives.

Unfortunately, most parents don’t understand this. They keep trying to impose their decisions on their adult children as if they were still kids. This is the height of toxicity.

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Favoritism

Favoring a child over others is toxic. No one wants to be the second choice. Everyone wants to be special. As a parent, you shouldn’t display glaring favoritism. It is toxic and promotes rift in the family.

Honestly, I don’t consider Jacob in the Bible as a good parent. His glaring favoritism was what led to Joseph’s brothers hating him and committing the inexcusable act of selling him off as a slave.

Favoritism breeds contempt in a family. Every child is special. Love all for their various strengths. No one is all good, or all evil. 

There are so many other traits of toxic parenting, and a single post cannot successfully exhaust them all. In Africa, toxic parenting has been going on for a while. Let’s all do better!

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Cecilia Wonah

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