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7 Toxic Parenting Styles That Can Emotionally Scar Your Children For Life

7 Toxic Parenting Styles That Can Emotionally Scar Your Children For Life

You may not realize that certain things you do when raising your children can actually harm them in the long run.

No parent ever goes into parenting expecting to hurt their children. You always want to do what's best for your kid and raise them to be prepared to face the world and succeed in life. You try to show them you love them in the best way possible, even if it means being a little stern with them when needed. You try to discipline them in the healthiest way possible so that they can learn to have boundaries and be concerned for the welfare of others.

Despite the best of efforts, even the most careful and attentive parents may often end up making mistakes, and more often than not, the result of this becomes apparent when the children have stepped into adulthood. However, as a parent, it's your responsibility to identify these mistakes in your parenting style and rectify them before they cause lasting emotional damage to your children.

It's key to strike a balance in the style of parenting and not lean toward extremes. Being too harsh or even too mellow in your approach can bring toxicity into the dynamic between the parent and the child. Here are some of the most commonly made mistakes in parenting, and if you are able to relate to any of it, it is important to find a way to fix them so that your children can benefit from a healthy relationship with you.

1. Using threats to intimidate your children

If you start telling your kids that there will be consequences if they don't do something the right way (or even your way), they may slowly start to see you as a source of punishment. Children aren't as clear about what's right and wrong as you may be, and they may still be learning to do the right thing in a situation.

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If you teach them that they should always be motivated to behave out of fear of consequences, you may be unintentionally closing them off to being more open with you as they grow older. When they feel free to talk to you about things, they may learn more than if you taught them through consequences.

2. Failing to give them space

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iStock

A huge mistake parents make as their kids grow older is refusing to give them the space they need to assert their identity. Without the space to explore new things, children fail to learn to handle being autonomous and independent. If you constantly control your kids and dictate their choices for them, they become crippled by indecision and find it hard to make to make important decisions when they grow older.

You can't always do tough things for them because at some point they need to learn to do them on their own. You can always offer them guidance, but giving them the space to make mistakes can be a greater teacher than always ensuring that they succeed.

3. Not respecting their privacy

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iStock

As a parent, you understand all too well the importance of ensuring that your children don't cross the boundaries you've set for them out of concern for their welfare. You know how serious it is when one of them goes through your texts or watches a movie they weren't supposed to watch. You, too, need to maintain some boundaries when interacting with them. Never read their diaries or snoop through their drawers.

You can always ask or wait for them to bring something important up. Respecting their boundaries shows them that you truly love and respect them.

4. Criticizing them too harshly or too often

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iStock

Doing all things in moderation is a good principle to live by, and this is important to apply when you're dealing with your children. As a parent, it's hard not to notice when your child slips up because you're doing your best to ensure that they stay out of trouble. However, if you criticize them every time they mess up, they may start to feel smaller and smaller, and they start to think negatively about themselves. This can affect their self-esteem and also alienate them from you as they constantly see you being disappointed in them.

5. Refusing to listen to them

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iStock

As a parent, it's easy to start tuning out the seemingly unimportant or nonsensical things your kids spout as they learn to talk and express themselves. The things they're excited about may not seem all that exciting to you, but when you fail to listen to them or take an interest in what they have to say, you essentially communicate to them that they aren't important enough for your undivided attention. Kids can pick up on even the nonverbal cues you give off, so learn to be genuinely interested in what they have to say.

6. Forgetting to encourage good behavior

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iStock

When all you do is punish your child's bad behavior, you teach them that a world is a cruel, unforgiving place that will instantly deliver negative consequences every time they slip up. They become terrified of failure instead of learning to own up to it and change whatever caused them to falter. They may sometimes come to good conclusions about their own behavior when you give them time to think about it instead of punishing them. However, it's also equally important for you to positively reinforce good behavior so that they experience a balance.

7. Trying to be their friends

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iStock

When you set a boundary in place for your child, enforce it. When children grow up facing no consequences for violating important boundaries, they start to believe that they can get away with anything they want. You need to ensure that you are firm with them even if you're afraid of antagonizing them. They may become a little upset when you correct them, but remind yourself that you are a parent above everything else and while having a friendly bond is beneficial, it shouldn't cloud your authority when you're disciplining them for their bad behavior.