Children are very sensitive, they crave love, and attention, and want to be cared for. While raising a child sounds simple to many people, for others it’s not.
A child needs a safe and financially secured environment to grow up with emotional stability, if any of these are missing, they negatively impact the child’s emotional and mental growth.
What Does ‘Toxic Environment Mean?
When we say a ‘toxic environment’ it means that the parent figure(s) do not show empathy towards the child or each other, there is a lack of personal space and boundaries, presence of verbal, physical, emotional abuse, conditional acceptance and love, and constant aggression or conflicts.
These conditions trigger different health conditions, hence the child’s wellbeing is at stake. If these conditions exist in a household, the child is likely to be a victim of different issues including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, depression, anxiety, diabetes, cardiac issues, and even unhealthy sexual practices and drug abuse.
How to Identify Problematic Behaviour in Children?
In short, chaotic households lead to unhappy families and lives. It is vital to understand that parents are responsible for ensuring a colorful and happy environment in the household. If a parent or both parents are unable to maintain a balance, this starts to reflect in the child’s behavior.
Children who come from toxic families have lower self-esteem, they find it hard to listen or agree with authority figures, are sensitive towards criticism, lack responsibility, feel hopeless and helpless, and lack trust and boundaries. These children also feel guilty about showing compassion, seek similar dysfunctional relationships, need validation from others, and show a lack of compassion towards others.
How to Identify Toxic Parents or a Toxic Environment?
There are a few hints and clues in a parent’s tone, choice of words, and behavior that can help you identify if they are toxic and are creating an unsafe environment for children. These individuals use abusive language, are quick to lose their temper and raise hands, hold too many or unrealistic expectations, are self-absorbed, rigid, are easily offended and emotionally unavailable or unstable, and are quite manipulative, controlling, and demanding.
How to Deal with Negative Family Members?
If you have or know someone who has negative family members and needs help, try to find the right moment to strike a conversation. Communication is important and needs to be a part of the healing. Be calm, use a friendly tone, suggest that you’ve noticed a couple of things, and slowly build up to the main topic. However, be mindful of the other person, and if it seems like they are not in a happy place, briefly change the topic.
Dr. Nicole LePara, who is a psychologist shares that narcissist parents are deeply insecure and emotionally immature. She adds that these traits lead the children of such parents to fulfil their own needs and must play the role of a caretaker and enabler themselves. She furthermore shares that such parents will praise their children when it is of benefit for them, such as taking them to the doctor, paying them an allowance, or buying gifts. Moreover, such parents will always talk about how the job title could have been better, the salary package could have been better, and point out faults instead of looking at the larger picture and appreciating the child.
Coping Strategies for Children
A few coping strategies for children are:
- journal keeping
- positive adult figures
- positive friends
- reaching out to organizations
Have anything to add? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
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