3 Seemingly Harmless Things Parents Do That Can Actually Be Toxic

mother and daughter doing homework
mother and daughter doing homework elenaleonova via Getty Images

Parenting is one of those things where you have no choice but to become selfless to ensure your little human flourishes.

This could be by giving up your sleep, your time and even setting aside your emotions to cater to the needs of your young ones.

Though we are always bettering ourselves and self-reflecting as parents, there are some things you could be doing that might be toxic for your children.

Even if it’s not on purpose, some bad habits are difficult to recognise until you step back and actually reflect.

For example, social media personality and ‘mumfluencer’ Nika Diwa recently posted a video about not being your child’s best friend. Though on the surface it may seem harmless, she went on to explain exactly why.

She said: “You’re not supposed to be your child’s best friend, you’re supposed to be their parent.”

As the parent, Nika says she didn’t want her child to watch YouTube as there are inappropriate things on there not suitable to her toddler. Though her toddler is upset, as the grown up, Nika says it’s her responsibility to protect.

“Our job is not to make our kids like us. Our job is to protect them and love them.”

Expert reveals signs you could be a toxic parent

Therapist Alex Howard says: “In a toxic parenting relationship, the child’s emotional needs are often unmet because the toxic parent is preoccupied with meeting their own needs.

“The child is then responsible for meeting not only their own needs but also the needs of their parents. Some toxic parents may create an enmeshed relationship with their children, treating them more like a confidant than a child.”

In a TikTok video that has now gone viral, he reveals three habits you might have that make you a toxic parent.

The first point being that if you’re a toxic parent, it’s always about you, rather than your child. Whatever your child is feeling and experiencing is pushed to the side as your own feelings seem to be more important.

Secondly, he says if your child is expressing their feelings and you negate that, you are essentially gaslighting them.

Coercing your child to see things the way you do could be a form of manipulation.

Thirdly, a lack of boundaries can be toxic — if a child is saying no and the parent is pushing through their own needs first, this won’t benefit them in the long run.

So, in order to make sure you aren’t carrying on these traits — having a moment to reflect on your words and actions is vital.