As a parent, we do everything we possibly can for our children. We try to protect and love them with every bone in our bodies. Sometimes this backfires on us, and the things we try our hardest to achieve, end up hurting our kids in some sort of way.
That being said, every parenting style is unique in it's own way, and as long as you're caring and loving for your child, you're doing it right. No matter how good of a parent we are, we can't be perfect.
Here are some toxic parenting things you may be doing without even noticing it.
1. You're too protective.
If you're a parent, you probably know how it almost feels impossible to give your first child freedom. As a parent, you want to watch over them and protect them from anything bad in the world. If they were ever hurt, you would blame yourself. Although this is our natural instinct as parents, our kids have to learn how to be independent without constantly relying on us.
Watching our children growing up is hard, but watching them grow into responsible young adults is the greatest accomplishment you will ever feel. Let your kids grow to be the successful and independent people you always hoped they would be, learn to let go a little bit, as much as you might not want to.
2. You try to be their best friend.
Being close with your children is a great feeling, but at the end of the day children need parents, not friends. The roles of parent and child need to be firmly in place with clear boundaries in order for a child to feel comfortable and grow to be a mentally healthy adult. Although you want to be involved in your child's life, being their best friend is not a good way of going about this. You can be close without becoming a friend.
3. You compare them.
Sometimes we do this subconsciously, but it's something we really need to watch out for. It can be easy to have the idea that comparing your child to their sibling or friend will help them understand what you expect of them, but it never works this way and can be very toxic.
They may begin to see themselves as not good enough and can be very hard for their self-esteem. Instead, celebrate their individuality instead of comparing them. If they are doing something unacceptable, you can tell them that without giving them the idea that they aren't good enough.
4. You give one child more attention.
If you have more than one child, you probably know how difficult it is trying to balance both of their needs. I often face this problem with my two daughters. One of them requires a lot more attention due to a learning disability. I often get so caught up in helping her, my other daughter feels left out, and almost as if I love my other daughter more than her.
Obviously, that isn't true but I constantly face this issue and have to remind myself to include both daughters, even though one needs a lot more attention than the other. This happens to any parent. Every child has a different set of needs and it is our job to recognize these and try our best to tend to all of them.
I am always guilty of this next one.
5. You talk down to them.
It is extremely important to talk with your child rather than at them. If kids feel listened to, they will talk more and confide in you more. Although it may be very hard to not "put them in their place," when they act up, you can actually get a lot further by talking it out with them first, then punish if necessary. If children feel as if they aren't listened to, they may act out even more.
6. You project your worries onto them.
This is something that is incredibly hard not to do. Before you have kids, it is easy to come home after you've had a bad day and let everyone know, it sucked. Once you have kids, they don't see it as "just a bad day," they over-analyze things more than we can imagine.
It is important to try our best to reserve our worries and negative thoughts around our kids. A huge one is money troubles. If you ever stress out about money in front of children, they will automatically think the worst and that stress will begin to consume them as well.
Although we're parents, we aren't expected to be superheroes either, we're still humans. We are never going to be perfect and we will always make mistakes. The only thing we can do is learn from our mistakes and move forward. As long as you love and care for your child, you will probably be a great parent.