10+ Habits of Toxic Parents and How They Ruin Children Without Realizing It

When you have a child, your entire life changes. Suddenly, everything is for the baby. Every parent wants to be able to do right by their kids. But there are many things that stand between you and being not a good parent, but the kind of parent your child needs.

That's the right way to look at it, in my opinion. Good and bad are relative. But all kids need approximately the same thing in order to grow into happy, healthy, successful human beings.

Parents neglect to give their kids what they need for a lot of reasons. I've seen parents read so many parenting books that they end up not knowing which way is the right way.

I've also seen parents who just don't care, letting their kids do whatever they feel like, or even worse, neglecting and abusing them.

One thing is for sure, there are a number of truly toxic behaviors that imprint on our kids and deeply, profoundly impact their life growing up.

These are habits and actions that you should be avoiding at all costs. Some are physical, some psychological, and some are social.

If you know someone who's recently become a parent or is about to be, be sure to share this article with them to help them be the best parents they can be.

1. Not Respecting Boundaries

It's important for parents to think about the boundaries they've set for their children.

When I was young, my parents established some very important boundaries.

Stay out of the parents bedroom. Stay out of mom's office. Stay out of dad's man cave.

There were good reasons for those rules! You're adults, you own things like porno mags and marital aids. You don't want kids getting into that!

But kids also have things they don't want you to get into too. You can't expect kids to feel like respected individuals if you also don't honor their personal space and their boundaries too.

When your kids get older into their teen years, you should not be snooping.

They don't go through your underwear drawer, you shouldn't go through theirs either.

They're old enough that simply talking to them about worries you might have are good enough. Use your words. Don't be intrusive.

2. Failing To Provide Affirmation and Security

A lot of parents, stereotypical macho dad types especially, think that punishment is king.

It takes tough love to shape and sculpt especially young boys into strong, capable young men.

But tough love isn't how you make sure your kids can take care of themselves. Teaching them to take care of themselves is how you teach them to take care of themselves.

Simple, right? By punishing your children over every little thing, you cripple their ability to be strong in the face of life's challenges, because any sign of failure will be met with swift...something.

Not punishment, but...something. Disappointment. Frustration. Anger. Withholding.

We should be teaching our kids about the world as an adult.

When you're an adult and you fail at something, you don't have some authority figure that takes away your gameboy until you do better.

You try harder to do better, and that comes from within.

3. Being Overly Critical

We all have dreams and goals that we don't achieve.

Maybe you wanted to be a football star but you tore your ACL in high school and all that went out the window.

Maybe you were almost the math league champ but didn't quite make it. One thing is for sure: you should not be projecting your failures onto your children.

You can't force your kids to be something that you wish you were. When you do that, you crush their self esteem.

When you project what you want for your kids onto them without letting them choose, and when you level unrealistic expectations, you don't make them better or stronger.

You make them weaker and less likely to be empowered with the tools to take on the challenges of their adult lives.

4. Not Following Through

Parents want to be their kids' best friends. But that's not what kids want.

You don't want to unintentionally raise a terrible adult, and one of the ways you avoid that is by setting rules and actually following through with them.

If you're a new parent, it's good to experiment a little; to see what works and what doesn't.

But at some point you have to see what guidelines and rules work and actually follow through on them. I get it. No parent wants to punish their kids.

No parent wants to tell their kids what's what and see those tears well up. But you need to be able to not manipulate but adjust the mindset of your kids through these guidelines.

You don't want to crush bad habits but develop and incentivize good habits.

5. Not Offering Space

As your kids get older, they need more space from you. This is an important part of growing up.

At some point, you have to stop telling them what to do and you have to stop doing important things for them.

You can't do their homework. You can't write their college entrance essay.

At some point, you need to look at your kids and say, "figure it out. I'll help if you need me too." But even then, make sure that you're not doing anything of the figuring out for them.

Be ready to let your "baby" go when they know they need to figure things out on their own.

Parents who deeply love their kids find it hard to let go the part of their life where mommy and daddy are crucial for every little thing.

But to impose yourself long after that kind of parenting is needed is wrong.

6. Serving Your Kids

You should have a strong sense by now that the right form of parenting is somewhere in the middle of both extremes.

You don't want to throw your kids to the wolves but you also don't want to serve them. When your kids are old enough to learn to cook, teach them to cook.

When your kids are old enough to do laundry, have them do laundry. When your kids are old enough to drive, for God's sake, teach them to drive.

It is important that you don't pamper and serve your kids forever. They need to learn vital skills to maintain themselves as adults.

One of the things I find myself bemoaning the most is how much skill has been lost between my grandparents and me.

There are a lot of skills they had that I just didn't have instilled in me. It's important to give your kids the knowledge that you were given, and pampering them won't teach them anything good.

7. Threatening and Intimidating Your Kids

It's frustrating dealing with the little things with your kids.

They often become afraid and unsure at things that are simple and second nature for you.

They don't always succeed at self control which can be endlessly difficult for a parent simple trying to parent the right way. But what you absolutely can't do is level threats.

"If you don't _____ then _____." "If you ever ____, this is what's going to happen to you."

Under this kind of authority, you've completely destroyed your child's confidence in you.

They won't feel like they can come to you for help because a threat has been leveled.

How can you really talk to a person candidly and honestly about something you're going through if you feel like the result is going to be a punishment of some kind?

8. Helicoptering

The millennial generation will tell horror stories of helicopter parenting.

Check out any reddit thread about helicopter parents and you'll see the carnage they leave behind in the form of adults who don't know up from down and left from right.

When you have a baby, you have to do everything for it. You have to do everything in your power to care for it and make sure it survives.

But you have to let some of that go as time goes by.

You have to honor their mistakes and appreciate their successes and let them grow into independent people.

If you don't, you've raised an adult who doesn't have the skills necessary to succeed on their own.

9. Not Listening

I'll let you in on a secret: kids aren't stupid.

They can read sarcasm and tell when you're condescending and not listening to them because you think they're just some dumb kid.

Parents: you need to listen to your kids. It's hard to find value in the babble they sometimes send off into the world through their faces but it doesn't matter.

When you listen to your kids, and I mean really listen, it tells them that they're unique individuals who have something to offer this world that we're living in.

True, a 4 year old probably won't ever have something particularly compelling to say to you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't show them that what they say is important, because it actually is.

Stuff that seems mundane to you might be absolutely mind blowing to them.

If a child tells you that she saw a brown dog that day, hear what they're saying. That may be a first for them.

They want to talk about the incredible experiences they have the same way you do. Listen to your kids.

10. Being A Lazy Parent

For some parents, kids come into the picture and it's so overwhelming that they just kind of hit cruise control and zone out.

Lots of frozen TV dinners and movies in the car.

It's easy to park a kid in front of the TV for 6 hours and then just sit around and be lazy, but being a parent takes work.

It's the hardest job you can possible have. But you have to actually teach your children things. You have to spend time with them, cook with them, and instill all these healthy habits.

It's hard to get your kid to eat well, but you have to. It's hard to get your kid to brush their teeth and floss, but you have to.

It's hard to teach your kid to manage their own homework, to drive a car, to get a job, but all of these things are so fundamentally important that skipping just one can cripple your child for life.

Don't be a lazy parent.

11. Being Friends With Your Child

Not long ago, I was reading about how many kids entering college, when asked about their relationship with their parents, they said their parents were their "best friends."

This is not the kind of relationship that any child should have with their parents until much, much later in life.

A 17-19 year old fledgling of the house should not see their parents as friends but as parents.

You are your child's world to give them guidance, structure, and rules. When our kids, in their volatile teen years, lash out at you for your rigidity, it is not a sign to let up.

It's also not a sign to clamp down. It is a sign you're doing the right thing. You're teaching them, and sometimes these lessons are hard to learn. Your kids should not view you as a friend, but as a parent.

Are you still searching for your life purpose? You won't believe what the science of Numerology can reveal about you!

That's right, the numerology of your birth date, regardless of what month you were born, can reveal surprising information about your personality.

Unlock the messages hidden in your Personality Code now with your free personalized video report!

Click HERE to learn what Numerology says about your life using only your Name and Birth Date.

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Man Buys Stranger's Groceries When Overhearing Her Tell Her Daughter They Can't Afford To Eat That Night

Kindness is within us all

A man has recently been getting attention online for his inspiring act. One night, while he was minding his own business, he was confronted with a family in need. He had two options. He could have done the same thing everyone else did in the store and let them figure it out for themselves, or he could be their hero that day and help them out within his means.

The thing is, the man didn't have much money himself, and he was working two jobs to support himself and his kid. Here's how he decided on what to do.

Meet Bear, A Man Who Works Double Shifts To Live

Bear's shirtless selfie covered in tattoos and smirking

therealbearjr / Instagram

It was a day like most for Bear, as he had just pulled two fourteen-hour shifts in a row and needed some food, but had no energy left to make it. He writes this on a post on Facebook and explains that this actually didn't turn out to be like most days: I stopped by the grocery store to grab food for dinner and as I was checking out a woman started crying in the next checkout line."

Bear listened in on the conversation between a mother and her daughter, and it was heartbreaking.

The Little Girl Asked Her Mom Why She Was Crying

woman walks with basket in grocery store with empty aisle

Martijin Boudain / Unsplash

At first, it's easy to assume the mom is just having a bad day, maybe she got into a fight with her husband or is tired from looking after her kid. As he listened in, ge overheard the girl ask her mom what was wrong, as she continued to stand crying in the lane right next to hers.

"Her daughter asked her what's wrong and she all she could say was, 'we can't afford to eat tonight.''" These are the words that no parent wants to imagine ever needing to say to their child, who depends on them just to live. Yet, it is the unfortunate case for many.

Food Insecurity Is A Real Problem

food items stacked up

Nico Smit / Unsplash

Food insecurity is a problem for many families across the country. This problem has gotten even worse with the pandemic as many families who relied on their small businesses had to shut down and couldn't make do anymore.

Even then, this problem existed before the pandemic and still continues today. In fact, the U.S Department of Agriculture reports that 10.5 percent (13.8 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2020 and this number is unchanged from 2019.

This Time It Would Be Different

Bear and son take selfie in the city with red masks on

therealbearjr / Instagram

For a lot of food-insecure families, they simply would have had to walk out of that grocery store empty-handed, with a kid possibly going to bed hungry that night. For this mom, kindness was in the cards, At first, another person who also overheard her gave them a few dollars towards their groceries.

But Bear knew she needed more than that. He walked over to the mom and her daughter and told them he would pay for their food and to get whatever they want. He writes on Facebook: "A person behind her gave her a couple of dollars and she bought her daughter a Kids Cuisine TV dinner. I told her to grab what she wants, I'll pay for it."

All In Divine Timing

walart staff stands in front of entrance with "thank you" sign

walmartcanada / Instagram

Was Bear's presence in that mothert's life at that time and place just a coincidence? Bear doesn't think so. He explains that he never actually shops at that store but for whatever reason, he felt inclined to do so that night. He think the reason for it comes down to divine timing…

"I NEVER stop at this Walmart. I'm simply saying GOD puts you where he needs you to be WHEN he needs you to be there"

People Find Bear Inspiring

Bear and son pose for picture while sitting on green chair

therealbearjr / Instagram

Bear's Facebook post has gotten a lot of attention as many who read it are inspired by his selfless act. For all he knows, he could have saved that family that night.

"That's my little Brother doing what moms told us to do when women and children are in need, we help them out with whatever they need. GOD put you in the right place last night. Thanks for helping a woman and her children with the food they need to eat so they don't go hungry. God's got you," a person commented.

Whether it was a divine intervention or simply the actions of a kind man, it brought good into the world and we only hope things like this continue to happen to make it a better place.

Are You Still Searching For Your Life Purpose?

The numerology of your birth date, regardless of what month you were born, can reveal surprising information about your personality.

Unlock the messages hidden in your Personality Code now with your free personalized video report!

Click HERE to learn what Numerology says about your life using only your Name and Birth Date.