Parenting Child Psychology and Behaviour

Toxic parenting: It’s Never Too Late to Fix it

Shikha Batra
3 to 7 years

Created by Shikha Batra
Updated on Mar 02, 2021

Toxic parenting Its Never Too Late to Fix it

Who does not have the desire and the hope to raise children who are well rounded, kind and successful people? 

These children are raised by parents who encourage healthy behaviors, are not mean or spiteful, discipline their children effectively, support them and love them unconditionally.

But there are other parents who become downright toxic by being abusive, neglectful and narcissist towards their own children. Their behavior negatively shapes their child's life and can sometimes make it miserable.  


Here are some of the examples of toxic parenting-

"Did you tell everyone you flunked twice in your math paper?" snapped a mother at her 11 year old girl in front of a group of ladies who were attending the kitty party at their house as soon as she made entry into the house after attending school.

The toxicity in this example is not just disheartening for the child but demeaning too.

"Don't butt in until asked, you will do as we decide" dictated a mother to her 7 year old son while he suggested his idea on how to spend the comimg weekend.

Shutting down your child's enthusiasm by making them hold back their thoughts and ideas is an example of toxic parenting.

"Dia even a snail can be faster than you" quipped a father on his 5 year old daughter while she was getting ready for school.

This remark of sarcasm by the parent could be far more hurtful than helpful for the child. The child might get disturbed with those snarky one-liners and become hostile if made often.

Some of the traits of toxic parents are:

  • They can be controlling as well as critical. 

  • They have self-centered behaviors and are more concerned with their own needs. They do not even admit what they are doing is wrong and could be harmful or damaging for the child. 

  • They might control their child by using guilt or shame to play with their emotions and in doing so they might even use money, time or other items as pawns by withholding them.

  • They lack boundaries and tend to push to get their way until they succeed. As a result the child might just give in to their will out of exhaustion or frustration.

  • They make it so difficult for the child to emotionally separate themselves from them so that they can make their own decisions or set their own goals. These children often question themselves about their decisions, never feel good enough, and feel burdened with guilt when they go against their parent's wishes.

  • They dismiss or downplay their child's feelings as they feel threatened by their child's emotional needs. These parents make their child realize that they are ultra sensitive and should not feel the way they do. This continuous dismissal of the child's feelings by their parents might make them learn not to display or communicate what they really feel.

  • These parents shy away from communicating affirmation. They feel vulnerable due to their own insecurities and so hold back themselves from expressing words of affirmation. Instead, they hide behind words of harsh criticism to feel emotionally safe.

  • These parents do a role reversal and make their child grow faster by depending on them for emotional support. They take the child as their emotional caretaker or their therapist who is responsible for meeting their parent's needs. These children as an adult might feel responsible for fulfilling everyone's needs.

  • These parents resort to manipulative tactics to push their way and get their needs met by their children. They do so by playing the victim card and making overly dramatic displays such as by crying out loud. They even do things to make their child feel guilty or responsible for their dismal plight.

  • These parents behave as helicopter parents who take excessive interest in their child's life and constantly supervise and control every aspect of their child's life.

  • They project themselves as infallible and on being corrected they feel angry and critical towards others.

  • They do not respect their child's personal space and snoop on them by going through their personal things such as a diary without their permission. They consider their child's friends as their friend too.

  • They put the responsibility of keeping the family secrets on their child's shoulders. Due to the pressure of not letting the cat out of the bag the child lives under constant fear of not revealing those and betraying their family if they by mistake happen to do so.

  • The abuse or neglect they inflict on their child could be continuous as well as progressive. It's not necessarily obvious in the form of hitting, yelling or threats but could be more subtle like silent treatment, name-calling or making the child feel guilty or undeserving.


Toxic parenting can have damaging as well as long lasting effects. It can be so harmful that it can even damage a child's sense of self. Repeated criticism, negative tone, constant hovering over their child's life, personal digs, narcissist and poisonous behavior of toxic parents can not only make their child's life unpleasant but can even affect their life as an adult as well.


It's the responsibility of parents to make their child feel safe and secure. If they at any point of time in their life realize that they have some or most of the traits of doing toxic parenting, they need not get disheartened. It's never too late to correct ourselves, make ourselves a better parent for our children and start parenting effectively. The mantra is to start as soon as you realize.




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| Mar 03, 2021

Toxic parenting can be Devasting

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| Mar 03, 2021

So true Pretty Thomas !

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