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Toxic parents: 15 characteristics that children detest

Toxic parents: 15 characteristics that children detest

May 6, 2021

The vast majority of parents genuinely try to give everything for their children and do everything they can to meet their needs, but even parents with better intentions make mistakes and carry out behaviors that are not very beneficial for the development and well-being of their descendants.

The toxic behavior of parents

Unfortunately, some parents go beyond simple mistakes and perform toxic behaviors that seriously harm their child's growth and emotional health, because the figure of a parent can mark the future of their child and is, along with the mother, the most important educational agent for this one. Are there toxic parents? And, more important: what effects can their behaviors and bad educational styles have on the fragile psyches of their children?


But also: What are the harmful behaviors of parents towards their children? What are the toxic behaviors of the parents? Below you can find the 15 most common characteristics of toxic parents.

  • Related article: "Toxic families: 4 ways in which they cause mental disorders"

1. Too demanding

There are some parents who are too demanding with their own children and who do not tolerate their failures . These critical parents are too perfectionists and expect their children to do everything right, and they think that the way to do it is to remind them of their mistakes over and over again.

This type of behavior can cause serious problems for their descendants in the future and, sometimes, a psychological and emotional damage that can accompany the rest of their lives. One of the causes of this behavior can be the low self-esteem of the father, a tremendous feeling of inferiority and even a perfectionist personality.


  • Recommended article: "Perfectionist personality: the disadvantages of perfectionism"

2. Manipulators

Although many parents have exemplary behavior with their children, there are others who, consciously or unconsciously, have a manipulative attitude and who deeply harm their children , because, sometimes, they can not escape from them. They are parents who, in addition, usually have this type of behavior with other individuals and, therefore, their own children suffer their toxic behaviors as well.

The manipulators are experts in detecting the weaknesses of others to take them to their own land stealthily. In addition, they tend not to stop until they reach their goal, they are insatiable and usually have a great need for control.

  • Do you want to delve into this topic? You can read our article: "Manipulators have these 5 traits in common"

3. Authoritarian, little tolerant and intransigent

Authoritarian parents are those who force their children to behave in a certain way without taking into account their needs and emotions, they are intolerant and inflexible and make them feel bad, even being aggressive when their children do not act as they wish. This includes taking things out of context and acting disproportionately on many occasions.


They are parents who show scant communication with their children and try to raise obedient children, but also very dependent. Being not very affectionate, their children usually end up being little happy or spontaneous.

  • Recommended article: "The 12 types of authority (in the family and in society)"

4. Physical and verbal abusers

As much as some of us find it hard to believe that there are parents who mistreat their children, these exist . Some of these use physical violence at specific times and others more often. Some of them use verbal violence: speaking in bad ways and giving insults. Abusive parents create serious problems in the self-esteem of their children and cause damage that can be difficult to erase from memory.

  • Related article: "The 30 signs of psychological abuse in a relationship"

5. Too many critics

There are demanding parents as we have said, but, in addition, it is also possible to find parents who are too critical . They are parents who rarely praise their children and are not usually aware that they do not know that with their continuous reproaches they end up reinforcing the bad behavior they intend to correct. Criticism leads to judging, censuring and condemning, and this causes the children to become defensive and respond with hostility and distrust.

6. Not very affectionate

Children need to feel the love of their parents, especially when they feel alone. The affection of the home can help to pass the bad times and creates emotional bonds that the child then learns. Family models that are not based on affection and trust can cause problems in the interpersonal relationships of children in the future.

  • Maybe you're interested: "The Theory of Attachment and the bond between parents and children"

7. Little communicative

Communication is basic in interpersonal relationships, because it can avoid many conflicts. But in the case of the father-child relationship it is especially necessary because it can help the child feel loved and it is necessary for their correct education. Uncommunicative parents avoid having conversations with their children and do not take into account their needs. In fact, parents should take into account not only what they say, when they say it and how they say it, but they should be experts in actively listening to their children.

  • To learn more about active listening, click here.

8. Blame your children for their own failures or frustrations

Some parents are not comfortable with their own lives, for example, because they feel unsuccessful in their work. As a result, their self-esteem may be low and they may be quite irritable and not very patient. These parents, in addition, they can make the mistake of projecting their failures on the people around them , especially to those close to you, like your own children.

9. Project your fantasies or dreams on your children

While some may blame their children for their failures, others can project their failed dreams or unfulfilled expectations in the smallest . In other words, they want their children to live the life they could not live. For example, forcing them to dance when children do not enjoy this practice.

10. Excessively protective

The vast majority of parents want their children to be well and care about them. But some parents convert this behavior into totally toxic behavior . For example, not letting them go out with their friends to ride a bicycle for fear of having an accident. This causes their children to become insecure and not develop their own autonomy, and, in addition, they do not let them enjoy their life.

11. They do not accept their friendships

Toxic parents do not accept their children's friendships because they have expectations of who should mix or not mix. Either because they do not have a career, because they have tattoos or because they are not as they want them to be. Parents have to let their children live their lives.

  • Related article: "The 10 types of friends: how are yours?"

12. They plan their professional career

The concern of parents because their children have the life they want can make your children end up choosing their professional career according to the likes of their parents . For example, some children can stand out as artists and can be happy developing their passion, but, instead, they end up studying medicine and dedicating themselves to something that does not make them fully happy. Each one must live life according to their own dreams and expectations, not reproduce that of their parents.

13. They are selfish

We have all met very selfish people during our life, but more complicated is the situation when this type of habits and egocentric attitudes are manifested in parents . Selfish parents only think about themselves and cause much suffering in children who may not feel loved.

  • Selfish people, like self-centered parents, share some characteristics. You can know them in this article: "Selfish people share these 6 traits"

14. They are a bad model

Parents are examples for children and are the most important models for their lives, because they reflect and often inherit certain habits, customs and even behaviors. When parents do not set an example and are a bad model, children run the risk of learning harmful behaviors . That without taking into account the emotional damage they can do, for example, if they are alcoholics.

15. They do not teach them healthy habits

The children are reflected in the parents, but especially important to know that parents educate their children when adopting healthy habits . Parents who do not have a healthy lifestyle send an erroneous message to their children, and that can have an effect on their future health.

Not only that, but also, when children are very small, they are beings at the mercy of their parents. If these feed them badly, the children can suffer the negative consequences of this behavior. For example, suffering from overweight due to the bad eating habits of the family and a sedentary lifestyle.

How to avoid a parental style harmful to children?

There is not yet a definitive parental guide, since each family has its own circumstances, limitations and ways of acting. What should be taken into account is what educational style we want to promote, and have a certain coherence when transmitting a parenting style or another.

If the parents agree on the majority of boundaries and attitudes that they should promote towards their children, and perform the accompaniment of the child in an affectionate and close way, conflicts are much more likely to appear, and when they do of less intensity.


10 Traits of Toxic Parents Who Ruin Their Children’s Lives (May 2021).


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