In Pakistani or eastern culture we put parents and parenting on such high pedestal that we never dare to critically analyze or question their role. Parents are bestowed with almost prophetic status ,and you would very commonly hear people say, well parents always want best for their kids, but hardly it is discussed that perhaps they want best for kids but don’t do or are not able to do the best. Sometimes because they have error of judgement or lack of ability to act as effective parents and their incompetency in parenting marks daunting scars on a child’s personality for life mentally and emotionally.
We make our kids believe even if things go wrong as result of parents’ decision that at least they wanted things in your best interest. This approach is not correct, parents should be taken as human beings who possess both good and bad qualities and many real life examples show that the bad traits of parents may get expressed towards their children.
Tiger parenting is a common term used for eastern parents that means to raise your kids with iron hands despite giving them maximum facilities. This eastern approach of parents to set already envisioned paths for their kids, to set ready made goals, to be achieved has caused many parents to be toxic towards their children some knowingly and others unknowingly.
Toxic parenting not only effects kids’ decision in life but it effects their emotional and mental well being for life, it is so vital for Pakistani young adults and teenagers to know if their parents are the ones who are practicing toxic parenting style and they need to tackle it properly so that they can explore their maximum potential. Here are some of the signs that all typical toxic parents reflect in their behavior.
1. Remind you of what they have done for you
Parents bring the children in this world and mostly with each others’ consent, therefore they are the ones who are directly responsible for raising their own children. Not to sound ungrateful, but depending on resources, it is each parent’s duty to do the best for their kids.
Toxic parents always remind their kids even of the tiniest effort they make for their kids, like the good schooling or enough food they provide, though actually it is their responsibility to do so. Many Pakistani parents keep lecturing their kids of how miserable life they lived when they were young and how ungrateful their kids are, what such parents don’t mention is that most of people of their class at their time went through almost the same struggles and secondly your kids are not responsible for what happened in your past, thirdly you are not in competition with your kids in terms of resources or life conditions to make them feel why they are not surpassing you in wealth or success.
2. Make you feel guilty of existing
Most toxic parents make their kids feel the guilt of being the reason of their problems or misfortunes. They would tell them how good their life was before they had children or how much they could have achieved if the kids just did not happen. A lot of women I have met tell their kids, I spent miserable life with my husband or in laws just because of you, if you were not here I could have left easily. Though if they actually had courage they could have chosen a difficult but self respecting path of leaving along with kids, it is just that they lacked courage or had insecurities.
3. They don’t want you to grow up
A key factor of good parenting is that you should always be mentally prepared that there will be a time when your kids will have their own thoughts and opinions.
There is a saying of prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W) which means something like this
give love to your children but not your thoughts because they have their own thoughts but toxic parents are insecure and selfish they always want control over things and over people related or dependent upon them.
They would either out rightly reject your opinions or more commonly make sarcastic fun of your ideas to make you doubt in your own critical thinking.
4.Take credit of your achievements
Bullying is a behavior that unconsciously arise from a low self worth but consciously such a person doesn’t want to accept it, so what bullies do is they hurt or taunt others of the same things they feel lack of inside them.
Bully parents as they have low self esteem for themselves they feel the same for their kids and their ego does not accept if their kids prove them wrong by the achieving beyond their expectations, so they quench their ego by taking credit of what their kids achieve to make their kids feel that the parents are equal an partner in a victory that the kids achieve and without them it is impossible for their children to do anything in life.
5.blames you of failure
Toxic parents have lack of strength of character, they are not brave enough to bear responsibility of their mistakes or apologize and accept their wrong doings, they would always put their failures over someone else’s shoulder and if no one else than they would put blame on their kids, take a simple example like if they break something they wouldn’t say they caused breaking of the thing they would say their child put it at the wrong place that made them to mistakenly push it and break it.
6-belittle you of your feelings and emotions
Toxic parents are narcissistic as well and deep down insecure too, so for them they can’t accept that one can have valid feelings or the kids who are younger and less experienced can surpass in emotional stability so they create this pattern of continuously telling their children how stupid they are in their thoughts or how invaluable their emotions are. Even to invalidate their kids’ ideas and emotions they rely on constant comparison like how well behaved or brilliant their cousin or friend is against them. They never want you to feel that you are enough for yourself or for them.
how to deal with toxic parents
1-stop pleasing them
As a child your biggest mentor or idol is your parents and if you feel un-loved, you don’t pull away rather you start blaming yourself and you make insane efforts to please them like always trying to get good grades , behaving the way they want, just to get that little nod of acceptance and appreciation but hardly you will get that or even if you do, it will always be at the cost of a lot of further demands like many obedient yesses or compromising on your whims so this circle of toxic parents to manipulate their kids never ends, so once you establish they are mean stop putting efforts to please them and do your thing with faith in yourself
2-stop making efforts to change them
many children, though wisely, take it from a logical perspective that perhaps their parents and them have an age gap that’s why they are facing such issues so they try to educate their parents of modern ways of tolerance & acceptance, if you see a pattern of toxicity in you parents make yourself understand they don’t want to change, they enjoy dictatorial style & manipulation, if they were understanding enough they would disagree but accept you and your ways considering you a whole human being, but toxic parents don’t accept that they need any improvement they would tire and fatigue you into making them understand where you are coming from
3- Firmly set personal boundaries
toxic parents never allow or accept personal boundaries they will always indulge in your personal time, your friends company even to the tiniest decision like the choice of clothes or music. don’t let them do that, find and gather courage to firmly voice your boundaries and make them agree to respect & follow them, like if you don’t want them to go through your mobile phone or barge into your room with out knocking let them know about it.
4- Build a life beyond them
the most important thing is that hardly toxic parents change themselves or mostly if they do they will do it very late in age when a lot of damage is done and you shouldn’t let them scar your personality and hurt you soul for that long. try building a life beyond them. don’t give up on them, they are your blood if they need something and if you have the ability to provide them do that but otherwise as soon as possible try building a life financially on your own because most toxic parents manipulate their kids for providing them financial support, also gradually train yourself to be emotionally independent on yourself and not on them because such parents have a bait of dragging their kids back into their vicious cycle by harping on self pity and how ungrateful their kids are
5- Build you own circle of people
as there are are bad people there are good people in this world as well so try looking for people who can be good friends and invest in them emotionally and in terms of moral support so that you are able to create a family like herd for yourself that you can lean on
6-Work on your self-belief and self-faith
the kids of toxic parents mostly struggle with self belief and self worth but you need to do it for yourself if need be and enough resources, visit a councilor to help you develop a sense of strong self & help you value yourself so that you can proceed in life independently.
once you become independent still you stay in contact in most situations with a bullying parent that’s how blood relationships work and perhaps our emotional needs require that as well but try achieving a balance in that like if you visit them just talk normal casual stuff don’t open too much to them, don’t share too much of your life because they will always be ready with a counter opinion and advice which will reflect how much you are in need of them and you are moving to disaster without their guidance
7-don’t reason with such parents
Toxic parents don’t come from logic, compassion or kind perspective they are with an attitude of winner and loser who always want to make you feel that you are loser even for trying to make them understand so if they run out of logic they will harp on sympathy, self pity to derail you from your course of life.
8- Exit their life if need be
last and most extreme if you have too much toxicity in your life just because of them then it is not wrong to give up on them. you have only one life and wasting it in making failed efforts to convert stone hearts into compassionate hearts can tire you endlessly to a point where gradually you might give up on yourself so if need be exit their life and never look back and create a life of your own. it won’t be easy & it won’t be painless but it would feel right, it would have less negativity and gradually you will develop your own herd of positive people around you.