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5 Signs You’re a Toxic Parent

Raising an extreme child may push you to the brink — but even teetering there, it’s essential that you model positive and appropriate behavior. Here are solutions for doing better.

Parenting is a hard gig, and it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. When you’re raising an extreme child, it becomes even more difficult to navigate.

But that’s no excuse for crossing the line into toxic parent territory. If you’re feeling pushed to your limit, watch this video and learn five ways to reset your parenting patterns.

Are You a Toxic Parent?

Raising an extreme child may push you to the brink — but even teetering there, it’s essential that you model positive and appropriate behavior.

Here are 5 signs that you are crossing into emotionally toxic territory — and solutions for doing better.

1. Your child fills the role of an adult.

For example: You ask your tween to babysit your kindergartener after school every day.

What to do: Probe your own childhood for the root of your patterns.

Then, choose to make a small but important change, like finding an affordable after-school program.

2. You make your kids feel guilty.

For example: You’re feeling lonely. So when your teen asks to go out, you say you’ll be sitting home all alone until he gets home.

What to do: Own it, and apologize. Your child is not your therapist or your best friend.

3. You mock them in public.

For example: When your son has a public tantrum, you mockingly reply, “I’m so mad! I’m so mad! Does that really help, Tommy?”

What to do: Enlist a family member to “tag in” during these breaking points so you can find a quiet place to recover.

4. You ask your child to keep secrets.

For example: After an expensive shopping spree, you ask your child to keep it from her dad.

What to do: Again, your child is not your friend and secrets are never OK. So apologize and tell her it wasn’t right for you to ask her to hide something.

5. You don’t maintain age-appropriate boundaries.

For example: You let your 12 year old stay up all night playing computer games.

What to do: Acknowledge your mistake. Then consult friends, your pediatrician, and online experts to learn how to put restrictions in place. It’s never too late to make a change.

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