Bad parenting trait #1: You talk at your child instead of with them
Communication between parent and child can be a tricky thing, especially as children become older and have opinions of their own. These traits may have come from advice from your parents, while others you may have picked up on your own. Barbara Greenberg, PhD, a clinical psychologist known for her national television appearances focusing on the mental health of adolescents and teens, says communicating in the right way is key for parents. “Toxic parents are known for not listening to their kids, but instead, talking over them or at them,” she says. “If parents recognize themselves doing this they should make a concerted effort to remain silent and listen, listen, and listen some more. If kids feel listened to they will talk more and confide more. You could also try these 50 tiny (but powerful) ways to encourage your child every day!
Bad parenting trait #2: You get lost in negative thoughts
Parents can have the tendency to get lost in their own thoughts, and for toxic parents, this behavior can lead to a negative response in their children. Jeffrey Bernstein, PhD, an internationally recognized child psychology expert and author of 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child, says that a parent’s thoughts are often at the root of negative behavior in children. He explains, “No kid is perfect, but parents often don’t realize just how much their own thoughts, rather than their children’s behavior, contribute to their own emotions.” Parents that catch themselves in a cycle of negative thinking should take a step back and rephrase their negative thoughts into more positive ones. For example, rephrasing the thought “He’s being such a brat today,” into “He’s having a hard time today, I wonder what’s going on,” can have a big impact on your interaction with your child.