Why do children exhibit toxic behavior?
A 2019 study found out that toxic children who become stubborn and indulge in risky behavior, often do so as a result of the relationship with their parents. They start exhibiting behavior as a direct result of their parenting. Most often, these children have been pampered and spoiled by their parents. They have no self-limits and the parents in turn remain helpless and cannot control or admonish their child. Other reasons can be due to the parents being too strict on the child or engaging in toxic parenting which can directly lead to the child becoming toxic. Some of the reasons why children become toxic are:
1. Style of parenting
Although how harsh it might sound, your parenting style has a lot to do with the way your child develops his/her attitudes, beliefs, and personality. Your personal characteristics, your choices, and your decisions for your child might have created hardships for them without you intending it. Thus, the anger towards you might be due to previous hurt or emotional injuries.
2. Mental health
Children who have been diagnosed with mental health conditions can become toxic. This is because certain mental health issues affect the way we think, communicate and perceive others. In this situation, the parents usually face extreme stress on ensuring the well-being of their child.
3. Substance abuse
If you or your child indulge in substance abuse of any form, it can have a profound and lasting impact on your relationship. Substances can ramp up our emotions, impair our communication abilities and increase our tendency to blame others.
4. External influences
It can be possible that your child’s behavior is being influenced by some other person in their life, maybe a friend, classmate or even close family member. It can be possible that these external characters might have influenced your child to see you in a negative light.
5. History of abuse
If you or your spouse spoke to each other in an insulting or abusive way, it can be possible that your child picked up those behavior traits from there. A 2017 study found out that children who were exposed to abuse were more likely to replicate those behaviors with others in their life.
How to deal with a toxic child
It can be overwhelming, to say the least for parents, when dealing with toxic children. You have invested precious amounts of time into your child and are constantly motivated by love to do more and care for them throughout your lives. Thus, in these situations, it is important for you to not lose control. The first and foremost step would be to identify a toxic child. Most parents do want to easily agree that they are dealing with a toxic child and often brush off this behavior as being age-appropriate in front of others. However, once you have recognized the toxic traits in your child, you can consider trying the following tips.
1. Learn to set boundaries for your child
In order to allow your child to recognize the rules present, you must learn to set healthy boundaries for them. One way to do this would be by setting limits, and rewarding them whenever they meet your expectations. However, you must take care not to reward them too often as this can lead to bribe-induced behavior, where the child will only obey you in return for the reward. They have to learn that being good does not necessarily need external motivation and there is joy in the action of self-control itself.