Have you heard of “Toxic Parenting?”
The phrase was conceived to label those parents who behave in such a negative manner with their children, that they heavily inflict emotional damage on their children, harming their self-esteem.
Since there’s virtually no training for new parents on how to best interact with children in a way to nurture them physically, mentally and emotionally, we tend to fall on the practices of previous generations and continue the cycle forward onto our children (for good or bad).
Parents are highly rewarded in Islam – both mothers and fathers hold the keys to paradise for their children in terms of the respect, love, and care shown to them in their old age. And rightly so. But with such a high reward, also comes great responsibility. Parenting WELL guarantees us success; unleashing your frustrations and anger onto your children in an unhealthy way does not. If at all possible avoid using these phrases with your children and look for positive ways to relate with them instead:
1️⃣ “STOP CRYING NOW!”
We all have the right to express how we feel, and children particularly need to feel safe and comforted when they feel so sad or frustrated or even angry, that they can’t find the words to express themselves. Gradually teach them how to verbalize their feelings so they feel comfortable to express themselves to you in a safe environment.
2️⃣ “I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU!”
Just as we ask Allah swt to guide us to the right path, multiple times a day in our prayers, our job is to guide our children to the right path when they make a mistake. Chances are they already feel pretty bad about themselves when they mess up – telling them that they are disappointing us only adds salt to their wounds and can severely harm their self-esteem.
3️⃣ “YOU ARE USELESS!”
Don’t limit your children by telling them that they are not enough. If you feel that they are unprepared in certain situations, then remedy that by teaching them what to do. Always separate your child from their behavior, and if you do see that they are lacking certain skills then ask them if they need help. Don’t label them in this way – it seeps into their mindset and can be near impossible to remove.
4️⃣ “DON’T BE SUCH A BABY!”
If you sense that your child is afraid of something, try to find out why that is the case. Make an effort to understand what is going through their mind so you can help them face their fears. Using such statements can make them dismiss their gut instinct. Fear is not always a bad thing – it makes us careful, and when addressed we can learn from it. Instead, make your children understand that true bravery is learning how to face your fears even if you are terrified.
5️⃣ “YOU ARE NOT CAPABLE!”
This is possibly the worst thing you can say to a child. Making such a broad judgment and labeling your child as incapable affects every part of their life, and stays with them as they grow. They will respond either by being defiant and doing what they can to prove you wrong or by shrinking away from life thinking they are not worthy. Whichever path they go down, be sure that they will spend the rest of their lives seeking your approval. This is quite a burden to bear, and if they don’t manage to get your approval, don’t be surprised if they seek it from the outside world. Avoid this heartache by telling your children that you believe in them and help them find their own special qualities that make the world a better place.
✅ Read the full article on the effects of Toxic parenting in the latest issue of Halal Parenting Magazine, available now. Learn what steps you can take today towards parenting your children positively and transforming your home, insh’Allah. Click here to subscribe for one year or purchase the latest issue.