I read a Facebook post this morning that really captivated me. It was a question; “What is a toxic parenting style that you are leaving with your parents??”
Goodness, this question and the responses evoked so many emotions within me. I felt understood and not alone. Reading the responses made me feel that my emotions were completely normal and that I hadn’t been overly sensitive my entire life.
For the record, I don’t think that most parents create toxic environments for their children intentionally. So many emotionally damaged people, many in broken relationships, have children who are thrusted into the flames of emotional (and often mental) instability. What’s worse is that these people are usually unwilling to admit that they’re hurting and in turn, they’re blinded to how their actions affect their kids.
One woman commented saying, “For me I can’t comment – being a parent made me realise how hard it is to keep yourself together (body, bills, social) and also look after other tiny humans.” I loved this comment and related to it as much as those that described the toxic habits. I seriously don’t mean to make people sound like horrible parents. I recognize that one may be a very loving parent while unintentionally inflicting a great amount emotional distress on their child. In some cases, people are only doing what they think is right for the child.
I think that when I become a parent, I will try my best to be realistic, emotionally available, and firm. More than anything, I want to be a role-model I pray that if my child becomes traumatized from anything that I do, that I (or one of the care-giving adults in their life) notices quickly and provides the support they need to move forward in their life. My fear is that my child is unable to live happily, receive/give love, or accept their self… the way that I felt for many years of my life and am still working on getting past. More than anything, I want to be someone who comforts my child, even if it means I’m sometimes “too soft” on them. I’d rather he/she feel that they can come to me when they’re distressed, than to be distressed because I created the distressing environment (i.e. being extremely critical to prepare my children for how critical the world will be vs. not being very critical, but always been supportive and available for my child when they’re hurt by outside criticism.)
These were my top 5 comments that I related to:
- “Project issues with my weight on them while simultaneously enabling unhealthy lifestyle habits”
- “I will be a hugger, kisser and say I LOVE YOU until I annoy the hell out of them!! I will speak LIFE into where thy know thy can conquer anything, but stay remain a humble servant to help others in need without self entitlement”
- ” I won’t compare my child to others. I won’t get downplay her stress/problems.“
- “Beating my kid”
- “I will never shame them for the music they listen to or the lifestyle they choose to live. I will never use the term “I will beat the black off your butt”. I will never bring them to church to “learn love and compassion” and go home to beat them for not being what you wanted.”
Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future as a parent. Of course I don’t want to rush into parenthood, but I’ve been considering some ways that I can fill a “parental” type of roll for a child in need. Perhaps not as a guardian, but maybe like a mentor, or a sponsor to a child with great financial need. My burning desire to provide for and emotionally support a child conflicts so much with my desire to earn as much money as possible and selfishly dedicate every penny to myself. And I don’t mean “selfish” in a bad way hehe. Fancy trips, glamorous mani/pedi’s, and expensive, glittery makeup…
Anyway, posts like this one make me happy that I use social media. I got some food for thought and an emotional release.