Toxic Parents, Traumatized Children

Jennifer Hernandez, Staff Reporter


Many parents feel as if their kids owe them for the tasks that come with having a child. But they shouldn’t have that sense of entitlement over their kids just because they chose to take on that responsibility.


Toxic parenting is a controversial topic and many may argue that there is no reason to not owe your parents your entire life and respect. Though “They gave you life,“”They put a roof over your head” and “it’s what’s best for them“ may seem like reasonable arguments they aren’t because those are the responsibilities that come with having a child. 


Understandably, children can be bratty and need some form of discipline. There are plenty of ways to discipline a kid but to sit there and vent to them about how much was given up for them won’t teach them gratitude. It will only lead them to grow into dysfunctional adults.


Childhood trauma plays an important role leading into adulthood. According to the SAMHSA 1 in 7 kids have experienced child abuse. It exposes them to toxic stress and leads to negative results such as risky behavior and harmful diseases. 


Some forms of parenting can be harmful to the development of a child and many parents are unaware of it causing them to feel unappreciated and give a negative reaction. Sometimes that negative reaction comes out as a form of mistreatment such as neglect, passive aggressiveness, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and controllingness. 


Some of the long-term effects of abuse can lead to:

-having a hard time setting boundaries

-having a higher chance of developing depression and/or anxiety

-having a hard time being yourself 


-allowing poor treatment from others

-fear of betrayal and abandonment

-expecting the worst in others and always thinking of yourself poorly


All kids show signs of trauma differently.


Toddlers tend to show it by:

-screaming and crying

-showing fear toward their abusers

-having nightmares

-having low to zero appetites and losing weight 


Kids tend to show it by:

-feeling guilt and/or shame

-unavailable to sleep

-feeling anxious

-showing fear

-have a hard time concentrating


Teens tend to show it by:

-isolating themselves

-feeling depressed


-participating in risky sexual behavior

-not eating


The first step into helping understand children would be to acknowledge how certain aspects of parenting are wrong and are a lot more harmful than helpful. The second step would be to watch a kid’s behavior and recognize the signs of traumatic stress and help reassure them that they are safe.

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