It is common for many children and young people to be rebellious and feel little attachment to social norms and responsibilities . Many have an innate desire to explore on their own what the consequences of their actions are.

At early ages, many learn to fit into this society through “trial and error”. This way of living life can be considered normal, and many of these rebellious children grow up to be successful adults. This is part of their development.

Troubled and difficult children

However, there are some situations in which these difficult children cause serious problems for their parents , with problematic behaviours that seriously damage the parent-child relationship. These are the tyrannical and authoritarian children, also known as toxic children. Despite their young age, they act as if they were leaders of the household, demanding, suing and acting like true dictators.

Children’s violent attitudes are often reflected in psychological aggressions, insults and bad replies to parents. The family environment becomes a hostile context, with violent closing of doors, breaking of objects , constant fights, destructive actions, etc.

Toxic children: characteristics and consequences for parents

But… what characteristics do these minors present in their behaviour? How does their violent attitude and tyranny affect their parents? In the following lines you can find the answers to these questions.

1. Challenging attitudes

One of the great problems of toxic children is their defiant and provocative attitudes, which are characterized by aggressive behaviour towards parents and a violation of family rules and boundaries.

They always cross that line of discipline, without any form of respect. Their idea is to go against the grain, with hostile and angry reactions.

Mandatory and authoritarian

But these types of children not only respond to parents with unpleasant attitudes, they are also bossy and demanding. They have an authoritarian personality, which makes them uncompromising .

They decide what and when they eat, which TV channel they watch and, in short, do whatever they want. If they don’t achieve their goals, they scream, threaten and physically and psychologically attack their parents, and they get into a rage.

3. They are whimsical

These minors are impulsive and their desires are usually the result of the whim of the moment . They have a low tolerance to frustration and their hostile reaction may appear at any time.

Anything they want is a breeding ground for a new conflict. Maybe they want to watch TV and after ten minutes play the console. They rarely do what their parents ask them to do and they go about their business. They need to satisfy those whims on the spot or a fight is coming.

4. Show lack of empathy

They are children and young people with no social skills, and their level of empathy is underdeveloped . Empathy is the ability to put themselves in the other person’s shoes, and since they are unable to do this, they do not experience feelings such as love, guilt, forgiveness or compassion.

5. They are manipulators

In addition to being self-centered and having a low tolerance for frustration, toxic children are manipulative. They may behave this way in other environments, such as school, but there their demands are less taken into account.

On the other hand, it is in the context of the family that they really know the weaknesses of their parents, whom they constantly manipulate to achieve their goals .

6. The main victims

Although toxic children show aggressive behavior and defiant, aggressive behavior with both parents, it is more common with mothers. Fathers are less likely to be victims of these events because they are more likely to be afraid of them. Although this is not always the case, toxic children are often boys.

7 .Many times parents are the cause

Parents, as the main educational agents, are often the main culprits in this situation. Although, in some cases, genetics can lead to more conflicting personalities, education can encourage this negative behaviour to be minimized or, on the contrary, to be manifested .

Education begins at birth, and parents must learn to set limits for their children and help them develop healthy personalities. A consenting and conflicting parent can make a child toxic.

8. Recognizing the problem is essential for taking action

When a parent is in this situation, it is necessary to recognize that something is wrong, because the consequences of this war between parents and toxic children can only cause harm and suffering. When someone is aware of this situation, then it is possible to seek help. In some cases, going to a psychologist is the solution.

Dealing with a Toxic Child

Dealing with toxic children is not easy, because the family situation can become so toxic that living together becomes impossible . It is ideal that children are educated from an early age so that they learn to be emotionally healthy and respectful adults.

If parents don’t set limits and rules from the time their children are born, then it’s very difficult to change their behavior at a later age.

However, parents can always carry out a series of attitudes and strategies that minimize the impact of this toxic and disobedient behavior in order to find family peace. They are the following:

  • Set clear rules and consistent limits : Rules are useful if they are well established, so they should be clear and consistent. Parents should not question them in front of their children.
  • Making time for communication : Any interpersonal relationship can be improved with dialogue and proper communication. In this way, each of the parties exposes their emotions and needs and agreements are reached. It is good for parents to be clear and set examples to their children about how they behave and what the consequences of their actions are.
  • Focus on the positive : A positive attitude towards the relationship can also help to minimize the impact. Conflicts get worse when one of the parties is on the defensive.
  • Avoiding prizes : Rules should be followed without giving prizes, which is considered an extrinsic motivation. This is why intrinsic motivation should be encouraged, that is to say, working on the children’s values so that they understand how they should behave.
  • Accepting that some things cannot be changed : Many times adults treat children as adults, thinking they have the same level of reasoning. Children are explorers and you have to understand that it is often their curiosity that makes them behave this way, that is, they do not act in bad faith.

If you would like to know more about these tips, you can read our article: “Dealing with “difficult” and disobedient children”: 7 practical tips”