This is a little bit different from what I normally do, but I thought it necessary. This is because all types of families from all demographic and ethnic backgrounds can become toxic. Ignoring that will not make it go away, and creating outward appearances for the children can only last so long. In a perfect world we say when parents can’t see eye to eye they have to put up a “peaceful front” and “be united” for their children; but let’s be real, that is not always possible.
There are several different scenarios that could make an environment toxic for a child. drug use of the other parent, abuse either physical, mental, sexual or financial or poor examples and incarceration that continues to reoccur or anything else disrupting a child’s life or their peace, feeling of security etc. Never should a child or an adult have to live in fear, hostility, despair or hopelessness.
While idealistically a child will have both parents, it is an unfortunate reality that sometimes this is a situation that would cause more harm than good. Parents, especially mothers (sorry dads statistics show it), hold on in a toxic environment much longer than they should. This is not to say that there are not some fathers out there in the same situation, because there are. Anyways, the sacrificial parent often does this in the name of providing for their children or not wanting them to be yet another statistic from a broken home. What they do not want to accept is that in a toxic environment a child cannot thrive and normally ends up becoming just that, a statistic.
All children will eventually to some degree become a product of their immediate environment.
Some very common issues that are found are than children are being made to choose between their parents, parents poison a child against their parent or a sibling from a previous relationship is being very obviously favored.
Domestic violence is also a real issue in society as a whole, and in a case like this you may need help to leave a dangerous situation. There are organizations out there that can help. You are not trapped. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224. Remember emotional abuse is also domestic violence and very real, very damaging to the children as well as the one being abused.
While it is not to be taken lightly to remove a child from a parent or to what degree that should be done, it is a real issue many parents from all family demographic or ethnic groups face. Unfortunately blended families have a lot more pressure, cultural differences and historic disadvantages against them. I am not saying that people in blended relationships are doomed, but I am saying if it gets TOXIC, no matter what your family demographics are, then turning that around is difficult. As a matter of fact, if ANY relationship becomes abusive then it is only going to get worse.
The thing is parenting comes down to our basic instincts to protect our children. Evaluate the situation. Is your child learning or witnessing things that you would not want them to? Does your child often cry themselves to sleep due to the arguing or feeling unloved by a parent? Will your child be put in a position to have to take the side against one parent for the other? Does one parent pay more attention to of favor their child from a previous relationship making your child feel worthless? Does your child witness things that breaks your heart on a regular basis? Most importantly, do you or your child feel unsafe or like you have to walk on eggshells?
If any of these things are true or you know your child needs to be in a better environment then do not make excuses to stay. Make the needed adjustments to your environment right away, and if it is a situation where physical violence is possible call the numbers above before letting your partner in on the fact that these changes could occur. ~Spring
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