What Do You Do When Your Child is Toxic?

When the Toxic Person is Your Kid

There is no secret recipe for raising perfect kids. There are countless influences in the world and not all of them are positive. A parent can not control everything a child hears, sees, and experiences.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, kids can fall into drugs, a bad crowd, disrespect, and a refusal to listen. Parents are not robots, and it’s normal to get frustrated and reach a breaking point. In today’s article, I share some ways parents can keep their peace despite a lack of peace in the home.

I’ve Tried Everything and Nothing Works

First off, if you are reading this, you are clearly a very concerned and devoted parent. These things happen despite doing absolutely everything for our children. We can’t change people unfortunately, but we can create the most supportive environment for that change to take place. Part of that involves letting go and realizing we can’t control others.

Try This Type of Parenting for a Toxic Child

Often, that grasping, forceful energy we place on others pushes them away. Create a loving, inviting space so they know they’ll be welcomed in your arms for help one day (soon hopefully). Realize that you can only do your best, everyone makes their own choices, and remember that as people grow older, they tend to naturally grow up as well.

The Key to Peacefully Parenting a Toxic Kid

First, don’t lose faith, don’t lose your inner peace, stick to your convictions, and try to do so with love towards your child and yourself. This doesn’t mean we have to support it, condone it, or be happy about it. But we can accept it as simply the temporary truth of this moment, and there is peace in that acceptance.

The Truth About Guiding Toxic Children

The universe is unfolding, with or without our consent. We can act in the world to bend it, shape it, and mold that unfolding. But we cannot fight it. We can work with it, but if we work against it we will only create our own suffering and waste all our energy. When we flow with the universe, we act without attachment to a future outcome. We act upon the world but we do so with stillness in our heart. This is how we can impact the world without depression if we fail.

We can work towards our parenting goals, we can work incredibly hard and put in tremendous effort, but we don’t have to attach our present moment happiness to some future event. This is what it means to flow.

You, like the universe and like every flower on Earth, can allow your life to open and unfold effortlessly and with peace. It’s just the repeated practice of accepting this moment, and then letting it go.

What to Do & How to Raise Toxic Children Under 18

When children are under 18, they are not just our legal responsibility, they are also our opportunity. Under 18, we have more ability to shape and mold our children into responsible adults.

We must find that middle path — the balance — between acceptance and strictness, between backing off and discipline, and between authority and trusting them. But love must always be our center. Love is the sturdy foundational base for all relationships to blossom.

Love won’t just provide healing to a troubled child acting out. It will heal you as the parent and sustain you through the most challenging moments.

Remember, no matter how hard it is to see, rebellion and misbehavior are always signs of a troubled child. We use drugs because we are sad or have negative thoughts and emotions. We are impulsive because the present moment is unbearable.

Being a child is tough! I remember when I was a kid. I often felt pressure to be mean or callous or uncaring to be seen as cool by the other cool kids. There are bullies, unfair teachers, and dishonest people. It’s a minefield.

There is a very real pressure on children to develop a hard shell, to conform, and to look and act tough. Some schools can feel like there are the prey and the predators, and you have to choose a predator to survive.

When we help our children feel safe and peaceful at home, they can heal their trauma response which has caused them to become tough or self-destructive.

When we discover the lasting source of happiness within, both parents and children, there is never a need to act out or disrupt that harmony of a home. The more parents can become peaceful and create that safe environment (while simultaneously creating safe boundaries and rules) the more children can become peaceful as well.

Those rebellious teenage years are the perfect time to teach children meditation and presence. They are both old enough to learn, and they are at the age where they will get the most benefits and create a foundation of skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Everyone wants to be happy and peaceful. When we don’t know how, we turn to drugs and other bad influences that can at least mask their anger and sadness. Even rebellious teens can be very receptive to these transformative spiritual tools.

The Best Thing We Can Do for Children Over 18

When children turn 18, even though they are adults in the eye of the law, a parent’s job is never over. But that job does change over time and we need to embrace every phase.

It can seem like at this age we lose our children, but we can also gain a friend. As we shift from a parental (legal) guardian toward an older and wiser guide, sometimes the best our children can hope for from us is the space to learn from their mistakes on their own.

The key in this phase is to find the middle path between personal boundaries (don’t get taken advantage of) and still supporting our children’s growth and evolution (still being there for them through thick and thin).

Every parent wants close connections with their children, AND they want their children to grow up to be respectful and responsible individuals. So we have to find that balance between nonjudgmental guidance and knowing when to get off their backs.

The way we do this is by staying present in every moment with our children. The moment will tell us precisely what is needed. It will tell us when our blood pressure is getting too high. It will tell us when we’re not getting through to them. And it will tell us when the right moment is to just listen and be there for them.

There is no greater practice for parenting than practicing presence. A lot of times, troubled children have developed bad habits and addictions (this can be drugs but it can also be as subtle as phone addiction). So the more we can be present with our children, the more they can become present and relaxed as well. When we are relaxed and content, we don’t act out and we can actually hear what our loved ones are saying.

Path to Peace with Todd Perelmuter Newsletter

How to Become Present with Your Toxic Child

Rebelliousness is by definition, a lack of peace and contentment. It is a rebellion from what is, because what is, is unbearable.

Kids don’t know how to develop inner peace, to practice quieting the mind, or nourish the source of inner joy within. We tell them to “Focus!” but we never teach them how. It’s not their fault. And most parents don’t know either.

Presence is a great opportunity we can give to our children that will help them for the rest of their lives. The younger we learn it, the easier it is to unlearn years of chaotic thinking, instead of decades.

So start creating some space and silence in the house. Set some rules around phone use. See if they’d be interested in meditating together. And share some techniques to become more aware of this perfect and peaceful present moment.

Kids are quick learners and can be more receptive than some parents think. The practice of meditation is the practice of peace, patience and calmness.

Mindfulness activities throughout the day create a habit of staying aware of our thoughts, so that our impulsive thoughts lose their power over us. It’s never too early or too late to learn these incredible life-changing skills.