What To Tell Children When You Cut Off Toxic People From Your Life

Sarmistha Neogy
·6-min read

You know you are stuck in a toxic relationship when there is a lack of trust, disrespect, and only negative energy in it. We are all aware of how a good detox can help to eliminate toxins from our body. In the same way, you need to eliminate toxic people from your lives for your own mental wellbeing.

After all, it is not worth spending time and effort in a bad relationship. And contrary to popular belief, a toxic person isn’t limited to just a partner but can also be parents, in-laws, siblings or relatives.

But what would you do if you are living in a toxic household?

A similar concern was shared by a Reddit mum who said, “My husband and I aren’t in contact with my mom or his aunt as they’ve been pretty cruel to me in the past.”

But, it became awkward when the user sat down with her kids (aged 5 and 7) to explain why they are not in touch with these relatives.

When You Cut Off Toxic People From Your Life

living in a toxic household
living in a toxic household

Screengrab: Reddit

The woman mentioned in her post that both her mom and her husband’s aunt never acknowledged their mistakes nor there was an apology to do things better.

With the help of a marriage counsellor, they have set up boundaries and since then, these two women didn’t bother to improve. “Seems they rather die than say sorry or just be nice,” says the user.

The mum took a child-friendly approach to tell her children about their toxic relationships. She said, “So and so isn’t nice to mommy. They don’t want to talk about it or say sorry so we are on a timeout/break now.”

She further shared that she plans to be frank with them when they are at an age to understand.

Adding that her husband is now mad at her after she tried to explain to her kids why they are not talking to their relatives. “He doesn’t like children thinking they’re entitled to adult issues. Or that they think they can put adults on timeouts,” says the mum.

He got so mad at her and said, “How about I tell them the same about your mom that you did with my aunt?”

The woman shared what upsets her is that in spite of being mistreated she is still expected to continue to protect the reputation of her family. “I want my kids to enjoy their childhoods but I absolutely plan on telling them everything about my dysfunctional parents. Also, why they are not in contact with any of them. I’ve had enough of people treating me poorly and then covering up for them,” she wrote.

While the husband clearly wants to keep the kids out of the adult family issues, his wife feels there is no reason to lie to them.

Other mums took the woman’s stand and felt that the approach she took was the right one. They further shared some personal experiences of how they addressed similar concern with their children

What To Say To Kids When You Cut Off Toxic People

1. Don’t burden your them with too many details

Living in a Toxic Household
Living in a Toxic Household

Screengrab: Reddit

One user suggested, “There is no reason to give further details than this. This isn’t covering up for people or making them look better in the eyes of your children, it is about not burdening your kids with the adult relationships of their family members.”

2.Don’t badmouth the family

Another mum suggested, “You can tell the kids something age-appropriate without lying. In my experience though, it is also important not to badmouth the other person, because they are also related to the kid and the kids may start to think there is something wrong with THEM”.

3. Kids know about mean people

A user shared, “Kids know about mean people. You tell them this person is mean, and we don’t want to be around them.”

Are you living in a toxic household? If yes, we are there with you. It is important to understand why you need to uproot them from your life right away. If a relationship is bringing you down each day, it’s time to let go.

Difference Between Toxic And Negative People

When you are trying to eliminate toxic people from your life, the first task would be to identify the toxicity. While you are at it, remember there is a difference between truly toxic and negative people.

People with a negative outlook can also be those suffering from clinical depression. It’s important to let friends and family members who suffer from clinical depression know that you love them. You will support them and won’t cut them off from your life.

On the other hand, toxic people are those who constantly pull you down. They would manipulate you to their own advantage. In the long run, this can take a toll on your mental health.

Remember, toxic people are not only detrimental to adults but they can also affect the kids deeply.

Living In A Toxic Household: Why Kids Need To Be Protected

living in a toxic household
living in a toxic household

Talk to your child, if you find them getting affected due to a toxic relationship. Image courtesy: iStock


We teach our kids to respect adults, but what we should also be teaching them is to respect themselves first.

It is not easy for kids living in a toxic household. It can cause emotional damage or change the way a child sees himself or herself. This can lead to anxiety, depression, physical illness and feelings of isolation.

We need to understand that toxic people can come in the form of teachers, coaches, relatives, parents, and even friends.

As parents, you will have to understand that kids won’t come and share with you upfront. Particularly, if it’s in response to an adult whose authority you have taught them to respect. If that happens, here are some signs to watch in your kids:

  • They seem withdrawn

  • Have lack of energy

  • Aggressive or more cranky

  • If they get too clingy

  • If they are sad and want to be alone

In case you see these symptoms, it’s important to talk to them. Understand their point of view and what is troubling them. If they are not comfortable interacting with the person, don’t overreact.

It will help them to open up to you gradually. There can be times when a relative might be very nice to you, but he or she may have a toxic influence on your child. Toxic people can scar your kid’s life forever. It is therefore important to help them stay away from it.

We can’t stop toxic people from coming into our kid’s life. But, what we can teach them is confidence and yes, permission to speak against the person.

Source: Reddit, Heysidmund

ALSO READ:

7 Characteristics of Toxic Parents You Should Avoid at All Costs

5 Things You Might Do That Are Toxic to Your Marriage

The post What To Tell Children When You Cut Off Toxic People From Your Life appeared first on theAsianparent - Your Guide to Pregnancy, Baby & Raising Kids.