Diseases Are you toxic parents? Calculate it with the ITP formula!

Are you toxic parents? Calculate it with the ITP formula!


What parents want for our children is, fundamentally, that they be happy. Wanting it is not the same as getting it, and sometimes our desires are toxic, without realizing it. We should give them the best tools so that they can seek their happiness themselves.

What do we parents want from our children? The answer is invariable: “May they be happy.” But while it is true that their happiness is what we mainly want, it is not the only thing we want from them. We also have other desires and other intentions (mainly three, as I will show you below), let’s say, more selfish. They are the points where, with some frequency, we do not do our children good, the points where we become toxic.

On the way to making our children happy, we will encounter many difficulties: recognizing what skills or tools our children will need, identifying what a “good life” would be like for them, getting them to value the tools we offer them.

All of these are difficulties intrinsic to the educational process that arise from the very intention of helping them find their happiness. In our task as parents, however, we will encounter other difficulties that have a less noble origin. Interferences caused by other wishes that parents have regarding our children.

I have been able to identify three primary desires that fathers and mothers have for our children and that can be toxic. To a greater or lesser extent, most of us have these expectations that, therefore, do not cease to be toxic. As I usually say: normality does not make virtue.


The problem with this intention is that we are very likely to be proud when what our son or daughter does matches our own ideals.

The most obvious case in which this conflict is put into play is that of the choice of a professional activity, but it is not the only or the most frequent.

Take the case of a child who has a tantrum in a restaurant, many times we can end up reprimanding the child, not so much to educate him but because we cannot bear the image, he is giving of us. It is not making us proud and the reprimand may end up being toxic in the end.


It is clear that, in our task as parents, sometimes we will have to make decisions that our children find annoying. If we are too aware that they love us, we may avoid holding any of these unpopular positions since we understand that they will get angry or even, it does not seem an exaggeration to say, that we will lose a small dose of their love.

Going beyond this question is essential, of course, to be able to say no to them the countless number of times that will have to be done.

Attention: this does not mean that to do our job well as parents our children must hate us. You don’t need to purposely frustrate them “so they know whose boss” or “so they know they can’t have it all.”

That we should not persecute so much that they love us does not imply that we have to persecute that they hate us. If we say No to them, it should not be to frustrate them but because we believe that what they are trying to do is ultimately bad for them.


This is the easiest to identify as toxic because it is selfish. Educating is a very demanding job. And with few breaths. If what we want is not to be disturbed, we will soon begin to act negligently.

And what about the desire for them to help? Is it toxic to tell your children to help around the house? Well, it depends on what our intention is. I can tell my children to take the plates off the table when they are done to teach them responsibility – in which case there is no problem – or I can do it because I am sick of doing it – in which case I am using them.

We must be honest with ourselves when establishing what the true motivation has been. Our goal should be to give them the best we have to help them live better.

When we do it well, we end up, with beautiful irony, feeling proud, being loved and even helped by them. Although none of those things have been our goal.


Comparing the magnitude of these three toxic desires with that of the wish for them to be happy, I formulated a value that I called the Parental Toxicity Index (ITP), which measures how toxic we are as parents.

The ITP and its formula are more of a game than a scientific indicator. There is no field work to endorse it as a reliable measure so please take it as a metaphor and symbol. I have chosen all the values ​​arbitrarily to mark points that I think are important. The whole thing is just a way, trying to be entertaining, of remembering certain crucial ideas.

To calculate your ITP, you must first rate from 1 to 10 how intensely you feel each of the four desires that I have talked about in the text:

  • 1. How much do I want my children to be happy? (From 1 to 10)
  • 2. How much do I want to be proud of my children? (From 1 to 10)
  • 3. How much do I want to be loved? (From 1 to 10)
  • 4. How much do I want them not to get in my way and / or help me? (From 1 to 10)

To the value that you have assigned to each answer, we will call them respectively: N1, N2, N3 and N4. Now you can calculate your ITP by replacing the numbers in the following formula: ITP = (N2 + N3 + N4) / N1

MindFixes Staffhttp://mindfixes.com
MindFixes is dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and advocating, educating, and serving all people with mental and substance use conditions. MindFixes is determined to persevere, learn, grow, love and laugh through our wellness journey and we invite all to join.


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