It's Time To Stop Using the Word "Toxic"

Modern Parenting Tips
By
Cyber Dive
Apr 22, 2021
4 min read

“Toxic” has become a buzzword.

Just scroll through your social media feed for a few minutes and take note of how many times it’s used.

Now, let’s be clear. It takes a lot of courage to recognize and walk away from truly toxic situations. We love seeing people open up about their experiences while giving and receiving support from their online community.

But, let’s talk about this audio we ran across on some Instagram reels recently:

“If it’s complicated, I ain’t doing it. If it’s going to cause me stress, I ain’t doing it. If it’s going to get on my nerves, I’m not doing it. It’s just a no for me now.”  

Let’s unpack this.

It isn’t as harmless as it might appear.

Consider…

What is this saying to our kids?

  • Coping with difficult situations is optional. It’s okay to give up on friends or situations when they’re stressful. There’s no need to develop resilience as life takes them through normal ups and downs.

What is the impact as “toxic” loses its true meaning?

  • It’s harder for your kid to know what a TRULY toxic friendship is. The word becomes a way to describe the normal ups and downs of a relationship. Building lifelong friendships becomes harder as kids are encouraged to abandon any person that causes them frustration instead of learning to work through conflict.

A little concerning, right?

It’s time to reclaim the word.

Stressful or complicated situations aren’t always toxic. A friend that gets on our nerves isn’t necessarily toxic. Let’s give our kid’s the tools to decide:

Is this a toxic friendship? Or is this part of the normal up and downs of a friendship?

Is this a toxic friendship?

Now we get it. We’re all imperfect and there are moments when we will be “bad” friends. That’s ok! Let’s not burden ourselves or our kids with the pressure to be perfect. Instead, let’s learn to ask if this is a one-off situation or a pattern with a friend.

Are they:

  • regularly unsupportive?
  • always picking fights?
  • physically draining to be around?
  • constantly gossiping about other people?
  • always making the relationship about them?
  • stirring up drama wherever they go?
  • difficult to trust or rely on?  

If the answer is “yes, it’s a pattern”, time to get out! Toxic friendships can damage your kid’s mental health, impact their self-esteem, and expose them to bullying. It doesn’t matter if ending that relationship stirs up drama, it’s time to leave it behind.

Empower your kid to set boundaries about how they should be treated in a friendship.

Encourage them as they learn to stand up for themselves.

Educate them so they spend their time nurturing healthy friendships and avoiding bad ones as they get older.

Is this part of the normal up and downs of a friendship?

We won’t sugar coat it: relationships are hard. There will always be moments of frustration, tension, or disagreement. Even being challenged to become a better person feels like conflict at first.

How do you prepare your kid to tell the difference between a healthy friendship going through growing pains and a toxic one that should be abandoned?

Healthy friendships regularly feel:

  • safe
  • secure
  • empowering
  • uplifting

A true friend’s presence reminds your kid of all that they are, not all they’re not.

We’ll say it again, this doesn’t mean conflict won’t pop up at times. The difference is how it’s handled. Toxic friends will refuse to apologize and work through the issue. Real friends will put in the uncomfortable work to resolve the conflict, building a relationship stronger than ever.

So, is the friendship really toxic?

Now you have the tools to equip your kid. As we reclaim the word, you help them avoid a harmful friendship and recognize a healthy one that’s just going through a rough patch (the younger you start, the better)!

Elizabeth Smart, Elizabeth Smart Foundation
"It's encouraging to know that, as parents, you do not have to be left in the dark, you can be involved. That's quite a powerful tool."
Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart Foundation
Georgann Yaya, AZCentral
"Helping parents prepare for the gamut of situations to which social media opens the door has made [Cyber Dive] venture more valuable than the bottom line."
Georgann Yara
azcentral
Billy Harfosh, iHeartRadio
"If we're concerned about stranger danger... what about a stranger getting into your child's direct messages? It can be just as dangerous, if not more so."
Billy Harfosh
iHeartRadio
Desiree Briggs, Mama Army
"[Aqua One] was just launched and is going to change the way that our children grow up in a technology-driven world."
Desiree Briggs
Co-Founder of The Mama Army
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb
"As a Lawman and a parent I love seeing solutions for protecting children from the child predators. This Aqua One phone helps parents and even addresses the mental health of the child. Well done Cyber Dive."
Sheriff Mark Lamb
Sheriff of Pinal County Arizona
Dawn Van Camp, Mama Army
"In a society that relies so much on virtual connection, it is necessary that we teach our children how to navigate and use technology responsibly."
Dawn Van Camp
Co-Founder of The Mama Army
Phoenix Dream Center CEO Brian Steele
“One of the neatest parts about the tool is that it gives insight into not only the safety of what my child is doing out there but what my child is thinking.”
Brian Steele
CEO of Phoenix Dream Center
Larissa Marulli, Moms.com
“Being informed of your child's social media habits isn't just beneficial from a safety standpoint. You'll get an inside look at what your kid is into and enjoying.”
Larissa Marulli
moms.com
Elizabeth Smart, Elizabeth Smart Foundation
"It's encouraging to know that, as parents, you do not have to be left in the dark, you can be involved. That's quite a powerful tool."
Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart Foundation
Georgann Yaya, AZCentral
"Helping parents prepare for the gamut of situations to which social media opens the door has made [Cyber Dive] venture more valuable than the bottom line."
Georgann Yara
azcentral
Billy Harfosh, iHeartRadio
"If we're concerned about stranger danger... what about a stranger getting into your child's direct messages? It can be just as dangerous, if not more so."
Billy Harfosh
iHeartRadio
Dawn Van Camp, Mama Army
"In a society that relies so much on virtual connection, it is necessary that we teach our children how to navigate and use technology responsibly."
Dawn Van Camp
Co-Founder of The Mama Army
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb
"As a Lawman and a parent I love seeing solutions for protecting children from the child predators. This Aqua One phone helps parents and even addresses the mental health of the child. Well done Cyber Dive."
Sheriff Mark Lamb
Sheriff of Pinal County Arizona
Desiree Briggs, Mama Army
"[Aqua One] was just launched and is going to change the way that our children grow up in a technology-driven world."
Desire Briggs
Co-Founder of The Mama Army
Phoenix Dream Center CEO Brian Steele
“One of the neatest parts about the tool is that it gives insight into not only the safety of what my child is doing out there but what my child is thinking.”
Brian Steele
CEO of Phoenix Dream Center
Larissa Marulli, Moms.com
“Being informed of your child's social media habits isn't just beneficial from a safety standpoint. You'll get an inside look at what your kid is into and enjoying.”
Larissa Marulli
moms.com

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