The eggshell parenting is a frequent term in a range of different parenting styles and this psychologist is diving down into its details.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 28, 2023. It has since been updated.
There has been a sudden rise in different types of parenting styles popularized by content creators on social media platforms. Irrespective of the sort of approach a parent takes to raise their kids, their behavior, mood swings and words can leave a huge impact on a developing child. This is why, most parents are working on becoming nurturing and reliable for their kids. Lately, a licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Kim Sage, has been gaining popularity on TikTok for her videos which elaborate on a parenting style dubbed as 'eggshell parenting.'
A lot of netizens were left wondering about this new term but Dr. Sage broke down the details of it in a series of TikTok videos focused on this topic. Dr. Sage defined this particular style of parenting as "making kids feel like they are walking on eggshells due to the unpredictability of a parent's mood and behavior" which has little to no warnings or cues. She continues about how eggshell parenting can turn a child "hyper-vigilant to what may or may not happen next."
"Even if you’re loving and safe and wonderful, if it follows that you can be unsafe at the core, you are not safe," she says in one of her videos. "Number one: the parent's mood is like being on a roller coaster. You never know what to expect, but there are always going to be significant-high highs and low lows. Emotionally, you never know what to expect, but you have to prepare for the part where it's not safe," Dr.Sage explains. She considers verbal abuse as another obvious example of eggshell parenting.
"In some ways, they verbally make you feel bad about yourself. They might threaten you. They might use punishment to control and intimidate and shame you," the psychologist continues. "So, when you make a mistake as a child, it's not about the fact that you're a developing child. It's the fact that you must be taught what you did wrong and punished. You must feel bad for it." Eggshell parents also tend to guilt-trip and mock their kids as well as dismiss their feelings and gaslight them.
"So you must stay on alert for how those are going to feel in your body and your sort of sense of self. So, you're living in a state of walking on eggshells never knowing what defense you have to provide to protect yourself," Dr.Sage continues. She further explains that there are children who grow up in homes with eggshell parents and they end up developing unhealthy coping mechanisms later in life which reflects their negative childhood experiences. "It's like you're always scanning for threat and change, and it can be very triggering in your body and your emotions for you," Dr. Sage adds.
This leaves us wondering whether or not there is a way to break out of the eggshell parenting cycle. Dr. Sage clarifies that if a person is concerned about being an eggshell parent then they are already halfway breaking through the toxic parenting cycle. Taking responsibility for one's actions and apologizing to their children after a sudden outburst of anger can prove to be a game-changer. If parents start to regulate themselves then their kids might stop overanalyzing situations and grow up to become more social and mentally sound as an adult.