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People Are Sharing Normal Things Parents Do That Are Actually Toxic

Many parents tend to do things that they feel are totally valid and justifiable, but to others, it seems a bit strange and weird. In some situations, parents pass down behaviors that they have been taught by their own parents. While they do not realize, some of their behaviors can be toxic to themselves and their own children.

Recently, people on Reddit began sharing the normal parenting tactics that shouldn't be considered normal to them.

Comparing kids to their siblings, no matter what the reason.

Unsplash | Austin Pacheco

"Comparing them to their siblings, the good old, "why can't you be more like (brother/sister)?" That does nothing for their self-esteem and really can keep them from becoming their own person. That's all they should be anyway, themselves, not their siblings," llcucf80 said.

In fact, comparing your kids to any other kids.

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Whether it's the neighbor's children, your coworkers, or just two well-behaved children at a playground, comparison never makes anyone feel good.

All it does, is bring shame.

Refusing to admit when they make mistakes.

Unsplash | A n v e s h

"Refusing to admit when they're wrong/apologize

Having kids before they've fully grown up/having kids before they've gone to therapy to address their own childhood trauma, as this just causes undue trauma on their kids," sargeantsunflower said.

Divulging in too much information with kids.

Unsplash | Claudia Wolff

"Telling your kids your personal problems. Like ‘your dad is horrible, he didn’t even do the dishes, I hate my marriage.’ Your kids are not your therapist. Also they can’t do anything to solve your problem. Instead address your issues with your spouse and a therapist," Desiger_jpg commented.

Teasing kids over their friends.

Unsplash | Limor Zellermayer

"Saying that a kid has a boyfriend/girlfriend any time they are close friends with a child who isn't the same gender. On top of reinforcing the idea that boys and girls can't ever be strictly platonic friends, it's so creepy to project adult ideas of romantic relationships onto kids who are practically still toddlers," Renmauzuo said.

Faking it for clout.

Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

"Less of a parenting tactic and more of a tactic parents use: contriving a video (featuring their kid) to post to social media. It's super common, I don't understand how so many people are fooled into thinking they're genuine," TopScruffy shared.

Taking away something from children that they worked for.

If a child worked hard for their car or their laptop, why do parents feel they can use it as a tool for punishment by taking it away?

They paid for it by themselves!

Forcing a child to eat everything on their plate.

Some people feel that this is what can cause an eating disorder.

While it is important a child eat, maybe they don't have to wipe the entire plate clean to get their nutrients.

Forcing kids to do things they really don't want to do.

Unsplash | Bethany Beck

"Forcing your children to give family members that make them uncomfortable, hugs and kisses. Additionally inviting family who actively distress your kid to your house to stay for an extended period and forcing the kid to be nice and interact," said Killjoy905.

Threatening to leave them behind.

Some people feel that this is bad on two levels: you're telling your children that your love is conditional on them doing something, or if you don't follow through that they can't trust your word.

Making sexuality something to be ashamed of.

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"Modeling embarrassment or shame around discussion of sexual organs or themes. No euphemisms, a person has a right to know the legitimate words for the parts of their bodies and their functions. Using silly names or skirting around the topic can influence children to not take their sexuality seriously, avoid agency over their sexuality, or feel they should hide it," shared ladyledylidy.

The "because I said so" tactic.

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"Not explaining yourself just because “I’m the adult, do as I say”. When you tell your kids to do something but refuse to explain why, they aren’t learning anything. They aren’t learning why things are done that way, they’re just learning to follow commands. It sets them up for failure and is nothing but lazy parenting," commented EconomySpot3018.

Ending conversations early.

Shutting down your children when they're trying to have a deep conversation, or ending it early because you get annoyed isn't the way to go, according to some.

It leaves them feeling quite horrible.

Using that parental guilt.

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"The old 'as long as I’m feeding you, clothing you, you’ll do what i say!' Or the 'just be grateful i put a roof over your head.'

Specially If your parents constantly use that sentence to boss you around, disregard your opinions and wants, and belittle you. You didn’t ask to be born. And it’s their obligation to take care of you, not something they should loom over your head as leverage," added izzypy71c.

Blaming the kids for your failed marriage.

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Marriage even under the best of circumstances can be trying and oftentimes difficult. When you add kids into the fray, it can become nearly impossible.

Still, your child didn't ask to be born. It isn't their fault that you couldn't make it work.

Attempting to bully their children's emotional problems away.

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Redditor mysterybiscuit said that "My mother recently said to a friend (complicated situation, temporarily living with us) that if I became depressed again, she'd force the depression out of me, like it is some kind of mild emotional gap."

Equating "toughness" with a lack of emotional depth.

As a young boy growing up, whenever I would face emotional hardship, I was told to "be tough" and that "boys don't cry."

We need to teach our young men to embrace their emotions, not to run from them.

Using embarrassment or public shaming as a form of punishment.

Many parents, particularly fathers, seem to think that it is their duty to embarrass and humiliate their children at every turn.

While this may seem all in good fun, it can have serious and long-lasting emotional effects.

Using bait-and-switch tactics to get information.

Growing up, I remember my parents would use to say "you can tell me and i[sic] won't be mad" followed by punishing them for whatever they admit. then[sic] they wonder why their kids never talk to them."

When parents secretly track their children's whereabouts.

Nowadays, there are tons of apps and tools at parents' disposal that will allow them to keep a close eye on their kids.

But if you treat your children like criminals, how else do you expect them to act and behave?

Equating talking back and disrespect with a child winning an argument.


Believe it or not parents, sometimes it's you who are in the wrong.

But instead of owning up and admitting their mistakes, many will instead try to belittle their own kids and accuse them of talking back.

Only taking advice from other parents.

Reddit user Salamantis198 wrote,

"Listening solely to other parents for advice. My mom listened to my grandmother instead of taking me to a psychiatrist. It wasn’t “a phase” it was autism and OCD."

When parents say that their children are spoiled.

Here's a crazy idea, if you don't want to "spoil" your children — then stop buying them lavish gifts!

I've never understood how or why parents blame their kids for something they've done.

When parents force their children to be affectionate with other family members.

Unsplash | Ekaterina Shakharova

Just because little Johnny doesn't want to give grandma a big kiss on the lips, it doesn't make him a bad kid.

Parents would do well to listen and try to better understand that their little ones may not be as comfortable with showing physical affection.

One divorced parent bad-mouthing the other.

Take it from me, as a child of divorce.

One of the worst things you can do is to talk negatively about your former spouse in front of their kids. It's incredibly damaging to everyone involved.

Making your daughter change clothes.

Redditor No-Scarcity-6157 says that "Making your female children change clothes when male family members come over," is not only toxic but it shames them into thinking that there's something wrong with their body.

Forcing a child to perform in front of family members.

From the very first moment that I picked up a guitar, my mother tried to parade me around in front of my aunts and uncles during every family gathering.

Give your child time to develop their confidence, otherwise, they might end up resenting you for it.

Coloring the truth.

Unsplash | Jametlene Reskp

Redditor PowerfulCheesecake48 says parents shouldn't lie.

"Lying/making up answers to questions that the adult doesn't think the child should know yet. Personally, I believe if a child asks a question he/she should be given a factual answer."

Making yourself a martyr.

Unsplash | Steven Kamps

When parents constantly remind their children of all that they've sacrificed or all that they had to give up in order to be a parent, it can make your child feel as if they owe a debt to their parents.

Turning a blind eye to sibling bullying.

As the oldest brother, I happen to agree with Floomby: "Letting one sibling bully another and turning a blind eye, with the philosophy that they should work everything out for themselves," is just a recipe for disaster.

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