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People Are Discussing 'Harmless' Things Parents Do That Actually Have Lasting Consequences

When you're a parent, you're undoubtedly going to make mistakes.

You might punish the wrong child, be a helicopter parent, or swear. But what about devoting your life to your children or making false promises?

While these seem "harmless" at the time, they're actually doing more damage than good.

Here are 19 "harmless" things parents do that actually have lasting consequences.

Teasing children about the opposite sex.

Unsplash | Kevin Gent

While it seems harmless to ask your child, "oh, who's your boyfriend/girlfriend?" when they talk to the opposite sex, it does more damage than good.

This Redditor said that it stopped them from talking to girls until high school.

Treating adults like they're still children.


"My girlfriend is 23 and despite being entirely independent of her family, her mom treats her like a child still. This invalidates her self worth, her opinions, her views and stances, etc..." - u/BeingMrSmite

Discouraging children from asking questions.

"Yes it can be annoying to keep hearing 'but why daddy/mummy?' but I've met far too many adults who admit they stopped asking questions because as a kid their parents would shut them up or be like 'there he/she goes asking questions again.' inquisitive minds need that fostered." - u/rccrisp

Not showing up for important events.

Unsplash | Chinh Le Duc

This Redditor's parents never went to most of their chorus concerts. Seeing other classmates’ families cheer for their kids while the Redditor's parents were absent is a memory that still stings.

Telling your child that their feelings aren't valid since they differ from yours.

"Angrily telling your kid they are too sensitive/dramatic/theatrical/hormonal/etc is just going to mess your kid up and encourage them to bottle emotions up to avoid upsetting you." - u/dreamer4659

Not making kids do chores.

Unsplash | Anna Earl

"When I moved out to uni I didn’t really know how to clean, when to clean, what to clean with, how to wash clothes, how to get them dry etc. The only thing I could do is cook and binge drink." - u/deleted

Telling kids that the family members who are mean to them or neglect them actually love them.

Unsplash | 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič

This gives a false narrative of love. It reinforces toxic relationships later in love since people may mistake abuse for love.

Not having a life outside of your kids.

"Your child isn't responsible for your happiness—you are. If your build your entire sense of self-worth around your child 1) there's a good chance your child will grow up to resent the pressure 2) you're setting an example for them to be codependent in their own relationships." - u/cornofears

Not stopping when your child says "stop."

"Whether it's teasing, or tickling, or wresting. Kids who have parents that don't respect their boundaries always seem to end up being the biggest bullies because they've learned they don't have to respect other people's feelings." - u/OfficeChairHero


Unsplash | Jametlene Reskp

When this Redditor was four, their parents got them a kitten. They loved playing with the cute furball.

But when the parents got rid of it a few days later, they said that it died due to the child's roughhousing. "I was terrified to touch an animal for several years thereafter."

Never admitting to wrongs or saying sorry.

"My father never once said I’m sorry to me. He was human, there were plenty of times he should have. My kids have heard from me plenty." - u/peteandroger

Not following through with your promises.

Unsplash | Tadeusz Lakota

"If you told your child you were buying ice cream tomorrow in the hopes that they'd forget and the next day when they ask you tell them no they'll see you as unreliable." - u/A_H_Corvus

Smothering your kids.

Since this Redditor's mom devoted her life to her two children, she was completely lost when they both moved out. She had no social life or source of self-esteem outside of being an attentive mother.

Forcing kids to finish their plate.

Unsplash | Tanaphong Toochinda

"Sometimes there’s too much food. I was overeating for years and it took a lot of work to break the habit and shed the extra weight." - u/bearssuperfan

Being a helicopter parent.


"It ruins a relationship with a kid because even though YOU have a sense of privacy, the kid doesn't and will always paranoid of anyone entering their room without warning, it ruins a kid." - u/LeviathanID

Getting children involved in problems they have no control over.

Unsplash | Kat J

Kids deserve the chance to be a kid. Sadly, this Redditor's parents kept them in the loop regarding the family's pending foreclosure when they were 10.

"I barely slept for months. I was convinced the cops were gonna bust in at midnight and throw us all outside."

Telling your kid they are always a winner.

"We love our kids and want them to feel special, but it's setting them up to be disappointed later in life when they find out not everyone can win. Let them feel the disappointments early on, and teach them it's ok. They'll grow up better able to handle the stresses of life." - u/supersonic-hedgehog

Setting extremely strict rules with extremely harsh punishments.

Unsplash | Tingey Injury Law Firm

"I grew up in a very strict Asian household. My parents were very strict on the "never wake us up" policy. To this day I get very anxious and refuse to wake people up. In fear of being yelled at and locked in a closet. I'm 22 years old." - u/xickennoogit

Treating crying as if it's something only weak people do.

Unsplash | Luis Galvez

This Redditor's dad used to yell at her for crying, which only made her cry more and him yell more. To this day, she can't show any kind of distressing emotion around him.