Unsplash | Juliane Liebermann

Toxic Things Parents Do That The New Generation Is Unlearning

One of the goals of therapy is to undo a lot of emotional distress — emotional distress often put there by a person's parents.

Yes, the people who are supposed to love and care for you can also cause you deep, traumatic pain.

Toxic parents may berate their children, discount their feelings, and more.

Here are 19 more examples of toxic parents that new generations are unlearning.

TW: This article contains depictions or discussions of sensitive topics and may be triggering to some readers.

Not taking mental health seriously.

Unsplash | Eric Ward

This Redditor's mother laughed at them when they said that they most likely have a mental illness or disorder. She's been asking her mom for therapy for years now, but she hasn't taken it seriously.

Divorced parents talking badly about each other to their kids.

"It really screws with the kid's head. If you're ever going through a divorce and have children, please find a way to sort your [expetive] with your former spouse without involving your children more than necessary." - u/Loa_Ex_Machina

Threatening to kick your kids out.

Unsplash | Kristina Tripkovic

"My dad was kicked out at 13. They started to throw that in my face as a threat to kick me out when I was 9. Theyd start counting down the years, and by the time I was 11, saying theyd do it earlier." - u/SleepyBunny22

Expecting perfection.

Unsplash | Green Chameleon

This puts unnecessary pressure on kids. One Redditor remembers bringing home a report card with a 99 percent grade (out of 100) and being so proud.

But their good mood was dashed when their mother said, “There’s still room for improvement.”

Comparing children with each other.


"Constantly comparing you with your older siblings, and extremely different treatment. It makes you feel inferior to them and like no matter how much you try or do, it will never be enough." - u/mo95z

Denying kids their own sense of reality.

Unsplash | Ben Wicks

"The dreaded 'It's all in your head/you are just imagining it.' As it turned out I wasn't imagining it and now I struggle to differentiate what's real and what's not because I was led to believe I thought I was imagining things constantly." - u/Missing_Maestos

Telling a child they should've died instead of someone else.

How terrible. This happened to this Redditor as a kid after a child their family knew died unexpectedly.

As a result, whenever they were bad, their mom would say, "Why does God take a good kid like that and you get away with acting like this?"

Criticizing a child's appearance.

Unsplash | Caleb Woods

"When I was 11 I overheard my mother telling someone that at least my looks meant she didn’t have to worry about me being molested or raped. That [expletive] me up for years." - u/M_Ad

Telling a child you didn't want them.

Unsplash | Kat J

"My mom likes to remind me every so often that my dad never wanted kids, and he told her that if she wanted them she would have to quit working and stay home to raise them. So two-in-one: my dad didn’t actually want me, and I ruined the career my mom loved." - u/PorkchopSquats

Doubting their children.

After this Redditor was accepted to their dream college, their mother dared to say that they were too stupid to actually succeed.

So while they graduated high school with honors, their mom's words caused them to skip out on college.

Making fun of their child for trying to change for the better.

Unsplash | Chinh Le Duc

"I was always anti-social and the complete opposite of athletic. When I began to try and work out to gain some muscle, I got teased by my parents. All that did was discourage me and make me want to quit." - u/ScrapDraft

Telling kids they're being dramatic.

"Ugh this one! 'Quit being emotional,' 'why are you being difficult,' 'you make things so hard on me,' 'someone else has it worse so stop crying." Doing this makes children repress their feelings.

Using your child as a therapist.


Doing so usually means that the conversation and attention to mental health is one-sided.

If a person is so absorbed in talking about their problems, they're less likely to listen to the problems of others.

Telling a child they're fat.

"My mother told me when I was 8, that nobody likes a fat girl. I wasn't even really overweight. That and many other things she said and did made me develop an eating disorder...at the age of 8." - u/WhiteGirlGrooves

Telling a child they ruined your life for your mistakes.

Unsplash | 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič

"My mom said 'Are you happy? You ruined our family.' When I was 14 and found out she was sexting guys online pretending to be me. I asked my bro if that was normal and he yelled at her, and that was her response." - u/hetoopsha

Being incredibly distant.

It's extremely hurtful when parents are distant and don't engage with their children.

They may also give them the silent treatment when they're mad, which is a form of rejection and hard on children.

Resenting the gender of their children.

Unsplash | Juliane Liebermann

"My father, when speaking to my mom, referring to us as 'your kids.' Also saying how he wished we were boys. There was never any doubt he was our dad, I think he just resented the fact that he fathered 3 girls." - u/bocuckoo

Insulting your child.


“'You’re ugly.' It took me years to find out that I actually wasn’t and that my mother was jealous that there’s someone prettier than her in the house? Does nothing for an awkward, insecure 14-year-old girl." -u/ArtisticTrash5940

Yelling at your child.

Unsplash | Ben White

"My dad would call me a liar, even when I was telling the truth, about the smallest of things. I remember very clearly him leaning really close to my face and yelling LIAR when I was around 10 after something truthful I told him." - u/2eatflowers

H/T: Reddit, Reddit