Recently, we published a list of hurtful and toxic things that parents should think twice before saying to their children. Readers flooded the comments with their own negative experiences, so if you're looking for more advice on what NOT to do as a parents, here are 21 more examples:
1. "Telling me I’m unhealthy and need to work out. I have struggled with self-image for my whole life. I know that in her mind she never meant it in a horrible way, but it sincerely broke me when she told me I wasn’t trying hard enough, so I ended up giving up."
2. “'Because I said so!' 'This is not up for debate.' 'I'm not negotiating.' When I ask my parents why I have to do something, most of the time I'm not being sarcastic, I’m actually curious. 'Because I said so' and the like give the vibe that your kid isn’t important enough to know your reasons for anything. Please just answer their question."
3. "My mom always used to make jokes like 'I only had kids so they would carry the groceries' and stuff like that. Even though I understood it was a joke, I still took it to heart sometimes and felt like I had to do something to earn love."
4. "For me, it's the lashing out unjustly. Both parents did that and, guess what, now they're in their eighties and I rarely see or call them. Parents, if you're frustrated with yourself or a situation, don't blame your kid who had nothing to do with it."
5. “'Just get over it' and 'calm down.' I have anxiety and ADHD that makes doing some things extremely hard, but I was always expected to just get over it and do what had to be done."
6. "'Ugh, you're being so sensitive about this!' Translation: I don't like that you're offended or hurt by what I said, so now I'm going to make the real problem all about you."
7. "Making everything about themselves. Like if me or my sisters fell down or got hurt, my mom would always get upset because she had to help us. If we didn't finish our homework, it was always, 'Your dad is going to be so pissed at me.' And if we were crying, it was always, 'What do I have to deal with now?' It made it really difficult to talk to her because she always acted like everything we did was a burden for HER."
8. "The parents who constantly complain about how much their kids cost to raise and demand reimbursement. Don't have kids if you don't want to spend money looking after them."
9. "My parents were divorced and my dad was never around. When my mom was frustrated with me, she would threaten to send me to him or leave/go on vacation by herself. I knew very little about my dad and was scared I’d be forced to live with him."
10. "The favorite one that my sisters and I like to remind each other of is, 'Don't ever have kids, they'll ruin your life.' Like, okay, thanks."
11. “'I’m sorry you feel that way' was and still is a classic of my mother’s. Never has the sentence, 'I’m sorry I made you feel that way' been said."
12. "I think not saying anything is just as toxic. I recently noticed that laying down any sort of boundary my mom doesn’t like causes her to stonewall me for 24+ hours. When she comes back, it's as if I never even said anything regarding a boundary or insult. Just 24 to 48 hours of silence, then we are both expected to carry on as if nothing was said or done. It’s so damaging and invalidating. I absolutely hate it."
13. "For me, it was that my mum and her partner would never say sorry. Even if they were in the wrong. Parents should apologize to their children when in the wrong. Even if it’s a simple, ‘Sorry I blamed you for the mess when it turned out to be your brother’ or ‘Sorry I said you stole the money I misplaced.'"
14. "My mother used to compare me to my father (who she hates) all the time. I wrote her a long letter once explaining why that is damaging to me. She has never said it again, but sometimes I can hear that it is at the tip of her tongue and she holds it back. A work in progress."
15. "'Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about!' To this day, I hate crying, will avoid it at all costs, and feel uncomfortable if anyone else is crying."
16. "'I guess I'm a bad parent.' My parents started pulling this one with me when I became an adult and brought up anything they, God forbid, didn't handle well when I was a kid. Complete inability to take any sort of criticism."
17. "Do NOT complain to your child about their other parent. This applies to when they're children, adults, after a divorce, and after a death. My dad has been gone for 20+ years and my mom STILL complains constantly about him. I was a teen when he passed suddenly, and it is so incredibly difficult for me to listen to her badmouth him."
18. "My mom used to treat me like a little therapist and tell me every awful thing that had happened and was currently happening to her. I became burnt out and exhausted."
19. "My mom was always on a diet. She still is and constantly talked about her weight growing up. When I was in high school, she begged me to go on a diet with her. And she wonders why I have body dysmorphia now..."
20. "'When I was your age, I'd already done X, Y, Z,' in that tone that says my own accomplishments in life do not measure up."
21. And finally, “'I put you into this world, I can take you right out.' And honorable mention: 'I’ll hit you so hard you won’t remember it.' Both things were said in my house. My parents rarely (if ever) laid a finger on us, but they weren’t shy with the threats."
Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.