People Are Calling Out "Normal" Parenting Tactics That Are Actually Toxic, And It's So Important
"Stop telling your kids your personal problems. Your kids are not your therapist."
Recently, redditor u/TheYeet56 asked the internet a very important question: "What is a normal parenting tactic that shouldn't be considered normal?"
Fellow Reddit users opened up about their own experiences growing up and shared common parental tactics that can actually be toxic, and it's incredibly eye-opening. Here are some of the top-voted responses:
1. "Refusing to apologize when you’re wrong."
"Apologize to your children when you're wrong. Admit you don't know something when asked. Change your mind when your child gives you a valid reason. I grew up in an authoritarian household. ... It only teaches kids they have no voice."
2. "Comparing them to their siblings. The good old, 'Why can't you be more like your brother/sister?' 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."
3. "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."
5. "Getting mad for 'disrespect' or 'talking back' when their kids win an argument."
6. "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."
7. "Gaslighting their children into believing things that are simply not true in order to defend themselves."
8. "'You can tell me, and I won't be mad' followed by punishing them for whatever they admit. Then they wonder why their kids never talk to them."
9. "Taking away their privacy. Unless your kid has a serious drug or self-harm problem, violating their privacy will almost certainly do more harm than good to their mental health, trust, and their relationship to you. It doesn't matter if it's installing spyware on their phones, tracking their movements, or taking away their bedroom door."
10. "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, and I don't understand how so many people are fooled into thinking they're genuine."
12. "Being overly protective. If you don't let your kids fail or protect them too much, they'll be less capable of doing so once they've left home. Failure is good; just provide a safety net."
13. "Overly accommodating and praising children."
"My sister always excelled in academics and was also an accomplished pianist in high school. My parents didn’t make her do any of the chores I had to in order to 'preserve her hands for piano.' Her excellence at school, in clubs, and with piano also kind of led to her being constantly praised by people around her. Now, in her mid-twenties, she lacks basic life skills (cooking, cleaning, and even self-cleaning) and is unable to take any criticism, no matter how small."
14. "Making your female children change clothes when male family members come over."
15. "Having kids before you've gone to therapy to address your own childhood trauma, as this just causes undue trauma on the kids."
16. "Saying anything along the lines of 'just be happy.' Like thanks, my depression is cured — especially since depression runs in my family on both sides."
17. "Not explaining their decisions. Like, 'You have to do this because I'm your mom/dad, and I say so. End of discussion!' Instead, you can bring your kids on board with sooo many of the decisions you make for them if you take the time to explain your reasoning to them. Kids understand more than a lot of parents think — just give them a chance."
Do you agree with this list? What are other "normal" parenting tactics that should not be considered normal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.