People Are Calling Out "Normal" Parenting Tactics That Are Actually Toxic, And Honestly, Everyone Should Read This
"You know a parent is toxic if they joke with their kid, saying things like 'I don't want you anymore.'"
Note: This post contains mentions of abuse.
Here are some of the most eye-opening ones:
1. "Being upset if grades aren’t perfect or near perfect."
2. "Commenting on children’s weight."
"My family was notorious for always telling me how chubby I was getting and always made comments about what I was eating and how much."
3. "Not telling your kids that it’s okay and important to say no to touch that makes them uncomfortable."
5. "Using your kid as a constant source of validation and likes on social media."
6. "Criticizing your children without telling them how they could do better."
"I have very low self-esteem from years of being told that I'm selfish and only care about myself, even though I do try to consider others (to the point where I can be a people pleaser, which is unhealthy). I get upset if I make one little mistake because of how forgetful I am. I want to be a nice person — I really do."
7. "Bribing your kid to do work around the house. I know someone who does this — and when they refuse, she just pays other neighborhood kids to do it."
"I feel like an allowance is more than acceptable, but so is learning responsibility. You ask your child to do a chore. They know regardless that is their chore; it gets done by them. If they get a monthly allowance, then cool. But offering to pay your 11-year-old kid $40 to do the dishes or clean up after themselves is ridiculous."
8. "Telling kids things like 'childhood is the best,' 'you've got it so easy,' and 'just wait 'til you're an adult.'"
"That just makes us scared of adulthood, especially for the people with mental heath issues. Sometimes, we think that it's going to be so much worse than it actually is."
9. "Telling mean 'jokes' about your kids. They're not even jokes — it's just being toxic and unloving."
10. "Parenting your son in a way that leads him to be steadily more afraid of you until he actually feels the need to fight for his physical safety. That is not 'becoming a man' — that is abuse."
"Please, please do not do this. I am a foster parent, mostly for older boys, and have noticed a weird dynamic — usually from dads — where they will physically punish the kid from a young age, and as the kid gets older and naturally bigger, they will escalate those physical punishments more and more until they are WAY over the line into abuse. Smacking him once was enough to stop defiant behavior when he was 7, but by the time he's 17, they're punching him or worse because physical punishment doesn't actually work and requires more and more force to have any sort of impact as the kid ages. Then, they expect that one day he'll stand up to them or hit them back, and they'll either treat that with grudging admiration, or sadly, respond with the kind of incident that leads to my older guys ending up in foster care."
11. "Telling girls that they should be patient and understanding because 'boys are immature.' It's so wrong."
"Your little brother broke your favorite toy? You should forgive him; boys are immature! The teenage boys next door are making creepy comments about your growing body? Just ignore them; boys are immature! Your big brothers never do chores at home? Do it for them; boys are immature! No one respects you? That's because boys are immature! Just shut up and don't complain!"
12. "Not backing off and respecting boundaries if your child tells you they're uncomfortable with doing something."
13. "Not keeping your child's business to yourself. My mother STILL does this, with things large and small. So I've just stopped telling her things."
"Or, if I need to tell her, it comes with me also making her look me in the eye and repeat back 'I will not say anything about this to anyone until you say so' as a gag order. I do NOT know what it is that makes her unable to keep her mouth shut, but DAMN I'm glad I didn't grow up with social media. My life would've been hell."
14. "Letting your frustrations and stress out on your kids."
"Even if your kid had nothing to do with it, if you come home enough times in a bad mood where you’re slamming doors and snapping over little things, they will remember that. They will remember how you treated them when you had a bad day. The reason you’re upset probably isn’t about them, but it will feel like it. This will cause anxiety issues in the future."
15. "Keeping secrets about family members from your kids."
"My mom didn’t tell me my bio dad abused her until I was 14. If I had known that as a kid, I probably wouldn’t have kept so many things inside thinking they weren’t a big deal."
16. "Acting like your kid would also 'jump off a cliff' if someone asked when they like something that happens to be a trend."
"Just because you want highlights in your hair."
17. "Instilling your fears into your children because you are afraid that something might happen to them."
18. "Preventing your kids from learning independence and sheltering them. My boyfriend's mom did this, so they never questioned some toxic behavior."
"I’m 19 and he’s 22, and his mom taught him to think that her spying on his bank account is normal, that he needs to drive his much younger siblings everywhere, and that he wasn’t allowed to go out without asking permission. His parents also put him into a financial situation where he could never save up enough money to move out (even with roommates) or get a car of his own. She also took all his taxes to a preparer since he was 19, and he NEVER got his refund until I told him to ask for it this year, which he now knows is super illegal. I’m just happy that my parents raised me with those skills so I could help him out."
19. "Acting like you're ALWAYS right as a parent."
"My sister and my dad argue a lot, and she always has valid points, but since my dad is 'the man of the house,' he's always right 🙄. It’s not okay to ignore your children."
20. "Laughing at your child when they're trying to be serious or tell you something seriously."
"My dad has always done this to me — and still does — I’m 37 for freak’s sake! It still hurts, and it makes your kids not want to tell you anything for fear of being laughed at or embarrassed. It’s the number one thing I asked my husband to not do to our daughter. I always take her at her word and how she wants me to react."
21. "Instilling a sense of 'healthy competition' or trying to 'motivate' your kids by comparing them to other kids."
What do you think of these? What are other common parenting tactics that are toxic? Let us know in the comments below.
Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.