15 “normal” parenting tactics that are actually TOXIC

What is a “normal” parenting tactic that shouldn’t be considered normal?

No one says parenthood is easy. In fact, it is one of the most challenging things in our lives. Being responsible for the development of another human being is undeniably nerve-racking. However, it doesn’t give you the right to be toxic.

While you may think you are doing what is best for your children, your approach might be much more ill-fitted than you think. From crossing boundaries you shouldn’t be crossing, to refusing to apologize only because you are the adult, what you consider normal parenting might be detrimental for your kids’ mental health.

Recently, Reddit users discussed parenting tactics that shouldn’t be normalized. Some of them might surprise you, while some will definitely make you say: “Exactly!”

Here are 15 “normal” parenting behaviors that are actually toxic:

1. “As long as I’m feeding you, you’ll do what I say!”

“The old ‘as long as I’m feeding you, clothing you, you’ll do what i say!’ Or the ‘just be grateful I put a roof over your head’. Specially If your parents constantly use that sentence to boss you around, disregard your opinions and wants, and belittle you. You didn’t ask to be born. And it’s their obligation to take care of you, not something they should loom over your head as leverage.” 


2. Comparing your children to their siblings.

“Comparing them to their siblings, the good old, ‘Why can’t you be more like (brother/sister)?’ That 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. Being overly protective.

“Being overly protective. If you don’t let your kids fail, and 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.”


4. Refusing to apologize when you are wrong.

“Refusing to apologize when you’re wrong.”


“Apologize when you’re wrong. Not only will you have a better relationship with your kid as they grow older, but they will also learn that they should apologize when they are wrong, which will make them better people.”


5. Taking away your children’s privacy.

“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.”


6. Saying that a child has a boyfriend/girlfriend when they befriend a kid from the opposite gender. 

“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. Forcing your children to eat everything on their plate.

“Making a child eat everything on their plate if they say they aren’t hungry anymore. Do you want your kid to have an eating disorder? No, then don’t because that’s how you can cause one.”


8. Giving up on your children.

“Giving in when your child is being difficult. It teaches them all they have to do to get what they want is throw a fit. You’re encouraging more difficult behavior. The correct way to handle it is sit in whatever storm they whip up. Stay calm and hold the boundary.”


9. Forcing your children to show affection to people that make them uncomfortable. 

“Forcing your children to give family members that make them uncomfortable, hugs and kisses. Additionally inviting family who actively distress your kid to your house to stay for an extended period and forcing the kid to be nice and interact.”


10. “Stop being so dramatic!”

“The classic ‘Stop being dramatic!’ I was told this a lot. It taught me to bottle up my emotions with the other things my parents said like ‘No one cares how you feel’ or ‘Get over yourself!’ Idk if this is me specific but my Mom is HELLA emotionally and mentally abusive and constantly manipulates others in my family to defend her whenever she was being called out.”


11. Over-praising your children.

“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 w piano kind of also led to her being constantly praised by ppl around her. Now, in her mid-20s, she lacks basic life skills (cooking, cleaning, even self-cleaning) and is unable to take any criticism, no matter how small.”


12. Using the other parent as a threat.

“I’m not sure if this is ‘normal’ or just something I see online, but mums pulling the ‘Just wait till dad gets home’ card. Why would you want your kids to be afraid of their dad? And why should the dad have to play bad cop all the time? The last thing I want is my partner coming home from work and yelling at the kids for me.”


13. Burdening your children with personal problems. 

“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.”


14. Threatening to leave if your child refuses to do as you say. 

“Threatening to leave them somewhere if they don’t come with you at once. Either you’re not going to follow through on it, at which point they learn to not trust your word, or you *do* leave them, and prove to them that your love is conditional and capricious.”


15. “… because I’m your mother/father. End of discussion!”

“Not explaining their decisions, instead relying on “You have to do this because I’m your mom/dad and I say so, end of discussion!”

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 the abovementioned parenting tactics are toxic? Is there something your parents did when you were a child that shouldn’t be considered “normal”? Leave a comment to let us know!

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