No one who has ever raised children would argue that parenting is an easy job. Most of us are doing the best we can with the information we have, but unfortunately, that means a lot of people repeat the methods of their parents and grandparents without stopping to ask whether or not they’re actually healthy.
Psychology and our understanding of emotional development has come a long way in the past couple of generations, which means child rearing should also be adapting – but these 19 behaviors are still considered normal, even though many parents believe they’re actually toxic.
19. Telling girls to give boys a pass.
“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!”
18. Having expectations that are unrealistic.
“My parents are so supportive and encouraging, and I love that about them. But sometimes when parents expect a lot from you and hold you to a high standard, it’s exhausting and could lead to anxiety problems.
For example: when they expect you to achieve A’s in your studies, get into a good school, or even working on your master’s degree.
It’s exhausting to try to meet their expectations and satisfy them in that way.”
17. Not respecting their boundaries.
“I’ve always been uncomfortable around small kids, but my mom loves them and once let a baby stay at our house while the mom tried to get back on her feet.
What followed was the mom flaking out on the baby, and with my mom at work and dad working around the house, I was left to babysit when I knew nothing about how to take care of small kids.
Mom got busted by CPS (Child Protective Services), and I now have to consistently enforce that boundary with my parents because they are constantly trying to get me to like small kids. I will never trust them in that regard again.”
16. Commenting on their weight. At all.
“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.”
15. Keep their trust.
“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. Make sure they know their body is theirs.
“Not telling your kids that it’s okay and important to say no to touch that makes them uncomfortable.”
13. Taking adult stress out on kids.
“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.” —madelynf487f41e0c
12. Constantly posting about them on social media.
“I’m not saying no one should ever post a cute photo of their toddler to Facebook. But some things I’ve seen that I cringe at include posting embarrassing stories about the kid, posting ‘prank’ videos that genuinely upset them, making them perform for the camera when they clearly aren’t into it, posting bathtub or other naked photos, asking for advice on things like, ‘How do I get my 9-year-old to stop wetting the bed?’, or constantly gushing about one child while rarely mentioning the other.”
11. Keeping important secrets from them.
“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.”
10. Offering criticism without the constructive part.
“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.”
9. Making them afraid of everything.
“My mother is afraid of everything, and as I’ve gotten older, I realized that her fears have made me fearful as well.
I’m 28, and I actively try to overcome fears she gave me as a child (flying, going into the ocean, riding amusement park rides, driving on the interstate, moving away, etc.). My brother is 20, and I try to encourage him to do things my mom is afraid of because he displays those fears, too, to the point where he just started driving and refuses to move out or make friends.
She also passed anxiety and OCD to both of us, and I’m getting help to try to overcome them, but neither she nor my brother will admit they have a problem.”
8. Bribing your kids to do chores around the house.
“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.”
7. Stopping them from being independent.
“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.”
6. Making adulthood feel like a dead end.
“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.”
5. Acting like you’re never wrong.
“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.”
4. Making mean “jokes” about your kids.
“I want to add teasing. My family was and is very well-intentioned and loving, and never ever teased cruelly, but there was a tendency to make light of things by joking about them, and I found it horribly embarrassing.
There was a period of time when I’d make any excuse to get up from the dinner table, just to get away from the constant ribbing. Sometimes it’s kinder to leave sensitive topics alone.”
3. Laughing at them.
“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.”
2. Take care with those boys.
“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.”
1. Insisting competition is healthy.
“Instilling a sense of ‘healthy competition’ or trying to ‘motivate’ your kids by comparing them to other kids.”
“It just causes friction between the children and makes your child believe that no matter what effort they put in, they will never be good enough.”
I have to agree that most of these are things we should rethink.
What about you? Tell us in the comments whether or not you agree, and why!