Internet Users Shared 20+ Things Parents Should Avoid Doing to Their Children at Any Cost

There are things that parents tend to do automatically without thinking much about them, so it comes to them as a surprise when their children ask 15–20 years later, “Do you remember when I was 5...?” And then they bring up something that their moms and dads have long forgotten but that they still remember. In this thread, people from all over the world tell stories from their childhood and share their own experiences so that the new generation of parents won’t repeat these mistakes. They speak mainly about the signs of a toxic upbringing and what it means to be “a bad parent.”

  • “Bad parents” don’t believe in telling their children “no.” The world will and should tell them “no” at times. They need to be prepared for that reality, or they will be an absolute menace to everyone around them. © heyitsvonage / Reddit
  • As a professional nanny, this is one of the most important things I teach the kids I help raise. I specialize in 0-3-year-olds, and learning consent and boundaries begins here from your infant’s very first feed. Please teach your children “no.” Teach them the importance of it by modeling it with them — teach them that they can tell you “no” when it comes to their bodily autonomy.
    Yes, there are times when you might need to pick them up and carry them, kicking and screaming, out of Target, but when they hold their hands up when you tickle them, when they say “no,” please respect that. If we don’t, then we tell them that some adults in positions of authority over us (or adults in general) have the right to our bodies more than we do. In so many ways, “no” can mean “I love you.” © GreenDemonClean / Reddit
  • I saw a therapist, who worked with “troubled” kids, say the difference between great parents and bad parents isn’t that great parents don’t mess up — they just apologize when they do. © i_am_a_veronica / Reddit
  • Don’t force your kids to play sports. It’s often clear the parents are just trying to relive their glorious high school years vicariously through their own children. © domino2064 / Reddit
  • I’m against using your children as props for your social media pages. © Strong-Notice-1902 / Reddit
  • A bad parent uses their kid as therapy and then gets upset when they have issues regulating their emotions. © kenlycake / Reddit
  • My mom found a love note to my dad from his mistress. That day, she picked me up from school (9th grade!), drove a few minutes down the road in angry silence, then suddenly pulled over and thrust this letter in my face. She then proceeded to come into my room, crying, a number of times over the next couple of years to tell me about their problems and their divorce.
    Meanwhile, just after the divorce, my dad used me as his relationship therapist with his mistress-turned-girlfriend. At one point, I snapped and yelled, “I’ve never even been on a date. How would I know about any of this?” © aett / Reddit
  • After the divorce, one of our parents immediately weaponized our relationship against the other. I’m 32 and still unweaving all of the details in my brain. © BugzFromZpace / Reddit
  • “One day, we will all live on the same plot of land so that you can still take care of me.” I’ve got a life to live. Stop holding me back with your health issues that you cause yourself because you’ve been a deadbeat for the past 20 years, mom. © perpetualwalnut / Reddit
  • A 4-year-old stubbing their toe might actually be experiencing the worst pain in their entire life. Just because you snapped a femur and have had countless other injuries that have tempered your pain response and ability to manage yourself, it doesn’t mean stubbing a toe isn’t that bad. Your job isn’t to raise good children, your job is to raise good adults by teaching children to understand and accept the world around them, how to understand and accept their own self, and how to understand and accept others. © jdquinn / Reddit
  • Stop giving your kids weird names because it’s “extra creative, and my child is extra special.” Your child has to live with that name all their life. Don’t call them Bobby or Timmy as their legal name, it’s not cute anymore when they’re older than 5. And don’t call them Khaleesi, because Game of Thrones is only your hobby, not your kid’s. © TwynnCavoodle / Reddit
  • I absolutely hate when adults tell other adults their children’s shameful secrets for no reason, even strangers! It tells me those children probably don’t feel like they can trust their parents. © 50637 / Reddit
  • Hugging your kid while only ever looking at other people’s reactions, and the kid doesn’t quite look that comfortable with it. Hugging the kid in a manner that looks like a theater performance rather than actual affection. Only ever claiming their kid is the “best” and “brightest” and only ever talking about their school/studies and nothing else. © ymaldor / Reddit
  • I had a pretty horrible thing happen to me during my senior year of high school. I called my mom sobbing, and the next day I found out she had told her 2 best friends and multiple teacher friends of hers. I also found out she and my older sister were laughing about it with each other. I never tell her anything anymore. At least not anything important. © Training-Ad171 / Reddit
  • You can’t treat your oldest daughter like a free nanny and a free maid. © Asies36 / Reddit
  • Zero interest in the kid, when parents don’t care what their kid does or what happens in their life as long as they don’t inconvenience their parents. © JustinChristoph / Reddit
  • Remember: the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. If you see kids being neglected, or ignored, or not cared about at all, that’s a good indication that their parents aren’t good. © vpsj / Reddit
  • Constantly deflecting parental responsibilities to other people, groups, or organizations. My step-sister told her 8-year-old daughter: “It’s not my job to help you with your homework. That’s what teachers are for.” © Krushed_Groove / Reddit
  • Giving children the impression that everything will be served to them on a silver platter. Bad grades at school? Now, mom will write a complaint against the teacher! Conflict with a classmate? Let’s get them out of school!
    Usually complete with this is the complex of an ideal parent. My child can’t have mental problems! No, they will not be an artist like they want. They will go to college for International Economics! And they will not communicate with the plebeians who they call friends either! © moranych1661 / Reddit
  • My brother and I had to visit our dad when we were in high school, and he seemed to care more for his image than for us. He took us to shops and restaurants just to take a selfie of us and write about what a wonderful dad he was on social media. After taking a selfie, he would tell us that we had a lot of fun together. And if we didn’t smile or agree with him, he would get irritated. © 77thesecretgarden77 / Reddit
  • I have a cousin who has 5 thousand “friends” on FB and a completely open profile because she is the lead singer of a local band. She is definitely someone who craves attention and, of course, has the perfect life, according to her social media. She had twins a few years back and posts about their antics multiple times a day and has posted thousands of photos of them. I can’t help but wonder how they will feel in a few years about having every aspect of their lives documented for mostly strangers. © emjaybe / Reddit
  • You shouldn’t make your child think they aren’t good enough. © Remarkable_Lie_9125 / Reddit
  • My mom once told me, “You’re a screw-up, and you’ll always be a screw-up!” I still think about that every time life isn’t going my way, or I’m feeling bad. © ForbiddenJello / Reddit
  • Always saying things like, “Why can’t you be like... (insert straight A student / best sportsperson / most active student / introverted person who doesn’t question their parents\)?” There is nothing that can make a person feel more inadequate than being constantly compared to multiple other people who are doing better. © AgeOfWomen / Reddit
  • Being a helicopter parent is no better. Let your kids experience failure, let them make mistakes, let them get hurt (mildly). That is how they learn. Let them make their own choices. © SafetyMan35 / Reddit
  • Don’t scream at your children. I am all for disciplining children and correcting bad behavior, but screaming is beyond unnecessary and can cause trauma, even when they grow up. Take it from someone who had screaming parents, I still suffer from it. Thankfully, I have a much better relationship with them, but I’m still affected by it whenever I hear someone raise their voice. © LazyTension / Reddit
  • When a parent constantly talks down on their spouse. As a child, it’s hard to grow up hearing insults hurled at one of your parents constantly, i.e., “Your father does...” or “Your father never does...” Just get a divorce if you have nothing positive to say about your spouse! Your child doesn’t need to hear that. © Psychological_Box397 / Reddit
  • — Do this and that.
    — Why?
    — Because I said so.
    If you don’t explain to your kids the whys of doing things, then you treat them like little servants, and they grow up either submissive or rebellious, but never good. © Coolgames80 / Reddit

Do you remember any painful situations from your childhood that you still can’t forget?

Preview photo credit fizkes /


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