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11 Hypocritical Types of Behavior That Parents Pass Down to Their Children Without Realizing It

Parents wish their children only the best but sometimes, they unintentionally hurt them with their love and overprotection. They might send mixed signals, ignore their children’s opinions, or break the rules they’ve set themselves. And even if the adults mean well, such actions can make kids feel confused and unsure of how they should act in the world.

We at Bright Side want to shed some light on unobvious situations when adults act like hypocrites and don’t even notice it.

1. “You can’t lie to people, but I can.”

Parents teach their kids to always tell the truth and to accept the consequences of their behavior. But sometimes they break this rule themselves. Telling white lies, sugarcoating the truth, or hiding some information because “sharing that won’t change anything” may look pretty hypocritical in a child’s eyes.

2. “You must sleep alone, but I don’t have to.”

Parents may believe that co-sleeping ruins children’s independence, so they refuse to lie down with them until they fall asleep. But the question is, why do adults get to sleep in the same room yet children have to be separated? Some psychologists suggest that helping your child to fall asleep helps create a stronger emotional bond and improves the child’s mental health.

3. “I can decide when I’m hungry and you can’t.”

While healthy eating is important, we all still have our own preferences and sometimes, we just don’t feel like eating a certain food. Adults have the option to treat themselves whenever they want, whether it be with a cheat-meal or by skipping lunch if they aren’t hungry. But children are deprived of this luxury and always have to obey their parents’ rules, even if the adult doesn’t always follow them themselves.

4. “I can spend hours staring at my phone, but you can’t.”

On average, people spend more than 3 hours a day using the mobile Internet, not to mention working on laptops, tablets, and watching TV. And while it’s completely healthy to limit a kid’s screen time, adults should pay attention to themselves as well. Otherwise, it may look pretty hypocritical when a parent tries to tell a kid they should be able to entertain themselves while they’re checking social media all day.

5. “I can be too warm or too cold, but you can’t.”

Some parents may be overly protective when it comes to dressing their child in accordance with the weather. They don’t take into consideration how the kid really feels and often make presumptions based on their own perceptions. But it doesn’t prevent them from making outfit choices that don’t really correspond to the weather when it’s convenient for them.

6. “You have to share, but I don’t.”

Parents often teach children to share their toys, to compromise, and to put up with some situations that might be unpleasant for them. But adults, on the contrary, can be very possessive, stubborn, and unwilling to sacrifice their comfort. Children are separate individuals with their own needs and opinions, so setting healthy boundaries and taking their opinions into account is important.

7. “You must do what I ask right away, and I don’t have to.”

Parents expect their kids to execute their commands right away, regardless of what the child was doing beforehand. Ignoring your child’s opinion may make them think that their wishes and opinions aren’t important. It’s not about not disciplining your child, but more about giving them space they may need.

8. “I don’t care about your feelings, but you must care about mine.”

It might be difficult for children to recognize and manage their feelings, but it’s the parents’ job to help them navigate through them. But ignoring children’s emotions or punishing them to feel a certain way won’t do the trick. Especially if the adults tend to blow off some steam by acting emotional and “unreasonable” from time to time.

9. “You must always try to be better, but I don’t have to.”

Parents want their kids to succeed in life and motivate them to study and try new things. And when the child gets bored or unmotivated, the parent comes up with reasons why they might actually need this knowledge in their life. But they often contradict themselves, not setting the example for their kids and doing exactly the opposite of what they’ve said.

10. “You shouldn’t be afraid to express yourself, but I’m terrified of public opinion.”

Adults often see their kids as the best versions of themselves, so they push them to do things they’re terrified of doing. While it’s essential to encourage the child to be their true self, the problem is that parents sometimes expect too much from their kids without explaining to them how the world works and showing them what they can expect in a similar situation by example.

11. “You shouldn’t worry about things that bother you, but I will.”

Parents want their children to be happy and worry-free, especially if they can’t really change something or influence a situation. But kids need to speak about their problems as not to bottle up their emotions or feel like their issues aren’t important enough to share.

Do you know other examples of how parents can be hypocritical with their kids?