13 People Call Out Toxic Parenting Tactics That Are Too Often Considered “Normal”

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs out there, no doubt about it. There’s so much contradicting advice that it can be hard to keep it all straight. Every kid is different, and every parent is different, so naturally, there’s no set rules for every family in the world.

However, there are a few tactics that can straight up be toxic for kids. And shockingly, many moms and dads still use them to this day. Some are even considered “normal.”

On a recent Reddit thread, someone asked, “What is a normal parenting tactic that shouldn’t be considered normal?” And boy, did parents of Reddit deliver. Here are some parenting methods that really should be banned.

  1. Never Apologizing

    “Parents are just as human as their children and they make just as many mistakes. Apologize to your children when you mess up. It teaches proper communication, shows them that you aren’t above them, and builds a much stronger relationship.”

  2. Telling Them 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.”

  3. Pushing for Affection

    “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.”

  4. Sibling Comparisons

    “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.”

  5. Refusing to Admit When They’re Wrong

    “Victimizing themself instead of acknowledging that they messed up. Side effect of this behavior is it made it extremely difficult to apologize.”

  6. 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.”

  7. Saying “I Didn’t Raise You Like That”

    “My mom has this deep rooted belief that anything and everything her grown adult children do is STILL a reflection of her parenting. You can tell she really cares about what other parents think of her own parenting. Cares a little too much. This mentality is bad for both the parent and the kids.”

  8. 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.”

  9. Getting Mad if The Kid Wins an Argument

    “My dad would get mad at me for being ‘rude’ and ‘disrespectful’ when I would explain how I felt about something when he didn’t agree. All it taught me was not to express my feelings to him. He was shocked when I went no contact at 27 because ‘things were going so great!’”

  10. Lying/Making Up Answers to Questions

    “Personally, I believe if a child asks a question, he/she should be given a factual answer. Old enough to wonder about something is old enough to know the truth in my book. If you don’t feel comfortable answering the question or don’t think you should then say that instead of giving some make believe answer like babies come from storks. I watched a lot of Discovery Channel and national geographic as a kid and at one point saw how birds reproduced, but still believed for many years that chickens reproduced by the rooster coming along and sitting on the egg after the hen lays it just because some soccer mom in car pool said that one day when another kid asked.”

  11. Ignoring Emotions

    “Saying anything along the lines of, ‘just be happy’ like thanks, my depression is cured. Especially since depression runs in my family on both sides.”

  12. Calling Their Child Spoiled

    “I think it’s absurd how often parents will speak of their own child as ‘spoiled’ for having all kinds of nice possessions like video game systems, cell phones, cars, as if that wasn’t entirely the parent’s choice. If you don’t think your kid should have those things for free, then don’t buy them for the kid. Don’t shower gifts on your child and then act like the child is a bad person for owning them.”

  13. “Emotional Blackmail”

    “For example, ‘I kept you in my womb for 9 months, and this is my reward?’ – when you spill a glass of water and are unable to clean it up at age 9.”

What do you think is one of the worst parenting tactics that still exists today?