8 Toxic Things Parents Say To their Children


Children should always expect love and care from their parents. Well, what if the parents are toxic? How would you feel if I told you that in 2008, the administration of children and families in the US Department of Health and Human Services reported that more than 50,000 children were officially counted as victims of emotional abuse?

Whether hurtful words are intended to cause pain or not, they can leave marks and memories from a short time to a lifetime. Hurtful remarks can come from loved ones such as parents, and the psychological and emotional damage can be detrimental to a lot of people, especially their children. The way parents raise their children and behave around them, that’s the basic ground that builds their personality and self-esteem. So how do you know if a parent or caretaker is toxic?

Here are eight things toxic parents say that can affect the child’s life.

Offensive words towards their appearance: You’re ugly, too fat, too short, or too skinny, or you have ugly hair. Degrading a child based on their appearance will likely only increase their physical insecurity and worry about their body image. This could lead to serious emotional issues such as eating disorders. Parents are supposed to teach their children how to love themselves, no matter how they look on the outside.

Provocative questions towards actions: Like, why do you act so weird? Why do you walk that way to that way, move or talk that way? Children tend to believe anything their parents say. So sarcastic questions or remarks like these may make the child feel like there’s something wrong with them. This makes it very hard for the child to be themselves around people even during their adulthood. And they may then be trapped by the discomfort and fear that others may laugh at them or notice the flaws that their toxic parents made up for them.

Selfish wishes: I wish you were never born. I wish I had an abortion. I regret having you. I wish you were a different child. Parents should never say something like this to a child. It will make them feel like they weren’t supposed to exist in this world in the first place, and that they don’t deserve to be alive. These remarks are so harmful not only to kids but to humans in general. They diminish their whole sense of identity, which can lead to self-harm and early depression. Instead, parents should make children feel loved and valued.

Making the child feel like a burden: You cost me too much money. It’s so hard to take care of you, or having you exhaust me. If a parent says this to their child, the child will feel like a burden. It’ll cause them to unconsciously hide their needs feelings and problems just to avoid the wrath of the parent. Considering that numerous and nonprofit children’s health care systems reported that lack of love and affection or materialistic things are some of the causes for some children to lean on stealing and being abusive.

Unhealthy comparisons: Why don’t you like your sibling, cousin, or the other kids, the other kids are better than you. This is likely to reduce a child’s self-esteem substantially, it makes them think that they’ll never be good enough no matter how hard they try. Also, comparing siblings with one another only promotes an unhealthy relationship between them. This will cause them to feel jealousy and resentment towards each other. Siblings should be equally given the right to build their own independent identities.

Verbally abusive words, or statements: You’re stupid, useless. You’re a loser, or you’ll never make absolute remarks like this will only damage the child’s self-esteem. It’s important that parents encourage their children into believing in themselves.

Threatening abandonment: I’ll leave you, I’ll put you aside, you’ll wake up and never find me. I’ll just disappear. This will cause the child to have abandonment issues. Fearing that people they love will leave them because of who they are. When a child grows up, this belief will be unconsciously ingrained in their mind. They’ll be unable to trust future relationships for fear of them leaving.

Empty promises: If you do this, I’ll buy you that or I’ll take you there next time. But then they don’t do it. When a parent makes promises that they don’t keep, it breaks the child’s trust. It makes the child feel betrayed. Making fake promises is an excellent way to teach a child how not to trust others in life to come.

Even though words aren’t physically harmful, they can be extremely harmful to the psyche and emotional well-being. Childhood is an essential chapter in every human’s life. Our childhood builds our personalities, behaviors, and beliefs.

Ntale Livingstone

Co-Founder/Reporter, The Postdale Daily

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